This is in response to a challenge by Haley Whitehall – to write a flash story in 500 words or less. Unfortunately, I forgot one of the rules, which was to start the story with, “She had been warned, but now it was too late.” So I used it as the title. No way was i going to write another 500 word story (this is 497 words *pant pant*). Fortunately, the title IS relevant to the story, but you have to read it all to find out.
This is the shortest story I have ever written, and it was indeed a struggle, the next shortest being 1,000 words. It is sort of a dark fantasy, but I hope you enjoy it.
She Had Been Warned, But Now It Was Too Late
The boy was 12. His slender frame stood defiantly, facing the other kids. The black patch over his right eye contrasted starkly with his pale face.
“Nyah, nyah, sissy Kevin, on his way to heaven,” a big boy said.
The rest of the kids picked up the chant, “Sissy Kevin, on his way to heaven.”
Kevin’s face flushed, but he kept silent.
“Cat got your tongue, Heaven Kevin?”
That was too much. A name like that would stick for the rest of his life.
“No,” the younger boy said softly. “My name is Kevin Shawn O’Reilly.”
“Folks’s saying you was given some gift by Irish fairies when you was a baby,” the older boy, whom everyone called Viper, said.
He glared at Kevin’s eye patch. “You hiding something gross behind there?” he growled. “Let’s take a look.”
The younger boy backed away desperately. “You’ll be sorry if you take my patch off.”
“Who’s gonna make me sorry?” Viper sneered. “Your piss-ant dad ain’t here no more.”
A tear slid down Kevin’s cheek. “Why are you doing this to me?” he cried. “I never did anything to you.”
“You’re different, see?” Viper said, advancing on the younger boy. “We don’t like piss-ants who pretend they’re better ‘n everyone else. We don’t like pukes with pussy secrets, like your bad eye here.” He leaned over Kevin.
Viper grabbed for the patch just as Kevin bobbed his head out of the way. Impatiently, Viper smashed Kevin in the face. The boy sagged and Viper snatched the eye patch. Triumphantly he turned and held it aloft. “Behold!” he cried, like he’d seen in the movies. Kevin tried to cover his eye with his hand.
“No, you don’t,” Viper said prying Kevin’s hand away. The younger boy quickly closed his eyes. The glimpse Viper saw puzzled him. The eye looked normal. Maybe it had to be open for pus to start oozing. Maybe that was what was making him feel nauseated. Yeah…the hidden pus.
He threw Kevin onto the ground, forcing his eye open. The boy was no match for Viper.
“NOOO!” he howled. Curiosity pulled the other children closer. For a moment Kevin kept his eye rolled back into his head, just showing the white.
“Good trick, piss-ant,” Viper snarled. He jogged his knee hard into Kevin’s stomach. The breath whooshed out of him as the eye flew open.
Viper stared at it. “It’s just the same as…” He never finished the sentence.
His limp body collapsed on top of Kevin, who was crying now in earnest.
The rest of the children screamed and scattered.
Kevin finally stopped crying and wiggled out from under the body. Gently he pried the eye patch out of the boy’s hand and slipped it back on over his right eye.
“It wasn’t a gift,” he told the empty schoolyard. “It’s why Da died. It’s a curse on the O’Reilly men.”
He plodded home and opened the door. “Momma,” he called tiredly. “We have to move again.”
Well done! I almost didn’t read because “dark fantasy” is not my preferred genre. But I feel that the ending was spot on!
I’m glad you did read it and commented. I worried a little about the ending, especially with the revamped title, which, after rereading the rules, was a necessity. I originally entitled it “The Good Eye.” Ah, well, my bad for not reading the rules again before I started.
In a way, it was a fluke because dark fantasy is not really my thing either. I like cheerful, colorful fantasy stories with lots of action and bravery and stuff. This one is very different from my normal brand.
However, I was in the powder room doing some very important meditation, and the story sprang into my mind practically fully blown. I thought about it off and on for the rest of the morning. The name Kevin Shawn O’Reilly seemed very important, as did the title, or at least the words “The Good Eye.” I love it when things like that happen, and I wasn’t about to stop the flow 🙂
Thanks, Good. After reading your hilarious “high noon” showdown story, I take that as a great(sby) compliment 🙂
Why didn’t I think of ‘great(sby) compliment’ before? I’m going to start using that.
Well, it certainly suits you 😛
I want to read more….Great job!
P.S. Thanks for Ur comments too!
Glad you liked it, Hobbit Queen. I won’t be expanding on this particular story, I don’t think. But I will be writing some more flash fiction. I found out it’s a lot of fun 😀
As for my comments, you deserve every one of them *hug*
Wow…don’t normally read this kind of stuff, but you hooked me. The ending was great. Loved the story.
Aw Cecilia, you made my day. I was feeling a little down because not too many people have read it…yet, I guess. Then you came along and boom, I’m happy again. As I mentioned to Hobbit Queen, I had no idea these 500-word flash stories are so much fun, so watch for more 🙂
Okay, I want more. So what was with his eye? Is there a book that tells the rest of this?
BTW – wondering if my link to your blog in my April 2 post brought you any new traffic? Just curious.
