08 Mar

stairwayPhoto Copyright Jennifer Pendergast

Above me, in the glare of the light, my parents urge me with outstretched hands to join them, but the drama in the lobby below halts my upward progress. The concierge frantically punches numbers into the phone.  Guests circle the blue-lipped man on the marble floor. Smartphones capture the hotelier pounding the prone man’s chest. Suddenly, I lose my grip on the railing and am pulled violently downwards. Gasping for breath, I look up into a sea of curiously concerned faces. I trace a trail of drool from my chin to a complimentary mint lying wetly on my aching chest.

This is my second attempt at a Friday Fictioneers challenge, and after an hour of editing, I finally managed to pare it down to exactly 100 words! Hopefully I didn’t pare out the entire plot in the process…

If you’d like to read other authors’ responses to this photo prompt, click on the blue froggy guy below.


Posted by on March 8, 2013 in Fiction



23 responses to “Pulled

  1. Sandra

    March 8, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Graphically described near-miss! Well done and a great take on the prompt.

    • dreaminofobx

      March 9, 2013 at 11:37 AM

      Thanks…I felt the “stairway to heaven” and the bright light might be a little too cliche, but that’s what immediately came to mind when I saw the picture, so I ran with it!

  2. rochellewisoff

    March 8, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    Dear Michelle,
    Happy you returned with such a strong story. The editing is an exciting part of the process for me. I’d never presume to post my first draft. It appears you’re committed to excellence in your work and it shows. Wonderful description of a near death experience.

    • dreaminofobx

      March 9, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      Ewww, no way I’d post a first draft either…or a second or third, most days! I’ve marked this story as one to come back to in a couple months, after I’ve had some distance, to see if I could have fine-tuned it differently. I didn’t want to come right out and say he had a near-death experience, but I’m not sure I provided all the clues in the best possible way…the challenge continues!

      • rochellewisoff

        March 9, 2013 at 11:39 AM

        The mark of a true writer. You handled it with skill and just the right balance between his out of body and back to his broken body experience.

  3. dmmacilroy

    March 8, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Dear Michelle,

    No words can convey the joy I feel reading the work of a writer dedicated to their craft. Thank you for taking the time to get it right. It shows.

    Great story, well told, from both POV’s.



    • dreaminofobx

      March 9, 2013 at 11:33 AM

      Thank you, Doug, for your feedback and encouragement!

  4. JKBradley

    March 8, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    Nicely done. Keep coming back to share.

    • dreaminofobx

      March 9, 2013 at 11:33 AM

      Thanks for reading. I’ll be back…this is a highly addictive challenge!

  5. silentlyheardonce

    March 8, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    I enjoyed reading your story. I can see the fight to go on and the pain of being pulled back from the grip of death. Fascinating story.

    • dreaminofobx

      March 9, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

  6. elmowrites

    March 8, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    I love the clarity with which you portray this near-death experience. The “out of body” part is very finely tuned. Your editing process definitely paid off.

    • dreaminofobx

      March 9, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      It was one of those things where I felt the more I edited, the more clarity I lost. I’m glad you could still follow the story, and appreciate your feedback!

  7. t

    March 8, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    fan-damn-tastic job!

  8. Scriptor Obscura

    March 8, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    This is great.

  9. sustainabilitea

    March 9, 2013 at 12:26 AM

    You didn’t lose the plot at all.


    • dreaminofobx

      March 9, 2013 at 11:30 AM

      Thanks, I’m glad you could follow it!

  10. Lindaura Glamoura

    March 9, 2013 at 1:32 AM

    Okay, I agree that this is well crafted, but help me here. do I have it right? Is the guy on the floor the same guy climbing up the stairs? Are his dead parents reaching for him? Has he choked on the mint?????
    Please let me know!

    • dreaminofobx

      March 9, 2013 at 11:30 AM

      Yes, you’ve got it, and you’ve nailed my editing dilemma…I was afraid I’d eliminated too much detail for the reader to understand the near-death experience. I’m planning to come back to this in a month or two, when it isn’t so fresh in my mind, to see if it can be tweaked in a different way so there isn’t so much uncertainty about what’s just happened.

  11. billgncs

    March 9, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    ha! Welcome back! A great twist to the story.

  12. lingeringvisions

    March 9, 2013 at 11:59 PM

    You did well.


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