Friday Fictioneers ride (or write) again!!  This is your chance to read all the creative stories on the site hosted by Madison Woods, stories based on this picture by one of the Friday Fictioneers, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  Thanks to both Madison and Rochelle.  To read any of the stories for this week, click on the icon at the bottom of the post.  Or join us if you’d like to be a part of this wonderful group of writers.

(Criticism is welcomed, of any but the abusive kind.)

A Tangled Web

The door opens, breeze bellying the gossamer threads of the spider’s web in the darkness.

Crash!
“Grant?  Is that you?”
“Who’d ya think it is?

Unsteadily up the stairs.

Yelling.  A slap.
“No, stop!”
Running.
Cursing.

CRACK.
Cut-off cry.
Thud.

“Oh, my god!  Laura?  Laura?”
Sobbing.  Pounding against the wall.
More cursing.

Tentatively…. “Daddy?”

A door opening.

CRACK.  Rising with fear, “Dadd…”, cut off.  CRACK.

Stumbling, retching.
Sniffling.
A click.

CRACK.

Silence.

Sirens.  Feet run up the porch.  Shouting.
“Police.  Open the door.”

Silence.

Crash!

The door opens, breeze bellying the gossamer threads of the spider’s web in the darkness.


Comments
  1. Wow! you gripped me with your words!

    • Good! I had to use them very carefully to get this much of the story in. But I spent six hours driving yesterday, which gave my conscious and subconscious lots of time to write. I started out to do something very light-hearted and humorous and ended with this!!

  2. This vacillated somewhere between poetry and prose. Interesting the way it began and ended with the web. BTW, there’s no H in Wisoff. 😉

  3. JKBradley says:

    Read like a screen play to me, very visual.

    • I can see that now that you mention it. I always end up working to get an entire story in with the 100 words whereas I could always just get the story started, as many writers do. However, I really wanted to get the first and last line in and to do that, I had to get a lot done in a few words; hence the lack of articles and adjectives! 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Carrie says:

      I totally agree with that. I could see it as a screen play easily

  4. vbholmes says:

    Certainly action-packed! Told a lot in few words–good story,

  5. claireful says:

    I also read it like a play. Nice how it left a lot up to the reader’s imagination.

  6. stuff I said says:

    This played out in my mind like watching a play..really liked it!

  7. flyoverhere says:

    this raised my heart rate a little! I could feel the fear.

  8. I revel in the eerie, scary and unexpected, but this brought things a bit close to home. It was real, it could happen in my neighborhood. Left me unsettled. Well done. Now I want to know what happened, who did it and more.

    • I hear too often on the news about someone who kills a spouse (usually the wife) and then the kids, too. I don’t understand that at all. Even if I could understand killing the spouse, how could you kill your children? Horrible. I really don’t know where this story came from but it’s definitely not my usual upbeat take, although that’s where I started. Turned out to be 180 degrees the other way. Glad you “enjoyed” the story, though.

      Hey, I missed your smiling face on your gravatar on the story page. What’s up with that???

  9. jiltaroo says:

    This is great. You have used the words so well in an unexpected way. I can’t wait to give this a go when I have a bit more time. Jen

    • Thanks, Jen. So glad you liked it. Jump right in any time. It’s a great group of talented people. My husband pulled me in but be careful. It’s addictive: the writing, the reading, the waiting to see if people like your story. 🙂 Time-consuming, but lot of fun and a great learning experience to try to limit a story, or opening of one, to 100 words.

      • jiltaroo says:

        That’s the main reason I haven’t done it yet…I’m a bit time poor and trying to write my memoirs. I keep getting sidetracked. After I move house…..
        Is your husband Bill? Jen

      • Yup, he’s the one. And I’m trying to get house, yard and “stuff” ready for move as well, so I know whereof you speak!!! If you’re writing your memoirs, you’re writing and that’s good. All the best with the move.

      • jiltaroo says:

        Thank you :)…good luck with yours too. It’s an exhausting job but nice when it’s all over. Jen x

  10. That’s a terrifying story, and so sad, and so clearly told in the bare minimum of words. Thinking about what the police are going to find when they get past the spiderweb gives me the shivers. Great job!

    • Thanks, Sharon. I had to cut out every single extraneous word, including articles, to fit it in and still be able to use the first and last lines. I find this scenario horribly sad but occurring more often than I would like to believe.

  11. Bumba says:

    Very nice. The repetition of the opening sentence works well. The screenplay format perfect here.

  12. Carrie says:

    it was so action packed. Bang bang bang and we’re back full circle. Love how the beginning tied in so wonderfully with the ending

  13. Jan Brown says:

    Loved the form as well as the substance. The beginning and end are simply elegant, and everything in between is amazingly suspenseful. One of my favorites this week!

  14. unspywriter says:

    This was horrifying–as in you developed the horror coolly, precisely, every word in the perfect place. Good job.

    Here’s mine: http://unexpectedpaths.com/friday-fictioneers/tangled-webs/

  15. Russell says:

    After reading through the comments, I think we are all impressed by your use of this format and how you brought the story full-cycle in so few words. Very powerful writing. Great job, Janet.

