Flash-Fiction Challenges – Story 1

While listening to the Writing Excuses podcast one day, Mary Robinette Kowal got me fired up by talking about how when she goes to conventions, she brings a typewriter with her and invites people to give her three elements: A character, an object, and a genre. She then bangs out a 250 word story incorporating their chosen elements.

The joyful excitement I felt as I listened prompted me to reach out to a few people on my work team and invite them to give me three elements and I would, in turn, give them a 250 word story.

With their permission, I’m sharing them in the next several posts.

Requested by: Scot C.

Elements I was given:

  • Character: A 5 year old girl
  • Object: a broken porcelain doll
  • Genre: Science Fiction

The soldier planted a hand on the lower edge of the window cutout in a deserted dwelling and vaulted through. Immediately dropping and hurling his back to the stone of the wall, he tried to get his breathing under control. His rebreather wouldn’t last much longer if he didn’t get it under control, and in the caustic, oxygen-rich atmosphere of the backwater planet, he would be as good as dead without it the life-giving xenon that his respiratory organs could process.

He chanced to lean up slightly and peer over the edge of the windowsill. As he did, movement in the room caught his eye. His weapon snapped up, tracking to the source of the motion without conscious thought.

The child squeaked in terror and froze, her hand closing around the arm of a smaller version of herself, its face split by spider-webbing cracks.

The soldier shuddered in disgust as he took in the sight of the child. Underneath the grime, its flesh was soft and pinkish, its round-pupiled eyes were a disturbing blue similar to the world’s daytime sky when the cloud-cover broke. And then there was the hair. Imagine cultivating dead pieces of your body, fawning over it as their females did. Repulsive.

One human less to take up arms against his people later, he decided, and charged his weapon to end the child. The impact of the shot that ended him rocked him back as the man stepped into view behind the child, pulling her away from.


If you, too, would like to participate, let me know! You can comment with suggestions on this post, on my Facebook page, or on Twitter. You can also ask me to challenge you and I’ll throw out 3 elements for you as well.


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