Week 20 Flash Fiction Challenge: First Impressions


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Photo by K.S. Brooks

Ski weekend. Sounded like a lot of fun, right? You told them you’d never been on skis in your life.

“It’s easy,” they told you. Easy.

So, you broke your leg. On the beginner’s slope. Your friends told you no one had ever broken a leg on the beginner’s slope before.  That does not make you feel better.

Now the Ski Patrol dude is dragging your sorry butt back down to the lodge on this sled doohickey.

Suddenly, he turns back to look at you, and says. . .

In 250 words or less, tell me a story incorporating the elements in the picture. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until 5:00 PM Pacific Time on Tuesday, May 15th, 2012.

On Wednesday morning, we will open voting to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry accompanying the photo. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.

On Friday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted.

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Photograph by K.S. Brooks, used here with the photographer’s permission. Copying or reproduction of any kind without express consent is prohibited. All rights reserved.

For a more detailed explanation of the contest & its workings, please see the post called “Writing Exercises Return with a Twist” from 12/24/11.

By participating in this exercise the contestants agree to the rules of the contest and waive any and all further considerations or permissions otherwise required for any winning entries to be published by Indies Unlimited as an e-book, showcasing all the photos and with the winning expositions credited appropriately and accordingly.

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9 thoughts on “Week 20 Flash Fiction Challenge: First Impressions”

  1. The Ski Patrol dude was dragging your sorry butt back down to the lodge on this sled doohickey from the beginner’s slope with my possible broken leg, when suddenly, he turns back to look at me, and says. . .

    ”Don’t feel bad, Bud, the guy’s story yesterday was a lot worse than yours. He weighed over 200 pounds and was being towed up on the beginner’s slope via the rope tow when he swerved off of the trail and broke this huge limb off of a pine right next to the rope tow. Not only did he break off that limb but the resulting crash caused him to break two of his own limbs, his arm and his leg and shut the rope tow down.”

    I said, “Well let me tell you I could have had worse results last week. Foolishly I went up on the chair lift with a friend of mine and he told me he would ski down at a point on the side of the run and then ski down to him and stop. I did exactly what he said, but just before reaching him a girl skiing ahead of me came to an abrupt stop and I couldn’t stop fast enough and went over the edge. Snowplowing didn’t help and so I turned back up hill right into a slalom run between two poles. I looked up and saw a skier headed right for me – did an attempted kick turn and fell on my butt.”

  2. "Hi Lizbeth, I'm Paul. Hang tight, it may get a bit bumpy but we should make good time."

    Wonderful, could it get any worse? My head hurt, my leg hurt and I was cold. What was a few bumps?

    The pounding in my head grew louder. Soon I realized the sound wasn't in my head, it was coming from behind us. I sensed Paul struggling to travel faster as he took a sudden turn to the right. He slipped expertly between the snow covered trees and rocks on the un-groomed trail, not slowing at all. All thoughts of the pain in my head and leg were gone as I realized we were trying to outrun an avalanche. Was my first ski trip going to end in a funeral?

    The roaring receded a bit as we continued down the other side of the mountain. I realized Paul's expertise was saving our lives, but what about my friends and everyone at the lodge? Had they survived? Soon I could see the ski lodge from the edge of my vision. Everything looked fine and no one seemed concerned.

    Sitting in the lodge with my friends later that night, I announced that even though I broke my leg, was almost killed by an avalanche, and never planned to ski again, I was glad they had convinced me to come along. Amazed they asked why. "Simple, if I hadn't come I would never have met Paul. We have a date tomorrow!"

  3. “Alright, you can get up now. They’re far enough behind us,” the “ski patrol dude” said, taking off his sunglasses, his green eyes twinkling with amusement.

    “It’s about time,” I muttered, pushing myself up with a leg that my friends had thought broken. True, it had contorted to an unnatural position when I had fallen, but my kind couldn’t be hurt so easily. However, my friends didn’t know that, and I had no intention of telling them. If I had simply gotten up, it would have created way too many questions. It was all my fault for letting my friends take me skiing in the first place. I brushed the snow from my jacket and stepped up beside the “ski patrol dude”.

    “You know, your love of these mortals just gets you in trouble. I just don’t understand why it’s always me getting you out of it.”

    I shrugged. “Maybe because you’re not as uptight as the others,” I responded with a lopsided grin.

    “That, or maybe I’m just an idiot.” He slid his sunglasses over his eyes. “Probably the latter.”

    I laughed, patting him on the back. “You know you like it. I’ll have you out with me one of these days and maybe you’ll have some fun for once.” We started back down the mountain.

    “We’re going to have to get you a cast and crutches aren’t we?” he sighed. “Here, you drag this doohickey. You owe me that at least.”

    Ah, the life of gods.

  4. The ski patrolman turned to me and said, “Almost there buddy…Oh my…”

    His eyes grew very wide and he suddenly turned his skis straight down the slope without further word. Or at least no further audible words as a thunderous roar performed a crescendo into my awareness. I could feel the sled start to vibrate as we sped at a frightening rate of acceleration straight down the run. As I glanced to the right, as best as I could from my reclined position, the surface of the snow seemed to be cracking into large white plates of crust. The widening spaces between these plates of hard packed snow filled and over flowed with sugary powder that seemed to vibrate with the rumbling sound growing ever louder.

    And faster we went! By this time I knew we were in the midst of an avalanche. I was completely helpless. A fact illustrated clearly as I saw the first aide station disappear into a white mountain of snow as we sped past. Suddenly, we were in the trees below the run. Weaving between giant old growth trees in a snow depth now nearing their lower branches. We burst through a line of trees into open air, suspended momentarily in mid air. Then we crashed and came to rest on the roof of an half buried SUV in the lodge parking lot. The patrolman turned back to me and breathlessly asked, “are you okay?”

