Here is another [very] short story I wrote for my writing class. Again, I’d love any feedback or constructive (or destructive) criticism. I also want to keep designing more, so I’ve decided to design an image to go with each short story I post. Hopefully it will add to, rather than subtract from, the stories.
Jay finally caught up with the wolf as the dense forest opened up into a clearing around a small pond. Lobo, the largest of the three wolves in Jay’s care, planted his massive forelegs at the edge of the muddy water and raised his head, turning slightly to make eye contact with Jay. This was the first time the wolf had acknowledged his stalker, and he held the gaze for such a long time that each of them was hesitant to break it off first.
Jay took the first step and edged his way towards the water, attempting to close the gap between them slowly so the wolf didn’t startle and bolt. The sun was beginning to dip below the tops of the trees, casting long shadows over the pond, but there was still a sliver of light that ignited Lobo’s eyes and made Jay hesitate for a second. There was nothing between the two of them but the glasslike water; nothing to hide his approach or obscure the brilliant glint in those eyes.
The wolf mirrored his every move and managed to stay just on the other side of the water and out of the reach of the long noose. His charcoal colored fur made him stand out against the lighter, dying grass, but as many times as Jay changed directions, gave a false start, or made an all out sprint for it, the wolf continued to maintain the same distance from his pursuer as if the two were really partners in some elaborate dance.
With his energy – and daylight – running out, Jay was willing to do just about anything to get the wolf back. Jill had been pestering him for months to consider her Jesus, but even as cute as she was he had avoided that topic, thinking she would eventually date him like he was right now – with or without God. Only now God seemed to be his only hope, and he found himself striking a deal with God for the wolf instead of the girl.
The wolf kept moving despite Jay’s prayer, but just as he was about to wander off into the forest a mesquite tree caught his tail, its branches twisting tight around the wolf’s fur like boney fingers. He struggled violently to break free, but the tree wouldn’t let go, and its firm grasp gave Jay just enough time to get his noose around the wolf’s neck and secure it. Jay wiped off the beads of sweat that had accumulated on his forehead and sat on the grass for a few minutes to catch his breath.
As Jay stood up to begin walking back to the pen, the wolf jerked his head suddenly and the noose snapped right above the loophole and hung loosely around the wolf’s neck as he darted off into the night.
This was my first writing assignment – and we were supposed to re-tell a family story that we heard growing up. For those who know my dad, this is a true story of his chasing a wolf during college, which ironically was instrumental in him becoming a Christian. Obviously, I’ve added some creative fictional elements to the story. The challenge for this assignment was to let the details speak for themselves as much as possible, instead of saying what our characters thought. In my first draft, I had several lines of my dad thinking things, and my professor challenged me to remove them and see if the details of the story could pull the same weight. I’ve worked on it a lot since then and still feel like I might be putting too much narration into it – but I wrestled with how to explain how important this event was for my dad coming to faith, without writing anything that he was thinking.
Do you feel like the details communicate well?
Did I explain too much in my narration?
Do you know of a way I could have communicated all the stuff about bargaining with God without having to be so explicit? (That’s one thing I wrestled with)
Also, if you’ve enjoyed reading these stories – I have written another [very] short story that I like best of all that I’ve written so far, but it’s one I’d rather not share publicly on my blog right now. If you’re interested in reading it, send me a message in the contact form (or email/text/facebook me) and I’d be glad to email it to you. It’s under 500 words, so it won’t take long to read. I’d definitely be interested in anyone’s feedback on it.