  16. Sandra says:

    Gripping script-like production. Really well done.

  17. Whoof! Definitely hit home with the real horror story, here. Engaging, honest and I very much liked the echo of the opening line.

  18. Mike says:

    An interesting take on the prompt.
    To me it read as a poem, prose and a screenplay and it all worked so well. A clever piece of writing.

  19. Robyn Lee says:

    Fantastic writing. Yes – like a play — but also poetic in nature – and the way you brought the reader with you through this suspenseful scene… and tied the “web” into both intro and ending — I liked a lot! ~ 🙂 R

  20. Anne Orchard says:

    Very powerful. Am just reading a book with a plot much like this, but you got the bones of it in a hundred words. Thanks for stopping by mine too.

  21. Trudy says:

    So scarily real, a perfectly formed story, and something we all see too often in the news.

  22. Wow, intense. I loved you way you developed it entiredly using sounds and dialog to tell the entire story. You get the syntastical mastery award. Thanks for reading and commenting on my story. Ron

    • Ron, thanks for reading and for your comments and compliments. I find that I always learn something from reading all the other stories besides just enjoying them and marveling at the diversity of thought and style.

  23. 40again says:

    Upsetting, unsettling and shocking, but that’s what you intended. Well done in getting that across with such few words.

  24. keliwright says:

    Clearly something very bad has happened. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what. 3 people? Father, mother, child? Gunshots and death. x 3? Is it a double murder-suicide or just the parents? Is the husband the shooter? It’s the end of a long day, and I may just be thinking slow right now…

    I very much like the unusual format. Seriously raises the tension. I think I’m still holding my breath. I also like the bookend images of the spider webs. Everything is the same, yet everything is different.

    • Four people (or could be two shots for the child)–father kills mother, child/children and then self. You got it just right. I’m glad the format worked as it’s a lot of story to get into 100 words with so many used in the first and last sentences.

  25. keliwright says:

    Very ambitious! It’s great when you can pull something like that off.

  26. Loved how you relayed a whole scene with so few words arranged in such a sparse manner. Especially liked how you used the image of the web bellying at the beginning and end.

    • Thanks. It was necessary to get sparse to keep those two sentences–no articles, no descriptive words–and still make it though the whole story so I could use the sentence the second time! But I had to have them, so it was worth doing the cutting. Glad you liked it.

  27. I do like the way the words sound together, but I’m not sure how a breeze can belly threads. I just find it hard to imagine what exactly it looks like.

    There’s a sort of frantic pace to it that matches the action quite nicely. I love how that works out.

    • Belly just means the web was pushed out by the wind so that it protruded like a belly. Glad the pace came through. Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate the feedback.

      • Oh, okay. Sorry, I can be terribly dense sometimes. I would’ve gotten it with the phrase “belly up.” When I read it, though, I had this weird image in my head of the breeze tickling the belly of a web. So then at first, I thought it was tickling the spider’s belly, and then I thought the spider was witnessing all of this. When I was done, I didn’t think there had been a spider in the web, but I wasn’t sure. Thanks for clarifying. 🙂

      • No problem. 🙂 I have days like that myself and once you get an image in your head, it can be hard to get it out! There could be a spider in the web, although it doesn’t matter to the story either way.

      • I just had to read it twice because the first time I thought the spider was witnessing things, but then the description of what was going on wouldn’t really match that idea because I think it would see more details.

        I can sometimes get confused in general, so I’m probably the only one really who had that problem!

      • I’ve done the same thing with some of the stories. I’ll read, get to the end, wonder what’s going on, read it again and metaphorically slap myself upside my head and get it (although sometimes I have to read the comments first.) 🙂

  28. Cindy Marsch says:

    “Bellying” is my favorite verb in this piece, and I love how it frames the whole thing. I did have a little trouble following it the first time through and had to “replay” it in my mind. I wonder if it might work better if the mind that hears the sounds interprets them a little. I assume “CRACK” is a gunshot, but it could be a baseball bat on something (other than a skull). You work in a lot of drama and mystery into not very many words. Well done!

    Here’s mine: http://wrasselings.blogspot.com/2012/09/friday-fictioneers-plans.html

    • I missed you, Cindy. I’m heading over to read you now and then that’s it for today! Thanks for the comments and reading. I’m glad you liked “bellying” as it was my favorite word, too.

  29. rich says:

    excellent. but instead of “cut off” you could just use something like “da-” and save words. the (…) doesn’t mean an interruption. it means words have been left out. use a dash for interruptions.

  30. How horrible. I like the way you have parenthesised all this death and destruction with the cobweb. Well done.

  31. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Janet,

    I like the way you used the bookends of the web to anchor your story at beginning and end. Excellent experimentation with format and form.

    Thanks for your concern this weekend. Glad to be reading yours almost first as I walk through Mirkwood.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    • Dan, I’m always glad to read what you think of my writing and value your comments and criticisms. Good to have you back.

      I hope you’re getting to the other side of Mirkwood and don’t forget all the elves, hobbits, dwarves and others who can hep you along the way and rescue you from the evils that dwell there. Hopefully your journey there will be short!

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