The Daily Writing Challenge: And the Headline is…

 We’ve entered my absolute favorite section in the writing challenge this week: short fiction! My heart has always been with short stories. If you haven’t joined us over in Leap of Words, I hope you’ll consider it. The beauty of this challenge is you can jump in whenever you’d like, so if personal essays weren’t for you, maybe short fiction is or you can join us in a couple weeks for the poetry section. Either way, the great part of this group is it has something for everyone. There are members who aren’t taking part in the challenge (and that’s okay!) but instead using the space to share what projects their working on and gain inspiration and advice from others.

At its core, Leap of Words is a community for all writers, in all styles, and at all levels so I hope you’ll join us soon!

You can join by following this link: Leap of Words – Community of Writers

As I said, this week we’ve entered the fiction and today’s prompt was to write a short story based on a headline and nothing else. My favorite part to this prompt is seeing all the different ways people interpret simple headlines or phrases. The headline I found was: “New Homeowners Find Trunk of Secret Notes and Drawings”. It felt like a gift to find such a marvelously vague headline.

Before I dive into the story though, I’m coming to all my readers and supporters with a simple request this week, which is to please sign up for my mailing list.  As social media algorithms keep changing, it is becoming harder and harder for small businesses like mine to reach followers in their feeds. Unfortunately, I don’t have the money to pour into paid ads, which are turning out to be the only way Instagram/Facebook will show people my posts. And I’m sure the last thing anyone wants is to see more ads in their feed anyways. You can sign up right here and receive a 25% off code for my Etsy store today!

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And with that, here is my short story for The Daily Writing Challenge. I based this scene on the headline, as well as an outline for a future science fiction story I’d like to write.

Neither Out Far Or In Deep

by C.S. Rausch

 David was a guy you didn’t bring home to your parents. Not because he was a negative influence or the typical bad boy, but because there are some people you just know don’t fit in. They bring with them a sense of other worldliness, a spark so bright you can’t stop staring. It makes us regular people feel insignificant. I knew, if I did introduce him, mom would be nice, but that’s just who she is. Dad would nod in fake agreement without really listening. They’d look at each other from time to time and wonder how long my relationship with David could feasibly last. My parents would see instantly how different my inner light was from his.

And so, I never brought him home. I didn’t think about any of that.

Blue eyes. That’s all I wanted to think about.

He had a look that could stop my world, and break my heart, in a moment. I knew that from the first day I met David. He was sitting in the park, on the bench right across from mine, writing in what appeared to be a fervid state. Normally I wouldn’t have stared, but even without knowing, I could sense he was different.

I thought if I looked away, I would miss a life alternating moment.

When he glanced up at me, a polite smile on the corner of his mouth, I knew I was caught.

“It’s a little chilly out, don’t you think?”

This mundane question, a comment on the weather, was the first thing David ever said to me. It was something he could’ve, and probably did, say to most strangers. Yet, there was till something drawing me to him. Maybe a hidden light inside myself knew how important this meeting was.

I’m not sure I said anything that entire first day.

That didn’t matter, because David did.

He asked me to sit next to him and I did so without question. I saw that he hadn’t been writing, but instead drawing pictures of black ravens. I held my breath. No one drew pictures anymore. David flipped through is sketchbook quietly and showed me wonders I could only have imagined in my dreams.

There were countless birds, all the kinds that had disappeared from our area years ago. David asked me if I knew their names. I quietly said no. As he flipped back through the pages, he wrote them down for me on the backs.

In that first meeting, I realized David knew things no one else in the world did, and he was sharing them with me without hesitation. I continued to see him for months, sometimes in the park and other times over a cup of coffee. He wrote all he knew down for me as I fell in love. I kept every note and drawing locked away in small box. David never told me I couldn’t share them, but we both knew what this kind of information was worth.

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