#5MinuteFiction #NaNoWriMo Edition Week Two

This, in case you somehow missed the title of the post, is 5MinuteFiction. You have been assimilated.

And welcome to 5MinuteFiction. That means we write fiction. In five minutes. Shocker, I know.

NEW for NOVEMBER: In honor of National Novel Writing Month, since most of us have lost our minds– I mean, are writers attempting NaNoWriMo–we’re going to add a NaNoWriMo twist to #5MinuteFiction. If you’re lucky, you might get to include your entries among the 50,000 word goal for your NaNovel.

The prompts for the month of November will focus on the main character of your WIP, and will be more specific than our normal one-word prompts. It ought to be interesting to see how some of these adapt to the more fantastical worlds some of us run with.

Now, if you’re one of those who has a brain and uses it, otherwise known as isn’t crazy enough to do NaNoWriMo, feel free to participate.

The Rules

* You get five minutes to write a piece of prose in any style or genre

* You must directly reference today’s prompt: Your Main Character finds a painting of himself/herself.

(Note: The prompt is the word. The picture is for decoration/inspiration.)

* Post your entry as a comment to this post.

I’ll close the contest at 1:45. That gives you five minutes to write and ten to accommodate the vagaries of relative time, technology, and the fickle internets. If you are confused or just want to whine, feel free to email me.

At the close of the contest, this week’s guest judge, R.C. Murphy, @RCMurphy, will nominate five finalists. I’ll put the nominees in the poll on the side of the page, and at 9:30 PM EDT I’ll close the poll and declare the winner.

For updates, you can subscribe to my RSS Feed, or follow me on twitter.

What’s the prize? Well, nothing, obviously. But we’ll all agree to tweet and/or blog about the winner of today’s contest so their fame and fortune will be assured.

A Few Notes:

* In the interest of time and formatting, it’s best to type straight into the comment box. It’s also smart to do a quick highlight and copy before you hit “post” just in case the internets decide to eat your entry. If your entry doesn’t appear right away, email me sometimes comments go into the suspected spam folder and I have to dig them out.

* I reserve the right to remove hate speech or similar but I’m not too picky about the other stuff.

* This is all for fun and self-promotion. So be sure to put your twitter handle at the end of your post and a link to your blog if you have one.

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19 Responses to #5MinuteFiction #NaNoWriMo Edition Week Two

  1. Reflections

    The cabin radiated serenity. I stepped up onto the porch and let the stress of the week drip from me like the morning’s dew. I wouldn’t be able to ignore the hurt I left behind forever, but for this moment, I needed to just be. Be alone, be free, be. . .Dalia instead of Kelle.
    Kara had picked perfectly for my retreat. Letting myself in I felt my lips stretch in a delighted smile. Light flooded the open floor plan, shining on bright clean canvases and carts of painting supplies. And in the corner next to the huge flagstone fireplace stood an easel with the one painting I wouldn’t let her sell.
    I left my bags near the door, crossed to the portrait I’d painted so many, many years ago.
    My face and Lexie’s stared out at me; younger, unshadowed versions of the people we’d become. I met my own eyes, wondered if my younger self would flinch from my gaze as much as I did in the mirror. My thoughts tumbled down the path of recollection, searching for the moment when I’d veered from that bright, happy person to the shattered, dark, conflicted soul who’s just broken her lover’s heart.
    I wished I didn’t know so clearly when that happened.

    @AislingWeaver

  2. R.C. Murphy says:

    She wanted to rip the damn thing to shreds. No, smaller than shreds. The painting needed to be rendered down to dust so she could tap dance on the remains.

    “What the hell are you glaring at?” William asked from his post against the wall. He’d been a shadow, following her through the remains of the house. For some reason his quiet presence was soothing.

    “It is nothing,” she lied.

    He pushed off the wall, his footfalls coming up behind her. Far too close for her liking. All she wanted to do at that moment was turn into his arms and take the comfort she knew he would give. But that would make her even weaker than she already was, wouldn’t it?

    “Holy shit,” William whispered. “Is that you?”

    Vyvyan looked up at the life-sized portrait. It was indeed her, but not fully. It was her father’s ideal version of her. In the painting she wore the fine silks of a Lady. Her hair was longer than she ever actually wore it so that the artist could fashion it into one of those complicated up-dos aristocratic vampires preferred. He’d wanted so badly for her to take her mother’s place after her death.

    “No. It isn’t me.” She turned away from the painting, eyes downcast so William couldn’t see her tears. “It is my mother.”

