Below are a few 100-word stories I’ve been attempting. They are really hard because that word limit always seems to get in the way just as you’re hitting a stride. So go easy on me.
Interestingly enough, Ernest Hemingway is said to have written what is known as the shortest story ever written. It was six words and went like this: “For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.”
Now I won’t try to emulate that, but here are my attempts at very short stories (I omitted titles, except for one. I was not sure what the rules, if any, are on this)
There was talk of replacing the trains by the new government. The riots. Cape Town was not what it used to be. I stared out of the train as it came to a standstill, metres from the station. I could see it if I leaned my head out of the window. The grass between the tracks, head high. I was warned about that. The spill at the harbour caused something strange to happen. Things came out at night. When the lights went out and curfew approaching, we had to get out, before they got in.
It had been a year since we met. Since then it was the usual make up, break up, meet up, mess up. Tahir and I had been through it all in various states of order and intensity. We had agreed to meet outside the Bellville library, one year to the day.
“So, not gonna kill me, huh?” I joked, going in for a hug. He smiled. I guess I had finally been forgiven for my betrayal.
“And no, no killing”, he smiled. “I wouldn’t bloody my hands on a whore.” That’s when I saw Zahir. Two secrets out.
“Merry Christmas julle!” It was the time of year that every teenager dreaded.
“Good moooorning”, Mummy came shouting in my room. Drunk already. The sherry for the trifle was being put to good use.
She sat down next to me and left a liquor-scented stain on my cheek. I pretended to be asleep a lot in that house. It was a survival mechanism. Possums do it, we learned in class.
Drop and play dead. It reminded me of school when I was teased for being sturvy, a uppity girl. It was going to be a long day.
I left a gift in your poetry book. There, my dear, a tear for you.
He slammed the notebook shut. Rebecca got it for Greg for his 30th birthday. It had a flap in the back which he never noticed before. He got to the end of it and saw something sticking out. A photo.
It was them, in Windhoek, on a sand dune. It had the poem on the back, with a drawing of a heart.
“Bitch!” he screamed and sat down, and sniffed. He thought the little gifts were over. Seems she had one more.
She heard the shot. Bang! Ek is bang. Bang! Was that a bullet? Car backfiring? Her mother always told her that it was a car, even though she knew better. They both did. They couldn’t all be cars! She pulled the curtain aside, just enough to reveal the outside. The shop was down the road. Roadside Café, she could see the sign from the window. Red and white. She hated everything about living here. Ever since they came in and took that part of her. “Ag, I’ll just go later” she said out loud, to herself, for the second week.
“Hello?!” said Toni when she flopped down, the waves crashing ever closer. She had a bag with a bottle of gin, rat poison, enough painkillers to knock her out, and the blades. She was always very thorough.
“Who’s there?!” said the voice, probably a few metres away. She squinted and saw a man.
His eyes also adjusted to the moonlight and there was an awkward stare-off. Was she about to get killed before she could, you know… the irony was making her head spin. But she looked down, he had gin too.
“Care to join me?” he asked.
She sat on the edge of the tub, her wet hair hung in her face making liquorice jail cell bars in her vision. She slipped back in, her sweat blending with the hot water, making her pink all over again. She lay on her front, head up and held onto the taps like handles. She reached back, rubbing her milky white buttocks. There was already a red paw print, too big to be her hand. She rubbed her hand between the snow covered peaks and looked back.
“Ok, maybe I’ll stay. Just for the night” said her husband.
<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>