Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: “the door swung shut.” (also included in the word count)
For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!
My entry for the First Campaigner Challenge is below. I decided to go all-out, and follow the directions to a tee. I included both the four opening words (“the door swung open”) and the four closing words suggested (“the door swung shut”), and my entry is exactly 200 words. I thought seriously about writing in the first person, simply because I never do when I’m writing fiction, but decided to keep it in third. I also decided not to name the person in whose point of view the story is written, preferring to think of her as “Mother.” I chose this topic because my stories are all romances, and although I write frequently about family, despite being a mother of three, I have not (to date) written about children in my books. Enjoy!
The door swung open and she stepped through. It was eight o’clock – long past her bedtime – but Emma was awake, sitting up in bed. Even in the dim light, her perfect features were evident. A beautiful little rosebud mouth and a tiny nose, a miniature of her father’s – God rest his soul – topped with huge dark eyes. Emma gave her a calm, even look.
“Mama,” Emma said. It was the sweetest word she’d ever heard. The sweetest, and the saddest. She’d never say “Dada.” She’d never know him.
“Shh, baby,” she said, crossing the room to sit at the edge of the bed. With work-roughened hands she gently stroked her daughter’s downy hair. Though she’d surely have lush, thick hair when she grew older, for now, the soft, wispy strands seemed to suit Emma’s angelic face. Pulling her daughter close, she let her nestle her face in her chest. They’d had a long, happy day together, playing in the park and picking pansies in the garden.
“Mama’s bed.” The little girl voice was muffled and soft, but firm. Her heart swelled and she carefully picked up her little daughter. As she left the room, the door swung shut.