    @RCMurphy

  3. Danal walked cautiously into the room. It was quiet but brightly lit with candles and soft magic light from above. Odd objects stood in shadowed alcoves along the walls. The hum of magic, barely restrained, pulsed around him, from the objects, from the room, from himself. It drew him and enveloped him and an unnatural and unwilling peace draped itself over him.

    He walked along the side wall, his eyes wandering over objects, some that wanted to be seen, some that didn’t. Each fascinating in its own way and yet one after the other they weren’t the one he was looking for. He didn’t know what he was looking for. Before he’d entered the room he hadn’t realized he was looking for anything at all. But now he knew there was something here that he’d come to see.

    He passed twisted pieces of fossilized wood the color of deepest night. He passed paper thin china as white as purity. There were rocks that looked like spring leaves and leaves of odd little trees that looked like rocks.

    At the end of the room, on the wall, that had been oddly obscured until he was close enough to touch, he found it.

    It as a painting of a man, lying dead, exposed on a rocky cliff. In muted whites and grays and smudgy blacks and browns he saw the stark depiction of death, red blood mixing with the sheeting rain and washing down the cliffside.

    The face, was his own.

    “So you’ve come at last,” a voice behind him said.

  4. Tony Noland says:

    “Stunning likeness, isn’t it?”

    The Grammarian spun around, but Professor Verbosity was no where to be seen. With his ultra-acute hearing, he scanned the room and the spaces behind the walls. Double-layered drywall blocked everything but the humming of the fluorescent light over the painting.

    “You must be quite a fan, Verbosity. I don’t believe any other criminal in Lexicon City has a portrait of me on his wall.” He lifted his Dramatic Impact gun and held it ready. If his arch-nemesis was running true to form, a gang of thugs would burst through the door any moment. The Grammarian crouched, balancing on his toes, ready for a fight.

    A horrendous shriek exploded from the speakers in the ceiling, a hundred decibels, at least. His super-powered hearing driving the sound into his brain like a handful of broken glass, the Grammarian flinched. The floor opened underneath him and he fell into a concrete pit filled with stun gas. His limp form fell forward as he lost consciousness.

    “But then, I’m not just any criminal, am I, Alex?”

  5. Jules Carey says:

    Nathan grabs the book from Ben in a huff and starts to flip through the pages. There is no way the bodyguard to the princess is him. They couldn’t be more similar than day and night. He’s scrawny, weak, timid. The other is larger than life in both personality and stature. Ben is just crazy! He’s going to prove it.

    Page after page flies by until the final few fly by. Nathan’s heart jumps to his throat. In the very back there are five sketches. The first is a beautiful, young girl in an royal-like robe, the next, a young male in some kind of a soldier uniform. He never finds out the fourth and fifth because number three has all his attention. From the page a man peers back at him with a smirk of confidence on his face. He is large and muscular, he wears a conservative black suit and stands as if daring someone to challenge him (and knowing they would lose). He’s seen this man before, in his dreams.

    “What is it?” Ben peeks over Nathan’s shoulder.

    “Me.”

    @JulesCarey

  6. Sessha Batto says:

    Hiroshi looked at the scroll left so unceremoniously on the low table. It wasn’t addressed to him, it was true. But he had to assume whoever had come into his house intended it for his eyes.

    Of course, whether or not he chose to indulge them was another matter. He hastily pulled the tie from his hair, combing his fingers through the tangled strands in an attempt to ease his impending headache.

    He could almost feel the scroll mocking him, taunting him for his lack of courage in avoiding its contents. With a sigh of resignation he carefully unrolled it. His breath left him in a concentrated rush, a gasp that betrayed his feelings far clearer than words.

    He drew his fingers over the surface in wonder, seeing himself through his lover’s eyes, an idealized masculine beauty that nearly stopped his heart. Not because it was accurate. Never in a million years could he live up to such an image. But what it said about the depth of his taciturn lover’s affections, that was the picture he would cherish, remembering that once he was so loved.

  7. Aries walked down the city block, trying hard to avoid being hit by the throng. Hong Kong was as crowded as he expected it to be, and he wondered how the people of Earth breathed in such close quarters to each other, especially with such thick air. But none of that was really was what was on his mind. He had hurt his best friend, and hurt him bad. It was entirely possibly that Bo wouldn’t be his friend when the two of them returned to Mars. And what hurt most about that truth was that Bo would be right to do so.

