Holed Up – Mondays Finish the Story

Due to family circumstances I’m a couple of days late with this week’s Mondays Finish the Story. This is a flash fiction writing challenge involving writing a story of 100-150 words from the photo and first line prompt kindly provided by the host, Barbara Beacham.

If you fancy having a go at this yourself, just click on the link above and get typing! Instructions about how to post your story are on the page.

Here is this week’s photo . . .


and this is my story, including the first sentence prompt:

Diamond Jack had his hideout next to the Rattle Snake River.

‘He’s holed up in that thar’ shack,’ Billy murmured to his brother as they unstrapped the Winchesters from their saddle packs. ‘Almost a month, ol’ Jesse reckons.’

Casey swept his brow with his sleeve, squinting into the blazing sun. ‘Way I see it, we go in and get the varmint now.  He’s taken two good men down already – two too many, I say.’

They crept towards the old prospector’s shack. It made an ideal hideout: good hunting in the scrubland and a ready water supply. Billy checked his rifle. ‘We shoot on sight. If Jack’s as wily as we’re told, he’ll be a waitin’ fer us.  And we ain’t taking no chances.’

Casey frowned. ‘So why’d Jesse call the varmint Jack?’

‘Reminded him of his Pa, I guess.  Real big guy, he said, fast as lightning and a killer bite.

Biggest Diamondback Rattler he’d ever seen.’

Word Count: 147

Other entries can be read here.



About milliethom

I am a reader and writer of historical fiction with a keen interest in the Earth's history and all it involves, both physically and socially. I like nothing better than to be outdoors, especially in faraway places, and baking is something I do when my eyes need respite from my computer screen.
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46 Responses to Holed Up – Mondays Finish the Story

  1. babso2you says:

    Nicely done Millie! Thank you for participating again, and I hope to see you back next week! I hope all is well at home! Be well… ^..^

  2. Whoa!

    Retribution for a snake 🙂

    Good read!!

  3. I of July says:

    you’ll have a collection of flash fiction soon 🙂 another good one

  4. This was a fun one, Millie.. I like the idea that this little snake could create such a fuss!

  5. scribbley14 says:

    I don’t think I’d like to be Jack! Hope all’s well with you and your family ☺

    • milliethom says:

      Hi Scribbley. No, my sympathy’s with Jack, too. He’d be no problem to anyone just left alone. We’re all OK here. I’m just really behind with everything on WP after having three days away at a funeral over the weekend. Thank you for asking! Hope all is going well with work and your writing. You fit so many things into your days. Take care to rest! 🙂

      • scribbley14 says:

        I’m sorry to hear about your loss. I hope you’re doing okay ☺
        I had my last mock today so I’m resting for the next while! Looking forward to getting a chance to write more

      • milliethom says:

        That sounds great. I hope the results are good when you get them. I know it’s just the mocks, but it’s always good to know you’re heading in the right direction for the real thing. Rest and write sounds good. 🙂

  6. Mara Fields says:

    Nice, succinct story with lots of flavor, Millie. You’ve got the Old West lingo and imagery down. Hope doing this challenge didn’t pull you away from your novel for too long. 🙂

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you for liking my first-ever attempt at cowboy style anything, Mara! My only experience of the lingo is from watching old Westerns. Thank goodness for John Wayne! As for my novel . . . I’ll get gack to it soon.

      • Mara Fields says:

        I’ve got too many followers from the UK to try my “over the pond” accents. The closest I’ve come is to include a “shite” in one of my novels. 🙂 Hummm. Maybe I need a trip to UK to do some research for my soon-to-be-published-novel-maybe…that could be a tax write-off I think. 😉

      • milliethom says:

        Shite is such a descriptive word, Mara! I bet you’ve used it beautifully. I’m sure I could find you several more colourful ones. Ha. You’re right, though. There are so many regional dialects here. I’m a ‘Northerner’, so I’d probably struggle to get the Cockney rhyming slang right. And I wouldn’t even attempt a Geordie dialect without prior tuition!

  7. draliman says:

    Poor Jack! He only wants to be left alone, I’m sure the two who died disturbed him. Maybe he’ll slither out of a dark corner and get the drop on these two.
    I love your Wild West lingo!

    • milliethom says:

      I hope Jack gets away, too. I agree, he’d be no harm to anyone just left alone. It’s my first ever attempt at the Wild West lingo, so please make allowances for inexperience! Thank you for your kind comment, Ali.

  8. scrapydotwo says:

    You are leaving us in suspense. Surprise for poor Jack too. Your description of Pa and Jack looking alike is very clear. I enjoyed your writing

  9. sonya says:

    Oooh, I enjoyed this. Great way to play with the reader’s expectations! And yes, I’m rooting for Jack, too…

  10. TEG Diez says:

    This is wonderful! “Casey frowned,” I love what you did there.

  11. I love that you made Diamond Jack a snake! It brought a lot of humor and interest to the story. Also, I’m sorry for your loss–I saw your earlier comment on this post.

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you for both your lovely comments about my story and your kind words about my loss. It was my 89 year old uncle who died. he was a lovely old man, but had been quite frail for some time. Anyway, it was very thoughtful of you tocomment on it. 🙂

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you for both your lovely comments about my story and your kind words about my loss. It was my 89 year old uncle who died. he was a lovely old man, but had been quite frail for some time. Anyway, it was very thoughtful of you to comment on it. 🙂

  12. John Yeo says:

    Wonderful! You had me gripped in suspense right to where I discovered DJ was a huge rattler ~ Hopefully he will live on to hiss another day ~ 🙂

  13. Poor Jack I think they will go from varmint to vermin issues when the rats applaud the result of the hunt.

  14. This is my favorite twist so far. Wonderful!

  15. ChristineR says:

    A clever twist, Millie. I think it would be more powerful if “Biggest Diamondback Rattler he’d ever seen” was written as “Biggest diamondback rattler he’d ever seen”, as this would add more emphasis to it being a snake and not a person. What do you think?

    The twist was really well done for me because, with the reference to Jesse’s Pa, I thought Jesse might have set them up to shoot his father! The snake took me by surprise.

  16. tedstrutz says:

    I was waiting for someone to make Jack a snake! Thanks for not disappointing me.

    • milliethom says:

      I really expected at least a few others to pick up on the name of the snake and was quite surprised to find that no one had. I’m glad you weren’t totally disappointed in the endThank you for commenting, Ted. 🙂

  17. Very creative Millie. I like the comparison to his Pa. Makes you wonder what else is going on in his life…..

  18. Awesome passage of writing. Thanks for the laugh when I read the final line. I so enjoy your writing and your ‘one liner’ revelations.

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