Old Story, New Contest

Old story:

Back in June, I took part in the Midnight Road short fiction contest, hosted by Jason. Part of the contest is the learning that comes with it. So here’s my entry, in a modified version. I incorporated some of the suggestions Jason gave me in his feedback. Do let me know how you like it. Thanks, Jason.

The Eyewitness

“You know, you should just quit it.” Her words stiffened his limbs every evening, as he lumbered his way back home. They had arrived in the neighborhood just last month, and while everything else seemed okay, the dark stretch vexed her as much as it paralyzed him.

If only he had the luxury of not pursuing the part-time MBA classes after work every evening.

Difficult to admit though it was, he hated the fact that it was the only route back home from college. It was a weird road; he didn’t doubt that. No matter how many times the municipality fixed the street light, it would stop functioning.

It’s always midnight here.

“Silly girl, always thinking the worst. I am not the only one who walks on that road,” he would tell her.

Faking reassurance. Easy. Plodding through that dark track every evening. Creepy. In the back of his mind, snapshots lurked—of pickpockets ruffling his trousers’ back pocket…

A .410 handgun did it in the end. It was Diwali eve, and he bought her favorite sweets. As he wound his way through the dark road, humming a song, three gun shots twisted his gait into a red rivulet. Unarmed civilians were the best targets to drive home the demand for a separate state.

His cell phone, lying unclaimed with his corpse, beeped twice. There was just one eyewitness—a live, mute electric pole.

It was midnight when the police contacted her to identify the body.

[The End]

New Contest: Lonely Moon Short Fiction Contest


If the story left you a bit glum, here’s something to cheer you up. Our gracious host, Jason Evans, is hosting yet another short fiction contest. Using the picture you see, write a story of 250 words or less. The deadline is August 29, 11 pm, EST. The details are here. Jason’s contests keep getting better each time. This time, it takes a big leap with bestselling author, Anne Frasier, joining the event. Anne’s new book, Pale Immortal, is going to be launched on September 5. And no less exciting is the fact that the winners of the Lonely Moon contest will get autographed copies of Pale Immortal as prizes.

What are we waiting for then? Let’s get busy, writing!

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15 thoughts on “Old Story, New Contest

  1. Bhaswati, this is attractive, simple, good writing (The Witness). Well told in short story format, while choice words established the poignancy, the end weighing down the reader just right. And well, these fiction contests ARE tempting! 🙂 Cheers.

  2. I really enjoyed this entry. A shocker in so few words. It did left me glum. Really well written.I’m also excited about the new contest. And having Anne Frasier on board, that’s really cool. I read her debut novel (Hush) and I loved it.

  3. Hi Bhas, I enjoyed reading your fiction (above) very much. It was tight, crisp and not once without keeping the reader gripped.All the very best of luck with your current entry.Looks like Jason is indeed makig a name for himself. Well done all round!

  4. Nicely done Bhaswati. I liked your original version too, which I remember very well. I’m pulled into the world of political struggle with a single line towards the end, just as I was in the first version.I’m also excited about the new contest.

  5. Reposted your revised version was a great idea. Having everyone let you know how the improvements affected them could be very beneficial. I have to thank Susan for turning me on to your blog. Hopefully I can find the inspiration I need from the photo so that I can enter the competition as well. Happy writing to you.

  6. Thanks, Scott. Always good to know if a story works with readers. And when a good writer like you says it does, the effort becomes worthwhile. Brandon, welcome to my blog. Many thanks to Susan for pointing you to this humble corner. Thank you, too, for linking to my blog. I am linking to yours too. Great stuff there. I sure hope to see you in the contest. Good luck!

  7. Hello Bhaswati.I found your blog via Susan too. She’s doing a good job of pointing us all to other great blogs.This story, which is so short, grabbed my attention immediately. I really admire a writer who can do that with so little text. It takes real skill to do that.I look forward to reading more of your work over the coming days.

  8. Hi Amin. Welcome to my blog. I am really thankful to Susan for bringing me such wonderful visitors (and no, I don’t say that because you said kind words about my story, :P). Visited your blog. It’s great! Am adding it right now. Thanks for adding mine :)Scott, many thanks, friend. 🙂

  9. Frankly, I found the end disappointing. This line is the culprit:>Unarmed civilians were the best targets to drive home the demand for a separate state. This makes the writer pass a judgement on the crime. Instead, it would have been better to end with a hint so that the reader discovers the irony, rather than being told point blank. It could have been replaced with something like the perpetrators having left a political pamphlet or a slogan on the electric pole with their demand or etc. This would also have provided the perspective of the people who committed the murder, however unreasonable that perspective might be.

  10. Frankly, I found the end disappointing. This line is the culprit: “Unarmed civilians were the best targets to drive home the demand for a separate state.” Just goes to show I am still new in this game, doesn’t it? (Not trying to justify shoddy writing. I really am a novice as far as writing fiction goes.)Honestly, there couldn’t be a better criticism of this story. That line irked me, not because it was the writer’s judgment creeping in (which of course, can be rather irritating), but because it took away from the overall spirit of the story, and suddenly brought in some “agenda” from somewhere. In retrospect, the judgment perhaps sneaked in because I was actually an eyewitness of the terrorist attack that forms the basis of this story. However, I can’t agree more with what you say, Bhupinder. Many thanks for posting the comment and for making a fantastic suggestion. That works! And yes, I am going to apply it to further improve the story.

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