    He came to a stop suddenly, something catching his eye. He looked into a window, a small corner shop that sold hand painted re-workings of newspaper headlines and photos. The one that had caught his attention was a picture of him. He looked at himself, painted in the rainbow of colors the artist used to re-create the black and white photo of the newspaper. He was smiling, waiving at the crowd, winking. Good god, he looked arrogant. What in the hell was he thinking, doing that to his friend, and then doing something even worse later. Even after Bo tried to warn him. But he knew the answer. He was thinking of himself.

    Looking at himself, he faced the truth. He really was arrogant. And with that truth, he knew what he needed to do to make things right.

    @blanchardauthor

  8. Ruth says:

    Elecrtic Whispers

    When I read his blog it was like looking at a painting of myself. Seeing me through his eyes, his words.
    I wish I could say that he drew me as a plump, resplendent Rueben’s figure or some mystical Pre-raphaelite beauty but I can’t.
    His words made our life the embodiment of an Edward Hopper picture. Loneliness in the familiar and mundane. Waiting and asking “is this it?” Hoping it isn’t, fearing it is.

    I tried to piece myself together from his description of me, at once a cliche of sexless middle age motherhood but for all I could recognise myself or him in his words I may as well be staring into the dark abyss of Rothko’s colour blocks.

    He has always been one of my favourite painters. The darkness can swallow you whole but at the same time shimmer and hold you in hope.
    I find myself further than ever from my husband after reading his version of our life. Words I was never intended to read, but that he let others, strangers, deliberate and comment over.

    I am reaching in my dark well for the effervescent thread that will pull me out, my bright streak of vermilion that is my heart, alive still, beating still and not yet turned to stone.

    ~~

    @summerlandc
    http://www.ruthdouglaswrites.blogspot.com

  9. Richard Wood says:

    Penelope Price stopped dead in her tracks. The echo of her heels coming to an abrupt halt, much to the relief of the visitors around her.

    Having almost an unlimited source of money and a black hole where her scruples were supposed to sit, makes for an interesting time traveler.

    The plans she had made were all working quite well, thank you very much.

    It was the little things–the unexpected things—that were a direct result of her meddling with the fabric of time/space that always shocked her.

    She stared at her discovery.

    She was meeting her contact with a line into Mussolini’s new government. Penelope was about to close a deal to sell the 20th century dictator microchip technology.

    “It must have been a side journey,” she thought.

    The little Italian weasel of a go-between–Carducci—had insisted on meeting somewhere public.

    Three years ago, she thought. That mistake with the time settings. She though she’d left before anyone noticed.

    But obviously not. She began to laugh.

    The Sistine Chapel in Rome was as public a place as any.

    And there, on the ceiling, was a perfect representation of Penelope…in her 1930’s costume.

    “Michelangelo, you old dog!” she said.

    @rbwood

    http://www.rbwood.com

    BEGIN Shameless plug:

    Listen to “The Word Count” podcast! Find links for the cast on my site or search for it in iTunes!

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  10. Paul Freeman says:

    She walked into the room not knowing what to expect.

    “Why have you brought me here?” she asked.

    He put his finger on her red lips, hushing her, then he took her hand and pulled back the curtain. She gasped.

    “How…how could you?”

    “I’ve always loved you,” he said.

    “No,” she said firmly. “You’ve never loved me. You want to possess me, just like that vase or the rug.”

    “If I want to possess you it is because I love you.”

    She ambled over to the painting, how could he have known I would wear this dress she wondered. It was an incredible likeness of her, she reached out to touch it, to run her finger over the brush strokes. She sensed him move behind her.

    “I will always love you. It will be so much easier this way.”

    “What do you mean?” She asked.

    “We will be together forever.”

    “I don’t understand.” Suddenly she felt dizzy and disorientated, the painting loomed over her. “What’s happening to me?”

    “You’ll see in the end, it will be better this way. Now I can protect you and look upon you whenever I want.”

    She felt her body float. “What’s happening?” Then she screamed as she realised she was being sucked into the painting.

    “I love you,” he mouthed.

  11. Lilith Katz says:

    Taslu held it in her hands, gripping it so tightly that her knuckles were whitening, at first glance one might have seen rage in her face; an extreme anger maybe, but within moments her fingers softened around the frame. In fact, she softened so much that she began to wilt; her lover leaped forward to catch her as she fell, worry and concern written upon his every facial movement and expression.

    She sat, composing herself, but yet relaxed into his safe embrace. It was barely audible, her whispered words to him ‘I… I can’t believe you painted it, I can’t believe you captured that moment, the very moment we met, my face _in_ that moment… you… you see me as so beautiful, my love’.

    His deep but soft voice breathed beside her ear, ‘Because you are beautiful to me, Taslu. Whatever happens next, wherever you must go to ease your pain, you will carry our love with you, I painted this to remind you, to help you conjure the magic from the aether when you need it’.

