Another Furious Fiction piece, this one for March. Here’s the prompts:

  • Each story had to include a character who revisits something.
  • Each story had to include the same colour in its first and last sentence.
  • Each story had to include the words CAMP, FAST and SPARK.

I’d forgotten the details of this one, which usually means it came to me in a “flash” and then disappeared just as quickly.

Which, for my money, is a fkn fantastic way to write short stories and may be the most-inspired and direct-from-brain-to-fingers as a story can get.

Of course, for as much as I really, really liked this story and happily shared it with my writing buddies, Robert reluctantly pointed out that I’d missed the prompts!

“Shit,” said I, “They WERE in there, but I had to trim words to get under 500, and in doing so lost the word ‘spark’.”


It’s one thing seeing your childhood irrevocably changed after a flood, the fishing and swimming holes and the camping spots all gone, the blue of the water gone brown, your memories all that are left. It’s another thing entirely to not remember where you buried him, the first one. The worst one.

You fight down the rising panic. After all, it’s not like the flood washed away a metre of topsoil, right?

It’s well after dark, no one’s been down this trail for weeks but you find yourself moving faster than is necessary, reminding yourself to calm down and do this right.

Memories come flooding back. You’d gone to pull him out and had only pulled his shoe off, sending your ass backward into the grass. Putting his shoe back on had been painfully triggering. But you’re here now, and it’s nearly done, all of it. Twelve years and four states later, this is the last one.

You’re more than relieved that digging will be easier this time as the climate-catastrophe-level flood cleared most of the trees. The one before in the desert hills, the first one’s brother, was out there with nothing but red dirt and rocks. Your shirt and hands were redder, he’d given quite a fight even as his life sprayed across the two of you. Digging after that was the worst.

Not easy like the banks of that river basin over east. That one was all easy. You didn’t know him in person, but you could tell that he knew you the second he saw your face. He’d seen plenty, and he took one look at you, closed his eyes, tipped his head back and just took it. Easy ending, easy burial.

This one you drag with the rope, easy as. The hole is easier than the first time too. It all is, especially now that it’s nearly done. Tree branch raked over, shovel pitched into the river, and you were never there.

But you head back up only to find a park ranger’s ute right next to yours. An odd calm settles over you and your weary smile for the ranger is one that means it.

She smiles back. “I thought that was you! What the hell you doing out here?” Her words bubble out. “When did you even get back? How long are you back for? How have you BEEN all these years?”

You don’t even lie. “Good, been good. Just got in. Long drive, but I wanted to see what was still here for myself. You know, unfinished business.”

“Ah yeah, the flood. Yeah… hey, so good to see you! Fancy a beer? My shift’s over in an hour. We can catch up.”

You were never sure, but you thought she might have been like you all those years ago. There was always a connection, of sorts.

“That’d be great.”

You take in the blue of her eyes against the brown of her uniform and smile and mean it, because it would.