A Very Short Story

The following very short story was written a while ago for a 250-word-max competition I did not win.

It appears here almost exactly like it was when I submitted it to the competition, with just a few minor adjustments. I am improving as a writer, after all.

I hope you enjoy it.

Shooting Star

Adam was thrust free of the orbiting space-station after a mistake with an airlock, mere seconds before he was able to fasten his suit to the station. He was on the very edge now; floating between the cold vacuum of space and the warm embrace of the Earth. A voice reached out into the void.

“Adam, stay calm. We’ll fire the thrusters and come get you.” The speaker was comforting. Concerned.

Eternity seemed to pass. Adam looked on to see that no thrusters were fired.

“Adam, we’re radioing Earth for help.” Less conviction in the voice this time.

There would be no one coming, no daring rescue. No sense risking seven lives to save one.

“Adam? Are you there?” he almost felt the sadness through the radio.

“Yeah, I’m here. The view is beautiful.”

“Goodbye Adam,” the voice said. And then another.

He turned the radio off, couldn’t stand the pity.

He felt gravity’s first pull. It came as a whisper of weight, the merest tickling in his toes and fingers. Then it tugged harder, reeling him in. His thoughts were of Susanna and Ray at home; soon to be widow and orphan. His love with moss-colored eyes and his son with the broken-tooth grin. He remembers standing in his room the day before heading out. “Put one penny in the jar every day. When you have a dollar, daddy will be back.” The way Ray smiled warmed his heart now.

Adam felt the heat as he entered the atmosphere, falling fast. Burning up. For a moment, the people of Earth see a shooting star, then they carry on with their day.

Ray still puts pennies in the jar. He’s up to four dollars and twenty-seven cents and he can’t wait for his father to see how much he has saved up.

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3 thoughts on “A Very Short Story

  1. When writing micro stories like that every word has to cut through and the whole have a deeper meaning. Less is more should be the catch phrase. If I’d been your editor for this short story I would have made some serious cuts to this story:

    Adam was thrust free of the orbiting space-station after a mistake with an airlock, mere seconds before he was able to fasten his suit to the station. He was on the very edge now; floating between the cold vacuum of space and the warm embrace of the Earth.

    He felt gravity’s first pull. It came as a whisper of weight, the merest tickling in his toes and fingers. Then it tugged harder, reeling him in. His thoughts were of Susanna and Ray at home; soon to be widow and orphan. His love with moss-colored eyes and his son with the broken-tooth grin. He remembers standing in his room the day before heading out. “Put one penny in the jar every day. When you have a dollar, daddy will be back.” The way Ray smiled warmed his heart now.

    Adam felt the heat as he entered the atmosphere, falling fast. Burning up. For a moment, the people of Earth see a shooting star, then they carry on with their day.

    Ray still puts pennies in the jar. He’s up to four dollars and twenty-seven cents.

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  2. Now that is some cutting!

    I also think the story might be improved, now that I think about it, by moving the bit about the money jar to the top, letting the reader know sooner that Adam has a wife and son at home that is is waiting to get back to, and THEN shooting him into space. More emotional impact, perhaps.

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    1. I think you should try and not think about making emotional impact. The trick is to let that come natural, to be a self-integrated part of the story through the readers experience, if you catch my drift. Therefore I cut out the last sentence, it’s aimed to raise emotions in the reader, while leaving it out gives the reader the chance to come to that assumption, which I think raises more emotion. Trust your reader, most people are more than capable to find things out for themselves.

      The best micro story ever written:

      For sale:
      Baby shoes
      Never worn

      Ernest Hemmingway had a knack for telling a huge story with few words, raising emotions than everyone can relate to. Loosing an infant child/miscarriage is horrible and something no one should be put through. I think these 6 words really capture the loss and sorrow.

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