    Fat tears began to fall down her face, her breathing beginning to stutter as the sobs rose in her chest, ‘thank you, my love, I adore it, as I adore you, it’s beautiful, as are you, as am I and as is our love. I need no painting to remind me of the moment I gazed for the first time upon your magnificent face, it’s etched upon my very soul forevermore, my love’.

    He leaned close; their eyes searching each others faces for clues of what might happen next in their life, their love, but, the answer was not there yet, so, instead they kissed salty, tender then passionate tears full of memory and hope.

    @AlcyoneAlchemy

  12. Jeff Pfaller says:

    The farm was just like I had left it over a month ago, merely a heap of charred wreckage that still stank of smoke and burned meat.

    The memories of my childhood didn’t come as fast as they had the morning after it happened – I barely recognized the stone slab my mother used to set me on while she washed our tunics in the summer sun. I almost walked right by my old bedroom without a second thought, the gouge in the door where Ralf had pushed me into it had burned to ash along with everything else.

    Did my time in Caer Guorthegirn really erase an entire lifetime of memories? Or did they never exist, because I was too busy ingesting potions and hallucinating things that were never real. Even those hallucinations faded soon after they had happened, like a dream you wake up in the middle of.

    My head was filled with nothing. Even to myself, the past seventeen years barely existed.

    I was in my parent’s old room, the corner of the house that looked like it had been spared the most from the Saxon’s razing. A portion of the wall still stood, a false barrier to the elements and forest our farm was nestled among.

    I started going through the rubble, searching for anything that would tell me where my mother had gone. My father had already succumbed to the unforgiving English winter and the starvation that came with it. If only I had helped him save more of the food and livestock instead of taking a trip with the brown fairy. Things might have been different.

    I turned over a blackened piece of wood paneling, and the charcoal crumbled through my fingertips. Underneath, surprisingly untouched by fire or water or snow was a fibulae, engraved with our family crest. A stag looking back at me over his shoulder, and surrounded by floral inlays that were crude in craftsmanship but beautiful to me.

    Underneath that was a rolled up cloth, which I carefully unfurled, not knowing how fragile it was. On it, were two boys, one well into his teen years and the other a handful of years younger. It was Ralf and I, sitting stoic for whoever the artist had been. Both of us gazing at my current self, their expression unwilling to reveal their thoughts.

    I unfurled it the rest of the way, and felt tears forcing their way to my eyes. My throat seized, and all of a sudden it became difficult to breath.

    In the corner, scrawled in ragged ink was “Geoffrey, of Willingdon.” My father’s own hand had crafted this. A hand I thought was incapable of doing anything but striking me down for my failings or working the land relentlessly and joylessly.

    I don’t know how long I sat in their old bedroom and clutched the painting to my chest. But before I knew it, night had fallen and I knew I had to move on. There was no shelter here for me anymore.

    @pfallerj

  13. Tauisha Nicole @shells2003 says:

    Michelle couldn’t stop crying once the door to her hotel room closed. She leaned against the door, hand to her heart, sobs shaking her body uncontrollably.

    How else was she supposed to be? The man she stood up so many years ago…Adrian…Oh, God…

    He was down there. He was the owner of the restaurant her client and best friend, Novia, just had to go to. She couldn’t believe after all this time…

    “So, that’s where he went,” she whispered to herself. “Here’s where he ended up.”

    Michelle sighed as she sank down to the ground.

    Someone started knocking on her door. “Chelle? Honey, what’s wrong?”

    Taking several deep breaths to compose herself, Michelle stood and brushed her nervous hands down her dress. She tried putting on a smile and opened the door. “Novia? What are you doing here? I thought you had to-”

    Novia shook her head, her deep brown locks brushing against her shoulders. “You ran like the restaurant was on fire. What was that all about?”

    Her shoulders slumped as she finally turned and went to her bed. “Oh, Novia. We didn’t know. We didn’t know who the owner of the restaurant was.”

    Novia sat down next to her friend. “Restaurant? Oh, you mean the one we’ve waited so long to eat at? The waiting list on this place!”

    “Sorry to ruin your night, Via. But, if you really want to go eat there-”

    “Not without you, and not before you tell me what’s wrong!”

    Michelle looked into Novia’s concerned brown eyes. “Adrian. Adrian owns that place.”

    Novia placed a shaking hand against her own throat and gasped. “Madre de Dios! You’re kidding me!”

    “How I wish I were,” she turned to look at the folders on her night table. “How I wish I were.”

