During April, Writers Victoria runs a fun micro-fiction competition. Each day, they release a word prompt, and writers are asked to write a story up to 30 words incorporating the prompt. They choose a daily winner, then an overall winner at the end of the month who receive a free Writers Victoria workshop of their choice.
The event is run over Twitter using the relevant hashtags, and each year has an overall theme. Previous themes were: 2019: ‘Grit’; 2020: ‘Focus’; 2021: ‘Unfold’. And this year, the theme for 2022 was ‘Glimmer’.
I’ve participated in the last two years and love the daily challenge. Last year I created 30 different stories over 30 days, and while it was fun, it was also the most exhausting month of writing I’ve ever experienced. You can read about that experience HERE.
This year, I placed no expectations on myself and joined in the fun with the intent to have a go, be creative, and see where the prompts took me. What I didn’t expect was the ‘unexpected’ arrival of two characters with a story to tell. They took over after Day 3, and my challenge changed from creating individual stories to writing one large story, with the added pressure of fitting in the daily word prompt, incorporating the earlier stories, and ending the story before I ran out of days. I don’t know how I pulled it all together but below is one story told in 30-word segments, with the daily word prompt attached. I hope you enjoy it.
Day 1: Hint
A hint of red on the moon; the only evidence blood was spilled tonight. I wish I could erase the memories, too, but they linger—my lover in another’s arms.
Day 2: Pyrite
Glittering gold flecks on the river bed inspire visions of buying a dream beach house until the tour guide announces, “It’s pyrite. Not worth a dime.”
Day 3: Glow
The glow from his cigarette reveals a handsome face as he considers my midnight proposal. Finally, he nods. “Next time we meet—and we will meet—you’ll be a widow.”
Day 4: Fortune
We meet again at midnight.
“Is it done?”
“It’ll cost you more for that answer.”
“Are you a fortune hunter, Mr. Jones?”
“It’s not money that interests me, Mrs. Marks.”
Day 5: Idol
I slap him, hard. “Your compliance did not make you my idol, Mr. Jones.”
Unflinching, he lights a cigarette and blows perfect smoke rings.
“I beg to differ, Mrs. Marks.”
Day 6: Intermittent
I hurry home, emotions conflicted from Mr. Jones’ proposal. Is he another problem that needs fixing? Distracted, I don’t see the intermittent blue and red light until the siren sounds.
Day 7: Bright
I stand with the officer beneath a bright streetlight and explain my reason for speeding.
“My husband is missing. I’m frantic.”
“Yesterday. He was meeting a man.”
Day 8: Moon
Constable Peters files the missing person report.
“Your husband purchased a yacht?”
“The Suzannah.” Named after his mistress. Not that she’ll ever board it.
I smile, recalling the crimson moon.
Day 9: Perceive
“The yacht was purchased after a recent windfall?”
“Gold. The tour guide said it was pyrite. Fools.”
“You don’t sound pleased, Mrs. Marks?”
“Do I perceive an accusation, Constable Peters?”
Day 10: Twinkle
“Gold doesn’t make my eyes twinkle, Constable Peters. I’m wealthy in my own right.”
“Would that explain your sizeable life insurance?”
“A million-dollar payout should you die.”
Day 11: Sequin
I recall the sequin caught on my husband’s jacket, the clue to his infidelity. If he planned my death because I discovered his affair, I need to confirm he’s dead.
Day 12: Shimmer
Constable Peters offers an escort home. Needing to see Mr. Jones, I decline. As I speed along the empty streets, an unfamiliar car follows, its headlights making the mist shimmer.
Day 13: Altar
The strange car continues past when I pull into my driveway, but lyrics from an Alter Boys song drift from the house. I didn’t leave the radio on. Someone’s inside.
Day 14: Horizon
Nothing’s disturbed except the box containing my gold nuggets—empty, meaning my husband’s still alive. I can’t let him sail off into the horizon with my share of our windfall.
Day 15: Subdued
A floorboard creaks. Turning, I face a gun.
“Thank goodness,” I say, feigning relief. “I was so worried about you.”
Mr. Marks smirks. “Don’t pretend to be the subdued wife.”
Day 16: Oasis
Sadness strikes. “Why? I was your oasis.”
“You dried up years ago, darling. Now, hand over your gold.”
Mr. Jones appears behind him. “She can’t give what she doesn’t have.”
Day 17: Dapple
A dapple of light falls across Mr. Jones as he strolls into the room, highlighting his handsome features.
My husband glowers. “You were meant to kill her, not rob her.”
Day 18: Faint
Heart pounding, I stare at Mr. Jones.
“What are the odds I hired the same hit-man as my husband?” I ask, feeling faint.
“Short, Mrs. Marks,” he says. “Very short.”
Day 19: Blink
“I thought you weren’t a fortune hunter, Mr. Jones.”
“No one blinks twice at ten percent of a million dollars.”
He turns up the radio’s volume, then produces a gun.
Day 20: Waver
“Don’t kill her here, you fool,” my husband growls.
Mr. Jones smirks. “I don’t leave a mess.”
He aims the gun, no waver in his hand.
Music muffles the gunshot.
Day 21: Gold
My husband staggers. A red patch blooms on his chest.
“You traitorous gold-digger,” he splutters.
“It’s not gold I’m after, Mr. Marks.”
Slumping, my husband aims his gun and fires.
Day 22: Scintillate
I jump in front of Mr. Jones, taking the bullet meant for him. Not my most scintillating decision, but he stole my gold. Or was it my heart?
Day 23: Hope
Mr. Jones cradles me, one hand pressed against the bullet wound.
I smile ruefully. “I’d always hoped to die in a man’s arms.”
“Only one will die today,” he says.
Day 24: Inkling
I wake to a bandaged, throbbing shoulder, an empty house, and no inkling of what Mr. Jones did with my husband. Hearing a car, I peek outside. It’s Constable Peters.
Day 25: Sparkle
Constable Peter’s badge sparkles in the sunlight, filling me with dread.
“Did you find my husband?” I ask.
“Your husband’s dead. High-speed car crash. I’m sorry, his body was incinerated.”
Day 26: Neon
Neon lights cast a golden hue over the yacht, but my future is dull. It appears Mr. Jones has fled with my gold, playing me as easily as my husband.
Day 27: Soft
A soft touch on my shoulder lifts my melancholy. Turning, my world brightens.
“Just one question,” Mr. Jones says, returning my gold. “Did you jump for money, or for love?”
Day 28: Flash
Love or money? Easiest question ever. I toss the bag into the harbor—a gold flash in the dark water then that future is gone.
“There’s your answer, Mr. Jones.”
Day 29: Eye
Mr. Jones pulls me into his arms. “Should we sail into the sunset?”
“I’ll never board that yacht.”
He looks me in the eye. “Then I’ll never leave the shore.”
Day 30: Glimmer
She watches the love-struck couple from a distance, a murderous glimmer in her eye.
“You should’ve confirmed I was dead, Mrs. Marks,” Suzannah says. “Now it’s your turn to die.”
Or is it?