Short Fiction Challenge

Here’s the deal. Today’s blog post is a short fiction challenge!



So, here’s what I did. I picked up a book at random, flicked to a page at random, and read the first line that my eye fell on. Then, I gave myself 500 words to do something with that line – I wanted to take it somewhere different to its source material (hopefully) and try to spark something new off in my brain. I deliberately chose a book I hadn’t already read, so that the story of the book couldn’t influence my use of the line. In the interests of full disclosure, though, here are the details of the book I chose: the line was ‘Right in front of my eyes, the mess on the floor disappeared’, and it was taken from p. 91 of my edition of Theodore Sturgeon’s ‘More than Human’.

Without further ado, here’s the short piece I wrote, inspired by that line – let me know what you think!


Right in front of my eyes, the mess on the floor disappeared. I’d barely had time to register that it was blood – a lot of blood – before it just vanished in front of my eyes. What the hell? I stopped in my tracks, just inside the door.

‘Um,’ muttered Jason. ‘You’re early.’ He heaved a sigh. ‘I’m not quite ready.’ I didn’t know what he meant, and I blinked at the floor once or twice, hoping it would help. Underneath my feet was smooth, and gleamed like wet linoleum – or, least, that’s what it looked like right now. Unless I was going crazy, it had just been covered in a vast puddle of gore.

‘But…’ I managed. ‘The blood!‘ Jason couldn’t look me in the eye. I watched as his face began to turn blotchy, and his neck started to look like he’d been in contact with a stinging nettle.

‘It came from a butcher’s…’ he began.

‘You nutter,’ I interrupted. ‘I don’t mean where you got it. I mean, what the hell just happened to it?’

‘Maybe I was wrong to show you,’ he murmured. ‘I thought you’d be cooler than this.’ I ignored while I struggled to process what I’d just seen. It had to be one of his crazy schemes again. Why had he involved me? After the last time…

‘Just – wait!’ I began, thinking slowly. ‘It’s one of your inventions, right? Some sort of…’ I waved my hand at the floor, ‘thing, for want of a better word, that can – what? Absorb blood?’ I stopped talking, feeling an acid taste in my mouth. ‘Huge quantities of blood? What for?’ Jason looked at me, finally, a spark of hope in his eyes.

‘Not just absorb – transport!‘ he said, smiling like a loon. ‘And not just blood – organs, clothes – maybe even people!’ I gaped at him, uncaring that I probably resembled a red-haired, short-sighted puffer fish.

‘Transport?’ I echoed. ‘T…transport? Like, teleportation?’ Jason nodded as I spoke, his grin growing more manic.

‘It’s absorbed here,’ he semi-explained, ‘and should reappear wherever else I’ve placed another section of this flooring.’ He tapped the ground with his boot. I noticed, distractedly, that he stood on a solid concrete surface; the shiny flooring was all around me, not quite reaching the corner where Jason stood. ‘All we need is a small electrical charge,’ he continued, taking something out of his pocket, ‘and we’re good to go.’

‘Wait – we’re what? Who’s going where?’ I asked, feeling the bile rise in my throat. I realised, too late, why Jason had called me, and I didn’t have time to protest before he’d flicked some sort of switch on the object in his hand. A mind-cracking jolt grabbed me, followed quickly by what felt like taking a bath in molten plastic. I couldn’t breathe to scream.

‘Damn it. Same result. I’m going to need another volunteer,’ I heard Jason sigh, just as I was sucked into the floor.


4 thoughts on “Short Fiction Challenge

  1. stationstation202

    Great story SJ O’Hart, I love the darkness in this piece, especially the pitch black humour in the last line. I’d love to know more about Jason; why don’t you give this piece about 2000 extra words and make a horror/sci-fi short story out of it!? I challenge you!

    1. SJ O'Hart Post author

      Interesting! I’ll have to consider that… though, sometimes, I think stories work best if they’re constrained. Writing to a particular word limit can be very conducive to creativity. I wouldn’t want to give Jason too much breathing room, and destroy the character altogether. But maybe I will let him out a bit more and see what becomes of him! 🙂

      Why don’t you take up the challenge? Grab a book, grab a random page, take a random phrase and 500 words, and see where they bring you?

      Thanks for commenting! Great to see you here. 😀

  2. Rand Howard

    Awesome piece! It didn’t go the way I thought it would and I loved the twist. To me, it could be a dream/nightmare scene in a larger story. Your right, I think Jason is one of those characters that would pop up every once in a while to do what he just did, antagonize your main character.
    I want to get back to writing so bad now that the holiday blahs have passed but, currently, I am dealing with some sticky family issues. Hopefully, I can get things stable today so over the weekend I could do your challenge.

    1. SJ O'Hart Post author

      Hey, Rand! Glad you liked it. Looking forward to seeing what you make of the challenge, once you get yourself sorted out. I really found it useful.

      Have a great weekend! 🙂


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