CRLC Challenge; Old Photograph

The Carrot Ranch July 1, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about “the old photograph.” What is captivating about it? Where did it come from? How does it incite a story? Go where the prompt leads!

My first draft was 170 words and showed more the mother’s being stuck and the impact of the family dynamics on the mc. I enjoyed the challenge of whittling and hope the 99 words work.

Arrested Development

There was he and his brother, practically twins, astride their motorcycles, grinning widely. Ten years ago. Same old pictures; did any of them smile anymore?

“Will you ever update these photos?”

She ignored the edge in his voice. 

 “Your brother misses you.”

“Right.” But he went to his room.

“Hey, Bro. How about a picture of the two of us?”

The selfie showed his own face fuller but much the same, his hair thinning at the temples. His brother’s skin was tight and shiny, his open eyes vacant and unseeing. The breathing tube showed, the feeding tube did not.

21 thoughts on “CRLC Challenge; Old Photograph

  1. Stunningly evocative, D. A mother’s anguish having effectively ‘lost’ one of her twins and the other twin’s battle with survivor guilt, all wrapped up with the possibility of him having ‘pulled the plug’ on his brother’s pointless existence. For once, I think the 99 word limit has not served you well here; I think there’s a far stronger and longer piece struggling to get out and I’d love to see it if and when you choose to do that. In it’s own way, your story has encouraged me in my first thoughts to go dark with this prompt.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The 99 word limit always serves me well in that it makes me revise and hone. But yes, this one fell out much longer and so chunks of story were cut out. And a bit more than what I had could yet be written in. There’s a dad, gone as silent as the invalid son. Here’s what happens. I get to 99 words and I’m done and end up chasing squirrels or fishing or mowing grass. I’m an incredibly lazy writer. But maybe I will work at finding the longer version of this, but I bet it’s not more than 300 words, maybe only 200. But my final 2-3 hundred words will be better shaped for having stuck to the 99 word limit for this version.
    Dark happens, Doug, go where the prompt leads.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: The Old Photograph « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

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