JESSICA THERRIEN

From Imagination To Publication

Monday, September 5, 2011

Writers' Campaign Challenge #1 - Short Story

As part of Rachael Harrie's Platform-Building Campaign we've been given the following challenge:

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!

I decided to take on the added challenge of making my story exactly 200 words and ending it with "the door swung shut." I hope you enjoy it!

THE SOULLESS

The door swung open.
“They’re coming.”
(source)
My stomach tightened as Brad slid the deadbolt into place and turned the couch into a barricade.
“How long?”
The sound of the soulless flinging their bodies against the door was my answer. The knob twisted and voices began to hiss. They’d find their way in soon.
The soulless only wanted one thingour hearts. Those who’d already lost theirs had slowly been taken by madness, joining the hunt for more.
“If we surrender they’ll let us live. We won’t lose ourselves if we have each other.”
I felt the steady chug of my heart beneath my ribs and shook my head violently. “I’m not going to just hand over my soul.”
Another body slammed against the door, and I jumped into Brad’s arms. He held my head against his chest, and I listened for the steady beat that always gave me comfort. Only this time, it wasn’t there, and I lost myself to unconsciousness.
***
When I awoke, the room was silent. I sighed with relief. Just a dream.
Then I saw it, the incision below my sternum. I looked up in horror, catching sight of Brad’s heels as the door swung shut.



...The Soulless is entry #138. If you feel like voting for it click the "like" button below my name on this list. Thanks everyone!...

88 comments:

  1. Oooooh brrr. Creepy. Nice twist at the end there!

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's a complete story and it even has a picture to go with it! Great job. I liked the image of the head against the comforting chest as it vividly shows how the heroine would be deprived of Brad's heart.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love the phrase "steady chug of my heart". It immediately conjured the rhythm of a train and I had never really thought of a heartbeat as a chugging train until this description.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh my gosh that gave me chills! LOVED IT!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Nice one Jessica - great atmosphere. Must stir my stumps and do something for the challenge!
    AliB

    ReplyDelete
  6. Never trust a guy named Brad. ;) This was great! Thanks for sharing. Sarah xx

    ReplyDelete
  7. My skin is still crawling!!! Well done Jessica!!!!! :D

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow, chilling. Right up my youngest daughter's dark alley! Lol! ; )

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you so much everyone! I really appreciate those of you who "liked" my story on Rachael's Linky List. You all are awesome, and I can't wait to read yours :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yikes!...now if I was watching this on TV I would be hiding behind the couch...LOL. Great Stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love this...especially the ending! I was like, oh man, this is a dream. But then it wasn't...howzah!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Jessica! Wow "the soulless flinging their bodies.." that's great!

    ReplyDelete
  13. This has a zombie feel to it, only it's not zombies, or is it? Nice one, Jessica! Very effective beginning and end. :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Congratulations, Jessica. Your entry has been forwarded to Michael Offutt for advancement into the second round of judging.

    Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks for all of the wonderful comments, and thanks for the news Dora!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ah, very creepy! I really enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete
  17. aaahhhhh!!! so creepy, I love it!

    ReplyDelete
  18. If I lost my heart, I would go mad as well. Good job!

    ReplyDelete
  19. oh.my.goodness. i should not have read this right before bed! so scary and well done!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh Brad! I liked this. Mine is #72 and totally different.

    ReplyDelete
  21. totally creepy. like it. maybe that's why i have this scar on my chest (oh, nope, i had real heart surgery. haha -true, really, i did) mine is totally opposite as well. contemp YA #204. i like yours. creep creep-a-deep

    ReplyDelete
  22. And hey from Temecula, fellow SDSU girl!

    ReplyDelete
  23. This was fabulous - great twists I wasn't expecting and all in only 200 words. Great job on this, Jessica!

    ReplyDelete
  24. So creepy! Full of tension, and I love the way the hearts become a character in the story.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thanks so much for the encouraging comments everyone :) You all rock!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Oh my gosh! So spooky! I'm not usually one to read scary stuff but this was great!

    I'm entry #236

    ReplyDelete
  27. W-O-W! That was sick, seriously so good. Your story gets my vote! I am in the 2nd round with you - number 29

    ReplyDelete
  28. Awesomeness! Now off to read yours :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Loving the creep in your story! Wasn't it so much fun to write? Congrats on making it to round two!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Ahhh this is so great!!! Good job!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Now this was awesome - and creepy too, for sure!!

    ReplyDelete
  32. That darn Brad. He'd have to be soulless or heartless to do that. Nice zombie-esque kind of piece.

    ReplyDelete
  33. WHOA! I totally wasn't expecting that ending! Nice job!

