Down and Dirty – 100 Word Flash Fiction

Megan glanced out the window pane at a wren struggling against the blustery wind. Over-burdened clouds would soon spill their contents onto the parched landscape. A rumble of thunder rolled across the valley. Its vibration could be felt deep inside her. The smell of rain and mildew wafted into the tiny cabin. He should be back soon.

As Megan wiped up the bathroom, flashes of memories began taunting her. The realization shattered her mind into a million little pieces and she collapsed onto the bloody floor.

While raindrops pattered on the shallow grave, an outstretched hand burst from the muck.

~~~

~~

Do you like cliffhangers or do you prefer clear cut endings?

Photo by Susie Lindau

For more 100 Word Flash Fiction stories check out Madison Wood’s blog here

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93 Comments

Filed under Fiction

93 responses to “Down and Dirty – 100 Word Flash Fiction

  1. lynnkelleyauthor

    I like cliff hangers at the end of chapters, but I like to know what happens and have everything tied up at the end of a book. This is a great cliff hanger. Love your writing, Susie!

  2. So well realized. But. This really – really – needs a part two. :D

    I usually love cliffhangers, I should say. Like anything, of course it depends how they’re done.

  3. Hmmm could this be Megan: ” a wren struggling against the blustery wind”?

  4. There is a brand new award in the blogosphere and I have just nominated you to be among the first to receive it! Congratulations on receiving the Creative Chaos Award! Check it out here: http://onemindmanydetours.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/check-this-out-creative-chaos-award/
    Enjoy and have fun!
    -Cindy

  5. ted

    Here’s my effort susielindau… I even added a cliffhanger just for you…
    http://tedeley.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/friday-fictioneers-1-semi-precious-gememoirs/

  6. Awesome work, Susie! Very cool balance between cool and creepy!

  7. I like that you give us snippets to go on, then kick back to see if we can figure out what’s going on. I have my theories, but I’ll keep ‘em to myself for now. What I will say is if this is representative of your extended work, then I… am… intrigued.

    Regarding cliffhangers, I’m very fond of them and use them frequently. They’re a great way to keep your readers/viewers interested. Of course, a lot of their effectiveness depends on whether whether you can come up with a satisfying resolution. Assuming you want to resolve them.

    PS: While I haven’t entered this week I did last, but I’m sorry to say I never got to your entry. I’m heading there now but in the meantime, here’s mine from last week.
    http://jaykayel.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/breaking-the-surface-100-word-flash-fiction/

    • They just come off the top of my head. This one came from the mood in the chapter of the book I am finishing, but it isn’t about zombies. The nasty day added to he motivation behind the story as well. Thanks Jake!

  8. a wren struggling against the blustery wind.
    I like that very much.

  9. ted

    What the hell happened to Megan?

  10. I’m glad I read this in daylight!! It would have given me nightmares:) And I love a more clear-cut ending.. so if you feel the urge to keep writing… Maybe you should begin a book?

  11. This is great. It leads me in several directions and then kind of tells me something, without telling it? Well, maybe that answers your question at the end of the post. I much prefer cliffhangers.

    • Thanks Cayman! I agree to wanting somethings left to my own interpretation. I don’t ever feel bad about leaving my flash fiction readers hanging when they have only invested one minute to read!
      I hope you’ll stop by again soon!

  12. Oh, I love a good cliffhanger–and flash fiction is an excellent place to play with it! Well done, you. :)

  13. Madison Woods

    That really was down and dirty! LOL, got a good laugh out of the body coming out of the grave, but I’ll bet she wishes she’d done a better job next time….::shudder:: Creepy, really when I think about it, Susie.

    • I don’t know where this came from except that it was a cold dreary day here. I don’t think Megan is prepared for what happens next!! Whoa…
      Hahaha! Thanks Madison!

  14. I had a completely different story in mind when I read the title. Very spooky, and lots more story to tell with that one! Good one!

  15. EmmaMc

    Very creepy indeed! I always try to put a cliffhanger in my short stories but I’m not sure if its more so that I can potentially revisit them at a later date and write an extended version. As a reader I love them, however if you are really attached to a character and invested alot of time in reading a novel it can be a little unsatisfying. Unless it’s set up for a sequel!

    • Exactly! Sometimes the story ends too soon and that can be just as bad. I have read some where the author took a ton of time in the beginning building up to the climax and then and rushed through the best part to the finish like he/she were under a deadline.
      Thanks Emma!

  16. Very good! The atmostphere was set very well, and the action is crisply dealt with. Though perhaps not intended, I was amused by the fact that an unmentioned but definite flash appeared in the story, to add emphasis!

    Conclusive endings, and happy endings, are not easy to do in flash fiction. I believe a cliffhanging conclusion to be cheating, though. As a story rather than a serial, it should have an actual ending of some sort.

  17. V. L. Gregory

    Reading your post was just like someone jumping out at you and yelling–startling! Loved you title–it set the tone.

    BTW–thanks for visiting my site.

  18. You are so good with flash frictions Susie they are just awesome and such delighful reads
    Love cliffhangers they keep you guessing wanting more
