Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mancos Middle School Flash Fiction: Young Writers in Training

The authors: Caleb Yoder, Zack Hunter, and Courtney Firestone

Today, I'm sharing an exciting new post. In March I was fortunate enough to visit our local Middle School classroom in Mancos, Colorado. Ms. Farrar's publications class participated in a "share story" where students in groups of three wrote a portion of a flash fiction story. One wrote the beginning, another picked up the middle, and the third student scribed the resolution.

The winning story was promised to be published here and the authors each received a free copy of my novel, Moonshine Murder.

There were some talented young writers, and choosing the winning story was difficult. I am proud to present the winning story today. Enjoy.

Written by: Caleb Yoder, Zack Hunter, and Courtney Firestone

It was a misty day in the rain forest, and Tancredo was out chopping wood.
WHAP. The axe came down and splintered the log.
WHAP, again Tancredo chopped the wood, but on the third time, the axe slid through his cold fingers, hit the ground and disappeared.

Tancredo, knowing he would get in trouble if he didn’t retrieve the axe, climbed through the whole left by the axe. He got his footing and began to scale the wall. He was startled by a loud thud at the bottom of the pit. Tancredo thought to himself, that was the axe. How was he to climb that far?

He thought it over then climbed out. His father had ropes in the shed he could use to repel to the bottom. Tancredo tied the rope to his waist, and the other side to a tree, and began to lower himself down the pit.

Tancredo was weary as he lowered himself and surprised at how far he had gone down without touching the bottom. He had to repeatedly untie the ropes, lowering himself down more each time. When he finally did reach the bottom he could just barely touch the bottom with his feet.

Tancredo started to feel around the dark, deep hole. He tripped over something hard, but before he could pick it up, he heard a soft crunch. Tancredo knew that sound, but couldn’t remember from where. He felt what he stepped on and recognized the paper soft crackle in his hands. It was a snake skin, shed off the body, and it was big.

Tancredo heard the snake slither and covered his mouth. He couldn’t move, stuck by fear and the memory of a snake biting his brother. He tried to climb up the slope but couldn’t find a good place to grip.

At last he knew what to do. He had to face his fears. It was the only way. He grabbed the axe and chopped off the snake’s head.
As he climbed up the slope all the way to the surface, he knew that he no longer feared the snake.


  1. What a fun story, and what a great "gig" for you! So exciting to be around young, enthusiastic writers. Thanks for sharing.

  2. What fun! And what a great way to engage students during a school visit.

  3. Thanks, Nancy. I had a great time with the students. Made me miss my teaching days.

  4. Those middle-schoolers must have loved you, Erin! Great selection for the winning story, too. I bet those three will continue writing....

  5. Thanks, Susan. There were many talented writers. I was impressed!

  6. That's pretty neat. I love the idea (wish I'd have thought of it) and love the story. I did a facetime with some kids in their classroom yesterday. Great interaction though separated by two hundred miles.

  7. Awesome little story. Very suspenseful, had me at the edge of my seat. Great job guys!