Friday, September 9, 2011

Flash Fiction - First Campaigner Challenge

So ... Rachael Harrie has issued the first challenge of the current campaign:

Write a story in 200 words or less. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open.” If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!

Now, even though I am sometimes a procrastinator (the deadline is today!) ... I am always up to a challenge! HA.

Here ya go - - - exactly 200 words and using the opening and closing words listed above:


Shem and the Unicorns
Margo Kelly

The door swung open and clunked against the wall. Shem poked his head inside. Did the noise alert his father? Only two cows seemed to notice. They chewed their cud, keeping their eyes on Shem. He darted back out and ran to the tree where he’d tied the unicorns. Warm air puffed from the colt’s nostrils as he pulled against the reins, but the filly smiled, revealing her bulky teeth.

Shem tugged them toward the door, and their hooves clacked against the wooden ramp.

“What are you doing?”

Shem backed into the unicorns.

“Answer me, son.”

“Well … we should bring the unicorns. They’re rare. Beautiful.”

“No, son, they are filthy and deceptive.”

“But you were told to bring two of every kind.”

The colt neighed and stepped toward Shem’s father.

“Not those illusory creatures. They’ll devour the food and kill the other animals.”

Shem hung his head. His father took the reins and pulled the unicorns away from the ark. Shem followed as his father slipped the ropes from the animals and slapped them on the behinds. Shem walked back to the ark with his father; then hefted the door away from the wall, and the door swung shut.


If you like the story, be sure to CLICK HERE AND VOTE by "liking" my link ... but you'll have to scroll down FAR to find mine (because I'm a procrastinator). My link should be around number 366 or so. (yikes!)


  1. Really liked this, Margo! Excellent story, and I love the imagination it required. Nice job.

  2. Oh Margo that was wonderful. I loved it.

  3. What a great concept. Definitely not what I expected when I saw the picture, but such an imaginative and well written explanation of what might have happened to them. I wonder what makes them such filthy creatures, especially considering some of the other things his father let on the ark. ;)

  4. I liked this a lot, especially that you were able to end it (mine's a bit of a cliffhanger, but I guess that's what you get in 200 words.) Go team!

  5. I have to say, I feel sad for the unicorns!

    Great piece.

    My entry is #367.

  6. Is that true that unicorns are deceptive? I never knew that. Nice job. Mine is #72

  7. Pretty cool, using a biblical tale and some magical creatures thrown in.

  8. Hi Margo! What a fantastic twist! - it made me laugh and gasp when I realized this was Noah of The Ark fame and his son! No wonder we don't have unicorns! - too bad Shem couldn't have convinced his father, such a shame. Ah well, maybe it's better this way, unicorns are so fascinating as the stuff of legends. (I ALWAYS knew unicorns were real.) I love this!

    I'm a fellow campaigner - I'm not in your groups, but I wanted the fun of getting to know more writers. It's so great to meet you! I really laughed when I read your list of rules on your sidebar for agents seeking you to be their writer! So funny!

  9. Margo, I liked the twist. It made me remember a song from childhood about the unicorns missing the ark because they were too busy playing.

  10. So that's what happened to them! Loved it!!

  11. Wow! What a great idea! Love you imagining the unicorns as deceptive and dangerous (the opposite of how I would have imagined them!) Great piece!

  12. I'm impressed with anyone who can write on demand like this. I completely draw a blank. Good job!

  13. Ha! So that's why there are no unicorns in the world. I wonder if the same thing happened to dragons? Loved this entry a lot!

    Great job, Margo! :)

  14. I enjoyed your piece! So that's what happened to the unicorns...

    Mine is #291:

  15. Unicorns! Illusory creatures with bulky teeth and killer tendencies - I like this unsual take on unicorns and I loved how you set up with Shem trying to sneak them on the Ark. I'm your first-cut judge and this story is off to the next rounds!

  16. Thanks everyone! AND YAY! Thanks Margo Berendsen for sending the story to the next round! :)

  17. The beautiful picture that goes with this becomes really sad after reading the story. I was so confused at first because I couldn't figure out why the cows were inside, but then it all snapped wonderfully into place. Nice work!

  18. Hello Margo. My name is Amy Jarecki and I'm visiting your blog to inform you that your story has been short listed as one of the top two (out of 384 total entries), and you will advance to the semi finals!

    Let me be the first to congratulate you!!


  19. Hi Margo! Love your unicorn story, so creative. Especially loved the imagery I got from "bulky teeth."

  20. Very unique and creative story. I enjoyed it very much. Congratulations for advancing to the semi-funals.

  21. Congratulations for getting into the semi-finals Margo, great story, I love unicorns.

  22. I love unicorns, too! They're so beautiful and mysterious. Unique concept intertwining with the biblical...