At a Snap – Friday Fictioneers

...slipping away!
…slipping away!

At a snap, consciousness nibbles away from my soul like a rat at a pie. A flurry of events whistle across the hollows of memory. Here come the songs, in basses and choruses; the colours, in greys and duotones and the people in masks and stilettos, as I breathe my last.


This is an experiment with a fifty-word fiction. How do you think I fared? Is the story compact enough? I will like to know what you think.

This is a contribution to the household of fictioneers. A brotherhood that I’ve missed so much.

38 thoughts on “At a Snap – Friday Fictioneers”

  1. Beat poetry in half-time — your words are wonderful, darling. I especially like the “people in masks and stilettos” — it’s ambiguous and intriguing.

  2. I think you did quite well and the words carry a movement that echoes the image
    I just read that Hemingway wrote a short in 6 words (I guess the first true flash fictioneer)

  3. I like it but I’m not excited about the first sentence. “At a snap, consciousness nibbles away from my soul like a rat at a pie.” At a snap of what? It seems that consciousness would either nibble away at your soul or, if consciousness is leaving (which it appears to be), it wouldn’t nibble. It might edge away from your soul, slip away from it, or something similar. But that makes the rat at a pie comparison not work and I’m not thrilled with the rat and the pie anyway. Does that seem clear?

    But I like the transitory feeling of the rest of it, which fits in well with the prompt.


    1. The MC was hit by a the moving bus, I think. “The Snap” was originally written as “Hit” and “…the nibble from soul” was initially “truth nibbles at the soul”.
      What I am trying to capture is the reality of people knowing the truth at death.
      Maybe, I should have stayed with the first draft of the story then.
      Thank you I appreciate your frankness! 🙂

      1. Hmmm, maybe then something like “At the moment of impact, truth begins to nibble (or “gnaw”?) at my soul.” “At the moment of impact, truth begins to permeate my soul.”
        “Truth nibbles at the soul” sounds good but I just don’t like the rat analogy. But I do liek the rest of it.

  4. I’m going to vote for “At the moment of impact, truth gnaws at my soul…” Like the idea of making that initial event big. Loved the poetry of the rest of it. Good work!

  5. I loved the effortless flow of your words. It is an intriguing read indeed.
    Still, I do not get the meaning/the reason of usage of the word nibble in the first line.. may be I would have to think more about it; thence coming up with the picture you have created here. 🙂

  6. Hi Charles,

    Beat poetry indeed! The “people in masks and stillettos” line is great, but I too found the first sentence a bit of a high threshold to get over. Several of the words seemed … petty, in context.

    – I feel “snap” is the sound of a taut thread breaking, not a car crash.
    – “Nibble” – cute anthropomorphic animals nibble, gnaw is definitely better.
    – I also question “nibbles away from my soul”, surely that should be “nibbles away at my soul”? Otherwise you want to write something like “nibbles away pieces from my soul”.
    – The rat I had no problems with, but if you have a more rat-like word – like gnaw – you wouldn’t have to specify the animal.

    The rest of the passage works very well indeed and I’m impressed at what you got into just 50 words.

    Looking forward to reading more,

  7. Dear Charles,

    Happy to have you back among us. Your piece is not only poetic, but disturbing. I mean this in a good way. You’ve captured the end of life’s fleeting moment.



  8. I really liked this, Charles. One of the things I considered when I first saw the photo was life’s events flashing before your eyes at the point of death. You captured that well.

  9. This is very powerful, and you did it in far less than 100 words. An extraordinary achievement. Give yourself s pat on the back for me.

  10. Excellent piece of writing, powerful and mesmeric.
    AnElephantCant help feeling that one or two comments are rather over-critical of a wonderfully enchanting experimental piece.
    Stick to your guns, and your own words.

  11. Dear Charles,

    Showing us all how to do it with half the words. Very cool. Thesupercargo’s critique was spot on and thorough. Your story gnaws at me still.



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