    love n hugs :)

  19. Ayeee…. no hand in the muck, no no no… there go my dreams tonight! ;-)

  20. Hello, my Colorado Buffalo, friend! Still praying for you… hehehe

    I like both cliffhangers as well as nice tidy endings. Depends on the book, or movie, or tv show. Loved the way Harry Potter tied some things up, but left others till the next book.

    Interesting question.

  21. These weather descriptions were beautiful. Funny how some people can make 100 words seem much longer (in a good way).

  22. I dig it, Susie! Do you write thrillers by chance? I’m surprised I never asked before… You have a knack for suspense.

    As far as endings, I like cliffhangers when they’re done well—when they leave us thinking without just trying to be tricky or cool. ;)

    • Thanks August!
      I am almost done with a paranormal fiction set in Provence. I am hoping to keep a lot of suspense running throughout the book so the reader can’t put it down. That’s the plan anyway! I may leave a couple of loose ends open-ended, but the main plot will come to a conclusion. I would like to write a sequel if it turns out that people actually read it. We’ll see!
      Hey your brownie cake is almost gone… ; (

  23. Hi Susie,
    That should be a fun homecoming. He’ll definitely need a shower and does he get to do the same to Megan now? Great descriptive passage to begin the story. Maybe Megan will figure out killing in the house is very messy and take it outside.
    Horror movie memories triggered!
    Here’s mine: http://bridgesareforburning.wordpress.com/

  24. Hi,
    Great story. How you manage to get a story across in 100 words is amazing, and talk about a cliffhanger, when is Part 2. :D
    Enjoyed the video as well. :)

  25. In this kind of flash fiction, cliffhangers are perfect as it gives us a sense that there’s more beyond what we think we know.
    In longer stories, I generally believe that cliffhangers should only be left if there’s definitely a follow-up coming. Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy is perfect in that sense, an exception that proves the rule, I guess!

    Sorry, I’m rambling. I loved your story (I particularly like my zombie fiction) and got the sense that maybe she murdered her husband, but her fragile mind kept her from realising it fully – a little like Macbeth in that regard, I think. No matter how much you try to clean up, the blood just won’t wash off.
    The poor fella won’t be too happy when he gets up, I reckon…

  26. Very mysterious! Who was killed? Did she do it or did “he” and leave her the mess (I wouldn’t be surprised…) Now I wonder what happens next (and what happened before!)

    ~Susan (http://www.susanwenzel.com/)

  27. Dear Susie,

    That guy was digging out of the grave so that he could get out of Dodge. No way he’d stick around and get murdered twice. Lovely story this week.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    http://ironwoodwind.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/you-are-free-to-do-what-we-tell-you/

  28. Anonymous

    I love cliffhangers to keep me reading, but clear-cut endings for a satisfactory finish. Great story, Susie. I liked the tension you built with the hand appearing. :)

    Here’s a little piece I wrote for Five Sentence Fiction if you’re interested:
    http://siobhanmuir.blogspot.com/2012/03/five-sentence-fiction-enchanted.html

  29. A good one. He’s certainly down and clearly dirty. And he will be back soon! :(

  30. I want this one to continue. There needs to be more. NO want cliffhanger here. :(

    • Hahaha! I know, it would be fun to see how Megan reacts to her now undead husband….and how was he killed in the first place? So many loose ends and yet….
      Thanks Debra!

  31. Hi Susie,
    I enjoyed this because the ending made me stop and think about the glimpses of subplot to this flash. Well crafted and superbly dark. I will be back.
    Talia.

  32. I enjoy a good cliffhanger if I have enough to make my own conclusions. Otherwise I just feel left hanging. I do like a clear cut ending though too. Have a Great Weekend:)

  33. carrie baby ending .:)
    well done
    HUGGGGGGGGGGGGG

  34. Love a good CL. Loved the story.

  35. Reminds me of that old movie Poltergeist. Creepy!

  36. Oh that’s good a hand from the muck. Yikes! You got me. Have a bloody good weekend, tee hee, just had to say that. :)

  37. Really liked this, just the right kind of setup before a cliffhanger.

    I think cliffhanger’s work best if there’s enough infomration to draw your own conclusions. In very short fic like this i kind of expect that. It’s great to get a slice of story that gives a decent impression of what’s going on, before pulling the rug from under you. That really counts if it’s 100 or 10,000 words.

    And, I can’t resist a good potential zombie – or any other sort of macabre end twist!

    My effort here: http://joannakneilson.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/flash-fiction-friday-bloody-jewels/

  38. TheOthers1

    Oh! So many questions!! I don’t mind a cliffhanger. It keeps me hanging on! Punny. :) lovely what you did here.

    My attempt: http://unduecreativity.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/fools-gold/

  39. Generally speaking I love the way cliffhangers keep you wanting more. However, I think eventually there has to be some kind of resolution, even if it’s just hinted at.

    • I agree although what is a conclusion for one can be something completely different for another. Just ask my book club! Hahaha! But that is the beauty in interpretation.
      Thanks Janet!

  40. cliffhangers please

  41. It depends how attatched I am to the characters I guess :P In the beginning when I’m mildly curious about them, cliff hangers are fun! But when your emotionally attached to the character, cliff hangers can be dreadful!

  42. I love cliffhangers!! :-)

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