I primarily consider my self more of a novelist than a short story writer. In writing this story, I have been reminded of a comment made by Jim Butcher on a panel at DragonCon last year. The topic of discussion turned to short stories, at which point writing short stories was likened to having a knife fight in a phone booth. While humorous at the time, it does speak to a particular aspect of writing a short story.
It seems that writing for this contest has been a very interesting experience. It helped me stretch out of my comfort zone a bit.
Some bug or something keeps erasing my first chapter, but it should be getting fixed presently. Voting runs through today.
If you can, I would appreciate if you can read my story, vote for it if you like it, and whether you can vote or not, please let me know what you think of it. I’d love your feedback! The story is at http://www.inkitt.com/stories/19199
PS- I am also posting the first chapter below just in case it doesn’t show up on the site.
The Flame and the Merchant
Chapter One: The Flame in the Night
David ran out of the house, heading toward the edge of the town. It was the third night he had done so in a row. It had been six months since the merchants had last come. But not any merchants. It had only been a couple months since the last merchants came, but the traders he was hoping to see had the most fantastic goods to sell, not in the least the most amazing glass and pottery.
The boy barely had twelve years to him, and he was among the youngest of the children who gathered at the edge of town. The younger children already slept. Some adults had begun to appear as word began to spread through the town. In the distance stood a single flame—the light from the torch that marked the coming of the merchants. While people pressed forward toward the edge of town, no one dared to go beyond that invisible line. The last time anyone had was well before David was born, and no merchants came the following day.
It seems that every so often someone gets too curious… I’m glad I haven’t had to miss seeing them, though, David thought.
He stood watching the distant flame until, from the murmur of voices he heard his name. He looked behind him, and though he could not see his father through the townspeople, David knew his father was at the very back of the crowd. His father never seemed to get too excited about the merchants, though David had heard from some of the adults in the town that that had not always been the case. David had asked, but he’d never quite gotten a straight answer from his father.
David made his way back through the crowd toward where he knew his father would be.
“Come on, son,” Matthew said as he put his arm around the boy’s shoulders and began walking back home. “There will be time enough to see the merchants when they get here, and we both have work we need to do before we go to bed tonight.”
Indeed, there would be one more night that would pass before they arrived. The entire time David was finishing his chores his mind drifted toward what the following night would bring.