    ReplyDelete
  34. OMG - awesome! Loved the twist ending.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Excellent job! That is my type of read. I'll go 'like' this one. :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Wow, great story! LOOOVE the title!! I'll definitely be following you :) Are you thinking of expanding at all?
    Mine's #262 (http://pensuasion.blogspot.com/)

    ReplyDelete
  37. Oh, very creepy, but also very good!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Congrats on making it to round two. You deserve it. Such an intense and well written piece. And the perfect picture to go with it, too.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Here's to zombies! (Brad made me think of Brad from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.) Nice job!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Isn't that just like a man -love you & leave you without a heart.
    Very nice! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Hey everyone! My power was out last night. Sorry I couldn't respond to your comments :( I will now be visiting all of your sites to return the favor. Thanks so much for your support! You are awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Oooo what a twist, nicely written. :)

    ReplyDelete
  43. Eek! How could he? And does she have any hope?

    ReplyDelete
  44. Yikes! Creepy. Fab ending and lots of tension on the way. Love it! Voting and following :)

    ReplyDelete
  45. Thanks you wonderful people you! Your stories have all been awesome. This challenge was so much fun :)

    ReplyDelete
  46. Wow! I want to say something so much cooler, but wow! Amazing the amount of story you squeezed in. Best part: when she leans in and no heartbeat. Eek! Excellent!

    ReplyDelete
  47. What a great job!!! I really loved it. Just proves to watch your back when it comes to Brads *giggles*.

    I wish you the best of luck with this campaign! Though I'm not participating it was really nice to run across your blog *waves* and meet you!

    ReplyDelete
  48. Wow! amazing job! I love the tension and imagery!

    ReplyDelete
  49. I think this is one of my favorites so far! :) I'm a new follower...can't wait to read more in the future!

    ReplyDelete
  50. Cool entry! What's better than flash fiction with a dash of horror? Great pacing, and LOVE the end. :)

    ReplyDelete
  51. A well paced and tense story - you squeezed a lot into very few words.
    I wonder how Brad lost his heart... if they've been together all the time? Could he have faked the heart beat? If not, why - suddenly - did he have no heartbeat?
    "Only this time, it wasn’t there, and I lost myself to unconsciousness." CARELESS ;) Could the vacuum of his beatless chest drag her into unconsciouness?
    Good luck with the challenge.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Wow that was creepy! What do the souless do with the hearts? Eat them? Like zombies eat brains? Awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Great job. Creepy too, just like I like it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  54. Oh my FREAK that was creepy! Loved it! I even searched the whole list of 380+ entires so I could find your name and "Like" it :-)

    ReplyDelete
  55. Hi! Just wanted to let you know that you made it to the shortlist!! Congrats. More info to come from Rachel!

    ReplyDelete
  56. Ooh, very creepy! I liked it. Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  57. Salarsen - Thanks for the great news!
    Rachel - I think your blog is petty too :)
    Francesca - Thanks so much! Glad you liked it. PS...I love your name.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Congrats for getting to the shortlist, Jessica ;)

    ReplyDelete
  59. Awesome story, glad it was chosen for the shortlist. Congrats! :)

    ReplyDelete
  60. Nice work indeed! Liking the atmospthere a lot!

    ReplyDelete
  61. Hi Jessica! I just wanted to let you know that I've chosen you as one of the 12 finalists, which means you win a prize automatically. Congratulations, and well done! :D

    ReplyDelete
  62. Great story! Creepy and tense. Congrats on getting through the final.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Fantastic! Congratulations on being a finalist!

    ReplyDelete
  64. Congrats on making it to the finals. You deserved it! What a fabulous story!

    ReplyDelete
  65. Wow, this is fabulously creepy! Congratulations on making it into the final, that was very well deserved.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Hi Jessica, I just wanted to stop by to congratulate you on being a Finalist in my First Campaigner Challenge! Your entry was chosen as one of the top 12 entries in the judging round, and I've now decided your place (and thus your prize).

    You've come in Fourth Place out of 384 entries - that is so fantastic! And that's not all, you've also WON the People's Choice Awards!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So you've been awarded with two fantabulous prize packages - I really hope you like them :) This Challenge has had a lot of entries with great twists, but yours was one of the best - I had no idea what would happen, and found your story deliciously creepy! I love me a good zombie story, but your depiction of the Soulless was ten times more intriguing!!!

    Well done again, and make sure you pop by my blog to see what you've won ;)

    Hugs,

    Rach

    ReplyDelete
  67. I love the creep factor in this and am secretly wishing there is more of it! Make this into a story (that is, if you haven't already).

    Congrats on being a finalist!

    ReplyDelete
  68. Yay, for you! Congrats on your win. :))

    ReplyDelete
  69. Just stopped by to say Congrats! Great story!

    ReplyDelete
  70. I'm so glad you won a prize - loved your story!

    ReplyDelete
  71. Congrats on first place! Whoooohoooo, that's super fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
  72. Congratulations on your prize. Loved your story. You rock ! Woot :)

    ReplyDelete
  73. Congrats on winning first place in People's Choice. Your story was riveting.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Excellent News! Well done you...

    ReplyDelete
  75. Thanks for all the congrats! I can't believe it...

    ReplyDelete
  76. Congratulations, Jessica! :-) Great job on your story!

    ReplyDelete
  77. Congratulations on getting first place in the peoples' choice award!

    ReplyDelete
  78. Congratulations on doing so well! You really deserved it.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Congratulations on the People's Choice Award! This was fantastic.

    ReplyDelete