Thursday, July 2, 2015

Running a Fever (Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge)

The writer pursuing the craft is as solitary as a lone runner in the desert. Like that runner, leaving others behind to seek his own connection to the world, he may achieve a blissful union with reality, or stumble and fall painfully.

And being solitary, the writer must self-rescue or perish; there is no one else with him on this journey through pain to enlightenment.

There are minor problems every runner must endure, whether solitary or in a crowded field: heat or cold, shoe-stones and sock-rumples, rashes and barking canines. Every writer has minor problems as well, but the writer is solitary even when surrounded by others pacing him; his field is populated only by those he creates and animates.

So when Charli Mills threw down the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge today, I knew I must respond, even though I am working on a Camp NaNoWriMo project this month:

July 1, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes the phrase, “Man, it’s a hot one.” You can choose a gender neutral replacement for the slang, “man” or any other general address. The phrase can lead, end or show up in the middle of the story. If the prompt leads you to a creative idea to alter the phrase, do it! And stay cool this week!

This diversion is my draught of cold water after my writerly "running in the desert for hours" this morning.

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Running a Fever 

Cooking in my skin, I stare helpless at a sun just inches overhead. 

Earlier this morning, the air in camp still held night-coolness. I called to anyone in earshot, "I'm just going for a short run!" Dry dirt under my trainers, I took off at a steady pace.

Muscles warmed, and the air—man, it's going to be a hot one! Insects buzzed around me in the desert morning. A road-runner across the pan challenged me to race, and I was winning! Until my heel rolled. 

It's been hours now. I lie broken, just praying someone heard me leave camp.