Once upon a time, a couple of years ago, when I was still blogging on “The Melt-Ink Pot” (the now-defunct group blog of which I was a part), we did a story prompt.
The prompt was, “Late into the night, the snow fell and fell.”
I looked at it and thought I might get a couple of paragraphs out of it. Maybe even a page or two.
Much to my surprise, two days and 7,500 words later, an entire short story had fallen out of my keyboard. Moreover, it wasn’t like any story I’d ever written before. It was a modern romance, for one thing. And it was set at Christmastime, for another. (It was written in April, by the way.)
Since I wasn’t sure what kind of market there was for not-quite-novella-length romances, and since I wasn’t sure the story was all that good anyway, I just published it on my blog.
The thought occurred that I’ve probably picked up a few new readers since then, so I decided that, since it was seasonal, I’d go ahead and re-post it for folks who missed it the first time around. It’s not a bad little story, really, if I do say so myself….
(c) 2010 by Sheila McClune
Late into the night, the snow fell and fell. Risa’s aching hands clenched the steering wheel in a death grip. This is stupid, the nagging voice in her head told her for the thousandth time. Turn around. Go back. The voice got louder, grew strident as she approached another in-the-middle-of-nowhere exit. She turned up the iPod, patched into the radio with a makeshift cable, to try to drown it out.
That, too, was a bad choice. Bohemian Rhapsody ended, and the next song began. Three notes were all that had a chance to play before Risa mashed the skip button, but it was too late. The three notes had already stabbed their way into her heart. Their song. Her eyes flooded with tears…
A mile marker – 420, some idiotic portion of her mind noted – loomed in her headlights, straight ahead. Risa yelled a few words she’d never repeat in front of her mother and fought the urge to yank the steering wheel sharply to the left. Instead, she eased it to the left as gently as she could while still having a chance of not biffing the signpost.
The car almost-but-not-quite scraped the signpost and headed back toward the center of the northbound lanes of the interstate, but then the back end started to skid. She knew she was supposed to steer into the skid, but that would head her straight into the median, so she yanked the wheel back the other direction. The car fishtailed, then described a graceful three hundred and sixty degree turn…