    She flipped through the pictures in the folder. “Guess Matt got the proofs back. These pictures are amaizing.”

    Novia allowed Michelle to change the subject long enough to peer over her shoulder. “We’ve always told you the camera loves you, Chelle.”

    Chelle nodded and dropped the folder. “But, Adrian…we were in love once. What if he saw me? What if he’s angry? What if he wants me dead?”

    “What if he’s just in love with you than ever, Chelle?” Novia held her friend close and allowed her to cry. “It’s been so long ago. What if he doesn’t remember you? Chelle, you’ve got to pull yourself together!”

    “Easy for you to say,” Michelle muttered.

    “Well, you can’t live your life in fear, Chelle,” she turned her friend to look at her. “But, you can’t have a reunion with red, puffy eyes, either. Why don’t you just rest up, and we’ll get my personal assistant to get us a reservation for tomorrow night.”

    “Impossible.”

    “Hey, if Adrian wants the great Novia to eat at his restaurant, he’ll allow it.”

  14. Oh damn, I LOVE that! I had no idea he was going to find that. Holy crap! Awesome.

    I’m so in love with this NaNoWriMo Edition.

    Have fun? Did this prompt work for you? Learn anything? I hope so. I’m pretty jazzed, myself.

  15. Sarah Olson says:

    Ava stared, unwilling to believe in the magic before her.

    There was her face, thinner and older yes, but still very much the same.

    Her own green eyes sparkled back at her, playful and deviant as if taunting her to doubt her own existence.

    In the painting, her long black hair floated in the breeze, while in reality she shivered in the frigid museum hall. She thread her arms through the sweater that had been wrapped around her waist and began to walk away from the painting, her painting, but it could not be done. She was frozen in place, her body a sculpture of a person who stared at a painting of herself. Does that even make sense? Ava thought not.

    As Ava’s mind swirled with mad thoughts, she dropped to the floor in a heap and sobbed.

    Kai found her there and wrapped his arms around her, holding her as tight.

    “I’ve finally found my mother,” she whispered.

    Kai kissed her forehead, and replied, “She looks just like you. Beautiful.”

    @saraheolson
    Almost missed it this time!

  16. nfgayle says:

    @tadbo

    Emptiness.

    The last of the organic beings had been processed and given Transcendence millenia ago. Uploaded into the galactic net, they had spread out across the cosmos to flit between stars or create new star systems and dabble at being Gods and Goddesses with a myriad of worshipful creations.

    Cold.

    There was nothing out there but piping; billions of miles of electronic piping, wrapping this dead planet, this rock, in its obscene embrace, invisible from orbit beneath the black clouds that themselves encircled the planet. Long since dead, it floated in space a testament to…man, had it been? He could not remember.

    Alone.

    So he went looking, as he always did at times like these, racing through the circuits and speeding down the now empty neural pathways that had once thronged to the new found electronic immortality of the human race. Those had been heady times.

    The realisation that the human body did more than house the consciousness was a blow to the psyche of the race as a whole, integrated as they all were. Their bodies had provided a touchstone for themselves, to each other and the world, that had kept them sane in the face of all the damage they had wreaked upon each other. The loss of this had been catastrophic, to say the least.

    He found it where he had left it; with all the other memorabilia of that time. A painting of himself, lying on the ground, his face to the sky. Well, it could have been him; he was all that was left of the human race now, all that had survived the mass purge the system had undertaken after detecting the growing levels of dementia among its charges. He was sure that there was something of the person in the picture somewhere within him.

    Floating in a non-space that had once been called cyberspace by a race at once young, foolish and full of promise, he regarded the picture with all the curiosity of a human regarding an ant.

  17. Sarah Olson says:

    Crap, did i miss it? Damn this browser! Always crashing…gar!

  18. You should both be fine. I’m OK with 2 min over. It’s hard to get right on with technology sometimes.

  19. Allison Mosier @Slytherin_Pixie says:

    “Huh.” Lina tilted her head to one side, looking at the painting. While she knew it was supposed to be her, long dark hair, olive skin, dark eyes framed by gold glasses, round face, slightly rounded body… it really didn’t look -that- much like her.

    “I think it captured you. The essence,” Theresa commented melodramatically, one hand mockingly to her chest. Lina turned to her cousin skeptically, barely holding back the laughter, and countering with, “Looks kind of angry.”

    “That’s kind of what I meant.” One dark eyebrow raised to the blond next to her, skepticism turning to confusion. “Lina, you kill people for a living. Did you expect them to paint you all happy go lucky?” The mob boss shrugged, and turned away from the painting. Back to business.

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