Hey, huffygirl – no, there is no book. I made this up as I was meditating in the powder room 😉 His eye is a result of the curse the fairies put on his family. If anyone stares into the naked eye, they die. Or you can give your own interpretation of his eye.
I only had 500 words to tell this story. My first draft was 979 words. Imagine cutting out 479 words from something as short as this. I had no room to expand. lol I won’t be turning this into a novel, I don’t think. I’m not much of a fan of dark fantasy, and this one surprised me. But hey, who am I to argue with my muse. Still, in order to go the distance for a novel, I have to really like it enough to live with it for months.
I do plan on writing more 500 flash stories. It’s a lot of fun. You should try it.
Thanks muchly for the link. As far as I can tell, it didn’t bring any new traffic, but sometimes it’s hard to figure out where people come from too.
My first thought was that the bully might have been turned to stone.
That actually could have been the ending. I never thought of it. I was thinking more of the basilisk. According to Wikipedia:
One of the earliest accounts of the basilisk comes from Pliny the Elder’s Natural History, written in roughly 79 AD. He describes the catoblepas, a monstrous cow-like creature of which “all who behold its eyes, fall dead upon the spot,” and then goes on to say,
There is the same power also in the serpent called the basilisk. It is produced in the province of Cyrene…
I know…you’re asking yourself what does a Greek basilisk have to do with Irish fairies? I can’t answer that, but I’m sure there must be another story in there somewhere 😛 Hey, I only had 500 words 🙂
Haha, twisted. I love it 🙂
I bet I surprised you with a dark fantasy story, eh? Someone said they found dark stories lent themselves to the 500-word limit. I think they may be right. I have another idea, and it too is dark fantasy.
Surprised? Nah, you’ve been hanging around me (and a few others on FF) long enough 😉
Oh noes! Ah’ve been infected! What’s thuh antidote fer writing dark fantasy?
Sad to say, there is no cure. You have begun the downward spiral.
By the way, it occurred to me: who’s the “she” who had been warned? I’m assuming his mother?
Actually, that wasn’t my original title, which was “The Good Eye.” However, one of the rules for this Flash Fiction challenge was to start the story with “She had been warned, but now it was too late…” I forgot all about that requisite and wrote the entire story in one sitting.
I had it totally finished and went back to Haley’s site to check on where to post the story. On rereading the rules, I found that one. No way was I gonna rewrite something that took me the better part of five hours to write…so I used it as the title.
A little cockeyed, I guess, but strangely enough it was relevant…and yes, it was referring (at least in my mind) to the mother.
I had no idea what the ending was going to be. I wanted Kevin to fight back and I guess he didn’t have to. The oops mom it happened again moment at the end lightened the tension I was feeling after Viper’s self demise. Nice piece!
Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I probably should have had Kevin try to fight back, but he didn’t want to do anything to make his eye open. If I had more words to use, I probably would have at least have him make an attempt. Like you, I have a hard time writing short pieces. lol
You got the Celt in me! Didn’t I warn people about mentioning the Fey? (I’m sure you read that one :)) Nice story!
I don’t remember your warning, Ken. Otherwise, I surely would not have written about the Fey 😛 – glad you enjoyed my story.
The title definitely fit! This is the first time I’ve read dark fantasy and I liked it. I know you struggled with getting your story down to 500 words but I think it was worth it. You were left with a masterpiece. I’m curious as the what might happen next in Kevin’s life.
Masterpiece, eh? Wow, thanks. Not only that, but I’ve found that I enjoy doing flash fiction. I’m glad you found you enjoy dark fantasy. Thanks, Haley, for challenging us. Looking forward to the next one.
Oh, about Kevin, a lot of people say they want an expanded version of the story. I definitely don’t want to write a novel about him, but I might write a longer short story to answer some people’s questions and their desire to read more.
Well that was a lot of fun! Of course, pragmatic me, I’m just thinking the poor guy should get the eye taken out so he doesn’t have to move so often. But then I suppose the surgeons would just keep keeling over during the operation, so maybe that wouldn’t work after all. What happens if people look at him in a mirror, like Medusa? Inquiring minds want to know. Great job! 🙂
Anna, nice of you to drop in. Glad you liked the story. As for the eye, it’s a curse and can’t be removed by human hands. And yes, the surgeons would just keep keeling over.
A mirror wouldn’t work, if it was made by human hand. However, natural elements…water in a pond, for instance, would work so that the viewer wouldn’t be killed looking at Kevin’s reflection in the pond. That gives me ideas for another story 😛
First of all, Congrats on making such an intriguing story in so few words! “Dark fantasy” is not my preferred genre, but that piece certainly made me want to read more. Please post to let us know if you expand on the story. Thanks for sharing!
Hey, Deb, thanks for dropping by…and for the kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the story. It took me longer to get it down to the required 500 words than it did to write the original 979 words lol I will definitely let everyone know if I expand it. I think I will. I had no idea people would like to that much.
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I loved it! Loved the twist at the end. The meany got his just desserts. Mwahaha. 😀
I’m glad you liked it. That was my first one, but I have written several since. I have to say it doesn’t get easier, at least not for me. Thanks for posting a “Like” for the story.