Parch – Day 4

I have one new submission for today.

Story 1.

Catastrophe struck on day 14,611 of Koan’s occupation–a significant number because it equated to day one of his retirement and hence the first morning when he’d woken up in legal possession of the flat. It should have been a breakfast of sumptuous liberation. Instead, the roof emptied in and enough water cascaded down to leave Koan wallowing knee-deep and bewildered. He blinked as the T-Mat booth fizzled and shorted out, then thought belatedly to jump up onto his fold-away bed. Water frothed and swirled all around him, swallowing up every piece of low-lying furniture except for Koan’s cast iron bathtub–a retirement present–which now had the distinction of being filled almost to the brim, but on the outside. A red devil duck sat high, dry and mocking in its soap holder.

My first impression is that the prose is a little too clever for itself, but there are some nice details too, and good immediacy, and certainly an inciting incident. Overall, this works for me. The story, while vivid and fast-moving, does have some problems for me, however, as I come away feeling no deep emotion at the resolution and some mild to fair confusions about the world. At 1000 words, this was most likely written for a flash venue or competition. Without that stricture, I suspect this author could turn the concept into an effective story of 1800-2000 words with enough context and character development to make me care, and a somewhat stronger connection to the parch theme.

And this is what I told the author. I declined this version, but offered them the chance to revise. We’ll see what happens. I’m not in love with this, but I do respect the craft elements and the core concept.


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About Stephen

I live in beautiful New Castle, Pennsylvania with fellow writer, Susan Urbanek Linville, and a herd of reformed feral cats.

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