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Furiously Fumbled

Whoops. Apparently I’ve forgotten how to tell time. 

I wrote a short piece for a monthly writing contest called “Furious Fiction”. I’d recently discovered the competition and was eager to give it a try. On the day the challenge arrived in my email I was too busy to write, but I figured I had a little time. So on Sunday the 4th, I had fun composing my entry and felt pretty darn good that I’d be in just under the wire.

I’d completely forgotten that it needed to be in by 1am Monday the 5th… Sydney/Melbourne time. Other side of the world. Where the land down under is living in the future. I’d missed the deadline. *sadface*

I’ll try again next month when the new challenge comes out, and I will be more aware of the clock! If you’re interested in trying too, visit the  Australian Writers’ Centre at and look for the “Furious Fiction” section. The competition is open to anyone in the world — as long as they know how to tell time, sigh.

In the meantime, here’s what I wrote for this challenge. I figured if I don’t share it with you, it’ll never see the light of any day!  Enjoy, perhaps.

The Challenge

  • Your story must include someone/something being caught.
  • Your story must include the following words (plurals allowed): OBJECT, WOUND, BAND, ELABORATE.
  • Your story’s final two words must be THE MOON (can be part of a larger sentence).
  • Your story must be 500 words or fewer and the winning story will earn its talented author $500AU.


Bernard paced furiously back and forth on the marble floor of the foyer, glaring at his siblings as they laughed and mocked him. How dare his mother put him through this humiliation! To be sure, the vile woman was dead and buried now, but at the reading of her will, it became clear that  she hadn’t spent her final days ‘relaxing and making peace with the world’. In the months she’d been confined to her sickbed, Eleanor’s fevered brain had decided to weave an elaborate scheme of tasks and requirements for her half-dozen offspring to accomplish, if they wished to receive their inheritances.

“You’ll not have the last laugh, any of you… Margaret!” he cried out, pointing a finger at the eldest of his siblings. “High tea this Sunday at the Empress Hotel while dressed in a potato sack dress, isn’t it? Oh, I’ll be there too, dressed in proper style, enjoying the spectacle.”

Margaret blushed deeply, coughed, and looked down at the floor. The rest of the family hushed,  fidgeting nervously as each one recalled their own particular distasteful task. Bernard might be the first to suffer through his given task, but he wouldn’t be the last.

“Right. Good night, everyone. Unpleasant dreams to the lot of you,” he snarled while tromping to the front door, then trudged down a large stone staircase leading out to the formal lawn and gardens.

He threw the large, fluffy object he’d carried outside onto the perfectly manicured grass, then  gave it a good solid kick. “A ‘bedroll’, my soon-to-be-aching arse. If humiliation could be gift-wrapped, this would be what it looks like.” A glance at his watch told him it was nearing midnight. In order to receive his fair share of the family wealth, he’d be sleeping in a bedroll on the front lawn for the entire month of October. Never mind the weather or the temperature, this was his task, as described in detail in his Mother’s will.

Sighing dramatically, Bernard knelt down and crawled into the bedroll, then squirmed around, trying to get comfortable. At last, he breathed a weary sigh, feeling ready to drift off. But then he noticed something stirring, just a few feet from his face. A spider had spun her web on the grass. It looked like a small, gossamer trampoline. This close up, he could see the spider as she wrapped a hapless fly in tightly wound coils of webbing.

The doomed creature looked for all the world as it if were nestled in a bedroll. Bernard rolled his eyes. He couldn’t help sympathizing with the fly. “We seem to be in similar predicaments, little pest,” he said forlornly.

As Bernard rolled over and shivered himself to sleep, a band of gauzy clouds drifted across the amused-looking face of the moon.



  1. Kip Kozlowski Kip Kozlowski October 6, 2020

    Love it love it love it. Now, my dear, I want the rest of the story. Please. In your spare time. But it IS cruel to leave us dangling.

    • Lori Alden Holuta Lori Alden Holuta Post author | October 6, 2020

      I hadn’t planned to expand the story… but you have me pondering. Meanwhile, enjoy the view from the end of that strand of webbing!

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