Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Campaign Challenge: 200 word flash fiction

Here is my first entry for the Writers' Platform-Building Campaign. The challenge is to write a story or poem of 200 words, beginning with the words, "The door swung open."

I'm claiming extra points (are there points?) for having the story at exactly 200 words, excluding the title, and ending with "the door swung shut."

Here goes:

The Ruined Prison of Richard the Lion-Heart

The door swung open with a drawn-out squeal. Two little girls echoed with squeals as they scampered out. One squeal turned into a whine as Daddy picked up the smaller one and admonished her in gentle French as she squabbled to stay in the ruins.

The door squealed again as Max bent his 6-foot-four frame to enter the dungeon. “Hey, Richard the Lion-Heart,” I said as I got the camera ready. It beeped and whirred as Max shut the cage door and made a sad face.

I joined Max in the dungeon. Strange how it was so cool inside, high up on this mountain overlooking the Danube, which sparkled green, far below the ruined parapet of the Burgruine Durnstein.

“Is that where Richard was imprisoned?” Natasha asked as she stepped carefully down the path. King Richard I was imprisoned on his way back from the Crusades until he was rescued by a minstrel. Now, tourists picnicked and took pictures, and wondered about the people who built and lived in this place so long ago.

“Guess so,” Max answered. He stepped out to freedom, and we followed him down, more mindful of the shifting gravel underfoot as the door swung shut.


  1. Wow. I am always so fascinated by all the different directions one writing meme can take. This is very unique. I like the presence of the small children in this old, historical setting they would not understand...

  2. I like the image of the squealing little girls but was confused as to who max was exactly. Still I could picture the place clearly. Mine is #72

  3. Great framing with noise. Nice reminder that a good story doesn't need drama. Thanks.

  4. Your flash fiction piece is really neat you were able to describe a place I have never been before and well I want to know more about it. Great job!

  5. Really good imagery here. I especially liked the use of sound, versus standard visual.

  6. I like it Scott! :) Nice work! And I like the part where you add willingly to the challenge ;)

  7. I love the comparison between the tragedy that took place in the prison long ago and the common day practice of making it a joyful place to picnic

  8. This was interesting... not emotionally tense like most of the others. Nice, quiet and somewhat sombre.

  9. I enjoyed your story. It reminds me of the many historical places I took my children when they were young. Brings back memories.