Horrible!

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

“Mooooommmy!” shrieked Netta. Sobbing, breathless, Netta trembled.

“Netta, what on earth?” Mommy didn’t see any blood, but Netta was ghost-white.

“Netta, calm down and tell me. Take a deep breath, let it out. Now listen: You won’t be in trouble. Just tell me.” Mommy gathered Netta up close, waiting.

Through sobs, Netta said, “I went out to get a stick of wood like you said. I took it from the top of the window, and all the wood came crashing down, and–and—there was a HUGE black SNAKE that jumped out at me!”

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(This story started writing itself the minute I saw the prompt. The original word count was 176. After the pruning session, this is what was left.)

57 thoughts on “Horrible!

      1. Ah. I wondered about that after I posted the question. No. She was genuinely terrified. We have black snakes around here, but usually they stay away from people. And I’m told they’re harmless, and help keep the mouse population under control. I’d be terrified, too, if I came that close to one!

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      1. That’s the thing with snakes. If you walk at a good pace they will hear the vibrations of your steps and all scurry away. Just be careful when climbing over logs as they could hide under the other side. It’s always best to step up, check and then step down again.

        What did you do? I’m not noticing anything.

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    1. Thank you! I’ve developed a “trick” for when I have to cut lots of words. 1. What’s the main point? (In this case, the snake). 2. Who is most important character? Netta. 3. What am I trying to make my readers feel? Sympathy, maybe some fear. Once I’ve done that, it’s easier to cut the verbiage.

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    1. Sort of like playing Jenga–the piece. you move can topple the whole structure. As for the snake, when I was still just a little girl, we’d go visit my Colorado grandparents. They always had a woodpile–Grandma cooked on a woodburing stove–and my dad always warned us not to go poking around in that pile. Because snakes. Dangerous ones. Shudder!

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  1. I can understand the horror of mum and the little girl. I think I read somewhere that fear of snakes is an inborn instinct, but could be wrong. Some species can be helpful in the garden though, maybe Netta can overcome her fear by learing a bit about them. (That’s how I overcame my irrational fear of spiders).

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  2. I always made extra sure to not reach in too deep into a woodpile, and make extra noise to warn snaky intruders to move away. Usually harmless ribbon snakes, but we had moccasins around too. Have a great Thanksgiving, Linda!
    pax,
    dora

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