99 Word Flash Fiction: Something worse than death.

This week Charli has given us a prompt where we show fear and a fate worse than death. She says  October 1, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) show a character confronting something worse than death. It can be a universal fear or something unique to the character. What does this fear reveal about motive? Does it color the tone, deepen the plot or add to absurdity? Go ahead, poke a pencil at fear this week.

Fear is something I have been thinking of this week. I joined toastmasters just over a year ago in order to overcome my fear of speaking in public. They say that public speaking is the top fear and most people would prefer to be laying in the coffin than giving the eulogy. If I was ever going to sell my book Nightmare in Paradise I would  have to sell myself and that means talking to groups of people. If I couldn’t string two words together who would believe I could write a book.  At toastmasters last week I spoke about fear using fear as an acronym. It could be a negative emotion meaning False Evidence Appearing Real which is exactly what fear is.  However, you can turn this into a positive of Feeling Excited and Ready. I have decided that this is my new approach to fear. Never again will I let my fears (of which I don’t have many) take over my life.

Famous last words. I will still get scared in cars taking corners and if combined with sheer valleys on either side of the road I expect I will still become hysterical.

The world tumbled as the glass broke and metal twisted. Over and over it turned. My body thrown forwards then backwards. Finally the sound of the ginding metal stopped. Silence. Silence as total as the pain was immense. I tried to move. I had to get out. I had to get out but I couldn’t move.

I could hear sounds now. Voices. Rescuing sounds. Sounds of sirens. Chopper blades. They bundled me, protected me, collared me, carried me, whispered reassurances to me. I didn’t care. I wished that I was dead. Alive from the head up was something worse than death.

When it comes to public speaking however and other little challenges I am going to approach them head on, feeling excited and ready.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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16 Responses to 99 Word Flash Fiction: Something worse than death.

  1. bkpyett says:

    You expressed the accident very sussinctly, I could almost feel the pain. Public speaking is nothing in comparison. 🙂

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  2. Good, good 99 words. With regard to public speaking, I was sooo nervous when I first started giving lectures to students. I discovered that rehearsing the lectures over and over helped a lot, which is why I wrote all my lectures out. It got easier over the years, but there is always a little nervousness beforehand – and that is a GOOD thing. It’s the same with acting. That nervousness gives you a little energy and bounce. i think you were incredibly wise to work with Toastmasters to overcome your nervousness so as to be ready for getting your book out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Annecdotist says:

    Good for you joining Toastmasters to tackle your fear. I’ve done a fair amount of public speaking but it still makes me nervous I always need my notes. It’s really strange how standing up in front of other people talking about what we know about can feel so scary.
    But not as scary as being alive from the head up as portrayed in your great flash.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hahaha! “…most people would prefer to be laying in the coffin than giving the eulogy.” 😀 Yes, public speaking is a huge fear of a lot of people. Ironically, I have that fear but standing in front of a class teaching didn’t bother me.

    Great flash. That last line had me breaking out in a cold sweat. I didn’t see that coming. I thought she couldn’t move from fear. That is horrible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the secret to public speaking is to know your subject and with the children you were teaching I imagine you knew your subject well. Me, I’m in awe — I’m petrified of children past the age of eight and probably start to feel comfortable again when they are about 26.
      Thanks for finding my flash great but horrible Sarah. It tells me I succeeded.

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  5. TanGental says:

    Oh I buy into that fear! Having spent so much of my life luxuriating in movement the idea it would be taken away is awful. I shall go, put on something with a beat and force the Textiliste to cha cha cha…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that is where the story may have originated. I spent the afternoon dancing. Such fun but I came home my twisted toes burning, the knees grating and the pain in the hip giving me gip. How many more years will I have before movement becomes impossible ….. FEAR….finally a response for Charli’s prompt. Hope that cha cha cha brightened your day.

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      • TanGental says:

        It always brings a smile. We’ve just added a drunken sailor to our routine which is sooooo much fun! Odd you mention hips. If I do more than a couple of minutes waltzing i cramp in my left hip. No other dance brings it on. Weird. And yes, the idea your body might let you down. Grim!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Sherri says:

    ‘..feeling excited and ready..’ .I love that! Toastmasters has been great for you by the sounds of it Irene and that is truly the way to meet fear: head on with that very same excitement. Bring it on! Yet… you really capture your fear of narrow, winding roads (I remember you mentioning that when I described that winding road we took in Crete above the valley) and your thoughts of as they transferred into your wonderful (albeit shocking) flash. Great stuff 🙂

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  7. Charli Mills says:

    You nailed the flash! Every word was like a hammer driving home the awful fate from the grinding metal to the recognition that only the head up was alive. As to public speaking, it’s a gift for me and I’m comfortable and even have fun doing it…but I’m a dork speaking in small groups–parties and social events make me so nervous. Weird, huh? I had a boss who would rather be buried alive than have to speak but I really admired her tenacity and courage to speak when she had to. Just like you tackling the challenge with Toastmasters. Great acronym: Feeling Excited and Ready!

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    • Thanks re the flash. I’ve never been in a car accident so this was total fiction but I even felt it coming alive as I wrote it. Perhaps I’ll turn to fiction writing one of these days.
      You are lucky with the speaking. I suffer on both counts public and private speaking but TM has actually helped with both.
      I am looking forward with FEAR to your next prompt.

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  8. Pingback: Facing Fear « Carrot Ranch Communications

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