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Campaigner Challenge: Flash Fiction!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The first challenge in the Rach Writes platform-building campaign is to write a flash story starting with the words "The door swung open". And optionally, for a greater challenge, to finish with the words "the door swung shut". And, for an even greater challenge, to do it in exactly 200 words.

Can't resist a challenge! Here's my entry :



The Magister Clock


        The door swung open in the golden clock face. Saffiah swallowed, her heart pounding, as the miraculous device before her whirred and ticked and whirred again. How could she have been so foolish? She could have asked it anything. She could have asked it nothing. Instead she’d laughed and called in a clear voice :
        “Tell me the time of my death.”
        The Magister Clock was never wrong, of course. Other clocks knew only now. This knew the time of all events. The death of queens and the birth of saviours. And here it was. Guarded by vicious horrors, locked away in dungeons so deep no-one had found it in years uncounted. Patiently ticking away.
        Something flashed inside the workings. No clockwork cuckoo here. A waxwork face wound forward, the countenance of the Magister himself. It scowled : dismissive, cruel. Saffiah backed away a step despite herself.
        The clock spoke.
        “Nearly an hour ago, now.”
        Saffiah breathed again. After everything, the miraculous clock was broken, useless. Laughing, she swung her fist at the sneering face.
        She felt only confusion as her hand passed right through. Her ghostly, translucent hand.
        The face grinned as it retracted and the door swung shut.



Thanks for reading!

47 comments:

  1. Good one, Simon! Already "liked" it over on Rachel's blog. :)

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  2. This is great!! One of the best I've read so far. Loved it.

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  3. Miranda - thanks, glad you enjoyed it.

    3to9travels - and thanks to you, too!

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  4. Ooo...loved the ending. Didn't see that coming!

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  5. Ellie,

    Pleased to hear it! Thanks for reading.

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  6. Holy cow, this is good. So much in only 200 words!

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  7. Brilliant. You could sell that, Simon. Get it off the blog straight away.

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  8. Very cunning. i really enjoyed this and will vote for you ;)

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  9. Very cool. Love the character, and the concept is refreshingly different. Nicely done! Sarah xx

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  10. Very nice! You've got my vote. :)

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  11. Deborah,

    I hadn't considered that! Ah well, probably too late now. Really glad you liked it.

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  12. Joanna - Thanks! Really pleased you liked it.

    foldingfields - Thanks to you, too!

    Melodie - that's wonderful, many thanks.

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  13. Never doubt the Magister Clock!! Great story!! Thank you! take care
    x

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  14. That was cool! I did not expect that ending! :D

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  15. Thanks, Old Kitty! You take care too.

    Ms. Saba - yes, bit of a trick ending I guess but fun to write.

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  16. Very, VERY nicely done. I really enjoyed reading this one. The description of the magister's appearance -- "A waxwork face wound forward" -- was tremendously evocative.

    A delight!

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  17. Excellent story telling here, in so few words!
    Really enjoyed this one - great job!

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  18. nice little twist at the end. I liked it over on Rachel's blog. If you want to check out mine, it's number 186.

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  19. Michael : Many thanks! Glad you liked it.

    Golden Eagle : Great! Wasn't sure if it was going to be too obvious.

    Erin : Thanks - glad you liked it.

    Alleged Author : or die trying ...

    Cat : Thanks - I'll scoot on over to yours.

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  20. Great twist! What a foolish question indeed. Nice job. Mine is #72

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  21. Thanks, bridget! Off to read yours now.

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  22. Nice job, Simon! I added one to your vote tally.

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  23. Simon, you could always sell it as a repint, 'Apollo's Lyre' maybe. Ot perhaps expand it, sometimes.

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  24. Love the idea of this clock, and that it's kind of a jerk about doing it's job. Very spooky ending.

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  25. Scott, Jessica - thanks, much appreciated.

    Deborah - good idea. I'd certainly expand it a little, I think.

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  26. Jocelyn,

    Thanks for that! I must admit I kinda warmed to the clock ...

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  27. This was so original. Love the Magister Clock and the ending was a nice surprise.

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  28. Indeed, an original that reads well as a whole, short form! Nice job!

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  29. Elizabeth/Alica/Sandwiched Writer : thanks, glad you liked it.

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  30. What an interesting concept... nice fairy-tale-like feel to this :)

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  31. 1000th - can I call you that? Thanks, glad you liked it.

    Angelina - thanks to you, too.

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  32. Fabulous, Simon! Really. This is one of my favorites of the challenge - (I have about 10 'favorites' now. But out of 160 or so read, that's not too shabby...ha!) I look forward to reading more from you. ~ Nadja

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  33. Thanks, Nadja. Delighted you enjoyed it.

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  34. I loved the story and the twist at the end.
    Good luck with the challenge.
    This line near the start - "Saffiah swallowed, her heart pounding" could be used to foreshadow the end if these functions appeared to have temporarily stopped.

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  35. Hi, Elaine and thanks : you make an excellent point. I may well expand this story into something a little longer so I'll bear that in mind ...

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  36. Great job! Very well written. I loved the end! :)

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  37. Or.....maybe, after smashing the clock, she cuts herself, gets tetanus and dies. Either way, pretty cool story!

    Stobby

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I'd love to know what you think.