    The pain in my leg was returning. Thankfully.

  5. Hey, honey, haven’t I seen you before—and not enveloped in any ski pants and down vest?

    You’d be mighty cold out here in that non-outfit today, riding the funicular up the mountain.

    How in hell d’you fall off it?

    We’d get you to the hospital but the road is too snowed in and the bridge over that river way down below got washed out when the pack ice packed itself together and rammed it.

    The St. Bernard will be coming over the slope in a moment with the statutory mini-barrel of rum, and it might remind you of the rum-and-coke we shared, though I guess you were drinking rum in your tea to warm up, the rum that led us from the lodge lounge up the spiraling staircase—

    You won’t make it up any stairs tonight, Doll, so after the village doctor sets that bone sticking up, maybe you’d better spend the night in my room—not as fancy as yours because though we are the ski patrol’s invaluable first responders, we are lodged in that out-building you notice behind the main lodge. Everything is on one floor.

    The St. Bernard at last! Good dog. And I could sure use a swig of rum. After you, Doll, and then let’s make us an igloo right here and finish the barrel–

  6. Man, does my fractured leg hurt. Skiing should be a breeze, on the beginner’s slope. A top athlete like me doesn’t need lessons. To trip over my own skis is the apex of embarrassment, especially in front of Melissa Squires. She’ll be waiting for me at the lodge. Hey, I’ll need some one to nurse me back to health and who better than raven haired, delectable Melissa?

    The buff Ski Patrol dude looks back at me lying on the rescue sled, stops and stares. “Ace, Ace Archer?”

    He disrupts my fantasy. “Yes. Want my autograph?”

    “Tim Brooke, Midfield High. Tiny Timmy, the one you and your jock buddies always bullied.”

    “Sorry about that Tim. Kid stuff, you know.” Memories of throwing fully dressed Tim in the pool, stealing his clothes from his gym locker and humiliating him in front of the girls flashed through my mind. “No foul, no harm.”

    Tim stalks back to sled. He unbuckles the straps, peels off my jacket, sweater and ski pants. In moments, I’m lying on the snow in my Jockeys and boots.

    “Payback.” Tim grinned and walked away dragging the sled.

  7. "…Jumpin' pie-jiggers! What the hell is that?"

    The Ski Patrol guy stopped for a second and I heard a lot of crashing behind me. I couldn't move enough to really look, but I could just see some movement out of the corner of my eye. I heard a roar that made my blood turn cold.

    The man pulling me along turned and started frantically trying to unbuckle the yoke that attached him to my sled. I heard some immense crashing behind us, and he flipped the yoke of the sled over his head. I grabbed the bars and he went over the edge.

    My sled soon followed, this slight slope leading directly to the lodge. I could hear a rhythm of pounding footsteps behind me. The guy was a short distance ahead of me when I heard another roar crescendoing through the trees. He tried to look back and flipped over. My sled moved swiftly past him, and the last I knew of him was a flash of brown fur and a quickly silenced shriek of terror.

    The lodge was about a hundred meters away. A mass came flying through the air from behind me, impacting the weathered logs of the lodge wall. It left a bloody and viscuous trail against the wood as the headless and battered body reddened the virginal snow.

    Skiers started screaming and trying to flee. I had time to see a hairy mass envelope me. There was a moment of excruciating pain and then nothing.

  8. “You're looking better, Mr. Godfrey.”

    I blink away some of the moisture in my eyes, craning my neck to try and get a better look at the man dragging me down the mountain. Seeing the world the wrong way round sends my head swimming, and any better view I might have had is lost in the nausea. My heart starts to race again, they had been very good about treating my shock and I'm starting to curse them for it. As adrenaline rushes back through my system I can feel every pump of blood against my broken bone in agonizing, acute detail.

    “My name is James Lyall.” I try to correct, but I can barely hear my own voice. Despite the cold I can feel my hands and cheeks getting clammy. Another dizzy spell forces me to close my eyes, but it really doesn't help. When I pry my eyelids open again, he's looking back at me.

    “You've gone all grey again. Is it something I said?” He chortles, beaming a grin at me. I might as well not waste my breath… He knows I'm lying. My body jerks against the straps keeping me securely fixed to the sled, testing them, but I know it's pointless. Even if I could get free, where would I go? Whoever he is, he's got me, and he knows it. That question burns at me – who is he?

    “Don't worry, Mr. Godfrey. We've taken good care of your friends.”

  9. Brad screamed as they moved his leg, but finally they got him strapped into the rescue sled. Who breaks a leg on the bunny slope? The damn little kids were still zipping by left and right, just like the one that had cut him off. How could he have let his friends talk him into skiing at his age? He winced as the sled hit a bump. At least the ski patrol was nice. The guy hauling him down the slope now had been particularly pleasant.

    Half way back to the lodge his escort turned to face him. “So, Brad, will that be cash or credit?”

    “What!?”

    “Your ski pass says you didn’t take our ski insurance with your rental/lift package, so we should discuss your options.”

    “Options? What are you talking about?” said Brad. The throbbing in his leg must be effecting his hearing.

    “Do you want our recovery package or do you prefer to pay à la carte?

    “What is this, an airline?”

    “Where do you think we got the idea? Anyway, the recovery package is $500 but if you prefer à la carte, emergency medical response is $100. The ride down the mountain costs $250. Boot removal is $80 and there is an additional $100 fee to retrieve and return all your rental equipment for you.

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