Short & Sweet: The Cycle

Here begins a new (irregular) series of short stories. I’m trying my hand at it, having been inspired by Laura over at OneHundredThousandWords. You get to see the (occasionally festering) fruits of my labours.

As the following piece wasn’t accepted by Daily Science Fiction, I can now post it here for you wonderful people. Now, you may question the wisdom of posting something that has been rejected for publication — surely it’s not fit for public consumption?

But I’m curious to know what you think. This story has a particular aim, and the brilliant guys over at DSF said they couldn’t follow my logic in getting there. So I’ve re-read, tweaked and adjusted, and now I’ll ask you if you get the point …

Remember: comment is free!

* * *

The Cycle

Growing up, the boy often wondered how his father knew him so well: his likes, his dislikes, what he was feeling; even, sometimes, what he was thinking.

It was not so apparent when he was younger. The odd insight, maybe, or a half-guessed suggestion of something only he could have known. But as he grew the insights strengthened. His first drink, his first cigarette, his first crime: his father knew about them all, without a word of it being uttered.

The last straw came the night he lost his virginity. He tested it then, for the first time: pushing his father, probing for details. The reluctant answers terrified him, and he left there and then, ignoring his father’s pleas to remain.

Only many years later did he begin to understand, after the incident, and the birth of his own son. His first drink, his first cigarette, his first crime: he knew them all, in intimate detail.

By the night his son lost his virginity, the night of the argument and the door slamming in his face, he knew how it would end. Still he pleaded, telling his son it did not have to be this way, that this time it could be different.

But he knew it would be of no use.

He remembered.

* * *

With a certain type of story, you have to tread a very fine line between the implicit and the explicit: showing enough to let the reader figure it out, but not so much that you bludgeon them to death with it and appear heavy-handed.

So pray tell: have my tweaks made it clear what the point is? Too much, or too little?




4 thoughts on “Short & Sweet: The Cycle

Add yours

  1. I read it a couple times, I don’t feel you give too much away and the reader is just right that at the edge of what you’r suggesting. I enjoyed it , very short and meaningful.

    Little note on formatting, I would clear up the fourth paragraph, I was unsure who’s first ‘drink, smoke etc’ it was until I re-read the paragraph.

    1. Many thanks for the feedback. Short fiction is a new area for me, so it can be hard to gauge what’s not enough and what’s too much. I’ll have another look at that pesky para! Ta.

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