Flash Fiction: The Gem

I’m participating in a different kind of flash fiction this week – the super short kind. This is the prompt, offered by Charli over at Carrot Ranch.

In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that is told around a campfire. It can be a bonfire, burning trash can, a fire pit, something flaming outdoors. It can be a prop, and you can tell the story of anything — ghosts, ancients, jokes. Who is gathered and listening?

Here goes!

The Gem


I gaze over the flames, at the young faces offering their attention. “You see, the treasure the boys found wasn’t just valuable. It was enchanted.”

“Enchanted?” My granddaughter scowls. “How?”

“Well,” I lean forward, “anyone who held a piece of it experienced something strange – they could absorb someone else’s life force. Their youth.”

“Heh.” Jackson huffs. “Nice story, Grandpa.”

The teen stands and heads for the tent, followed by his sisters.

I reach into my pocket, running my fingers over the ancient gem. Then, I touch my weathered face.

It won’t be weathered much longer. I’ve waited long enough.

20 thoughts on “Flash Fiction: The Gem

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  4. First of all, you are effing dark!

    Second, why are you always a man in these stories? I start out reading just knowing you’re a man.

    Third, I bow to your superior storytelling skills as you demonstrate a terrific story with just 99 words, no more, no less, and do it in a very compelling way. IN 99 words. That, my friend, is talent.

    Almost makes me wanna take up hosting contests again.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, I offer critique here on WP so as to combat the usual generalised comments.

    I like your story, and it has a nice twist. Your dialogue is believable, which is important in a story with fantastical elements.

    For such a small story it was hard to find anything to critique. The only thing that bothered me was the grandad referring to his own face as “weathered.” It actually seemed like the most unbelievable thing in your story. It just came across as a bit out of character and awkward. Even “wrinkled” would’ve been more fitting.

    Anyway good stuff. I like a micro story 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I disagree with Harry’s weathered comment. That’s the motivation. Having seen a few weathered faces in my day, I can tell you some are soft and some are not. To be able to actually feel the weatheredness – that’s a rough face. That’s age and psoriasis and more. So rough you can feel it, not a rich old lady who got too much Florida sun and uses lotion, but an old man who worked a ranch in bleak Montana winters for 50 years. I’ve seen those faces. I’ve felt those hands. Sandpaper is soft by comparison.

      And Harry has a good word for that kind of story: microstory. Love that, Harry! Good job!

      I was unaware such things existed.



      Liked by 2 people

      • I get your point about “weathered.” I agree completely. The word has a thousand meanings. What I was trying to get at was the narrative dissonance. I just couldn’t picture the old man referring to his own face as “weathered.” That’s all I was getting at. Maybe the “weathered” comment was not intended as a free and direct discourse from the old man himself, and instead comes from the omnipotent narrator. If that’s the case then I suppose it’s okay. Still threw me off though.

        And yeah, microstory! They’re awesome, fun and easy to read.

        Liked by 2 people

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