Our series, [intlink id="608" type="post"]Building A Short Story[/intlink], pulls into the last station on the Flash Fiction Line. That’s right, our [intlink id="404" type="post"]55 word fiction[/intlink] piece is about to experience the fourth word count doubling since we established it as the [intlink id="472" type="post"]cornerstone[/intlink] for a short story.
Just in case you haven’t been following the series, we (Carrie and myself) started with The Heart of the Hound as a micro-fiction tale, a 55 worder to be exact, and have been rewriting it every week by doubling the word count in order to end up with a bona fide short story. To make the effort genuine, we have been rewriting to end up with a stand alone story every week.
Outline or no outline? I am sure you all have seen this question a few times in your writing life. Personally, I never use them. I feel rather guilty about not using them because I think I am stifling what could be longer prose that has more depth.
I always write on the fly and this exercise is actually helping me infuse a bit of an outline into my writing habits. We started with the flash piece, which by law must have characters, plot and resolution; basic outline stuff. So, the story will maintain its infrastructure as we rewrite and it won’t lose focus along the way.
I rather like this. I don’t have to sit down and plan out my story while the initial spark turns into something less than a glowing ember.
The Heart of the Hound
I was doing what I had been doing every night for the previous year when that call came in from the dispatcher; trying to choke back love by assaulting it with large doses of bourbon.
No matter how hard I tried to fight it off, love came at me with tear fueled memories that left gaping holes in my heart. Love tread on my soul with its horrific war hammer of depression. My essence screamed her name, but there was no answer.
Not since that fateful night, the year before, when my Shawna was ripped away from me by three .38 rounds while she was on her way to pick me up from the station. Damn that old truck, damn that carjacking asshole.
I swore I would never love again, yet every moment I live is torn by love.
The house was dark and cold. The phone rang and I choked back tears as I fumbled for the receiver, nearly dropping it.
Joanne was the dispatcher on duty that night and she had been with the department for as long as Denny and I had been friends. She loved us as family, often reminding one of an important calendar date for the other. She knew exactly how men were.
Joanne called me to let me know that something terribly wrong had happened at Denny’s and I needed to sober up and get there immediately.
Joanne knew too much about me.
Stumbling to the bathroom to wipe away love’s abuse, I looked into the mirror and noticed that what were once graying temples had spread their influence all through my hair.
No time to lament on youth, Denny was in trouble.
It is funny how an emergency can hold back the power of bourbon. Once in the city issue car and on the streets, I felt sober and my tactical thinking mind was coming into play. First I needed to go inside the scene and talk to Denny. Joanne did say that Denny was alive and, although Nora would be taken to the hospital, she would be fine. Joanne also said there was a death at the scene.
This could only mean one thing. Somehow, Nora’s life had been threatened and Denny took care of it. The love between Nora and Denny was legendary. Almost as legendary as mine and Shawna’s.
The drive took less than five minutes over the quiet streets, and I could see the aura of emergency vehicle lights well before I arrived. Pulling up to the scene, I popped two breath mints and got out.
Time to put on my work mask and suppress my own problems.