by | Jul 10, 2012 | Fiction, Flash fiction | 12 comments

By Laura McHale Holland

Boys and girls fill the room with laughter, chatter and shrieks as they race to tables topped with watercolors, chalk and paper. The children, seven to nine years old, sift through the supplies, grabbing some, pushing others away. Their summer camp art teacher suggests they draw a scene from a favorite story. It could be one from a book or one they heard, true or untrue—just a favorite story.

Picture is from

Chloe giggles with new friends as she begins painting a cloudless blue sky, flowing water, purple and blue rocks, lush green leaves. At the next table, a silent boy concentrates, chalk in hand. The teacher walks around the room, pausing often to offer encouragement as the children work.

As they finish, the children print their names on their pictures and then dash outside to play. Chloe’s picture is a waterfall cascading from a cliff. “This is lovely. What tale is this from?” the teacher asks. “The land behind the waterfall,” Chloe replies. “I don’t know that one. Where did you hear it?” Chloe looks down at her sneakers. “I don’t remember.” Outside, a gaggle of girls calls to Chloe, telling her to hurry up. She skips away.

The teacher steps to the next table as the boy finishes printing D-R-E-W at the bottom of his picture. She picks up the landscape. “This is beautiful; it’s just like Chloe’s.” Chloe is almost at the classroom door. “Wait a minute, Chloe. I want you to see this,” the teacher calls. Chloe walks back toward the table. “What story is this from?” the teacher asks. “The land behind the waterfall,” Drew says. Chloe moves closer to Drew. She smiles. He smiles back.

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  1. Eve Trout

    Hmm! What’s up with this? Will have to read the next installment. Can’t wait.

  2. admin

    An unexpected point of connection that just popped into my head. Thanks for staying tuned, Eve!

  3. Wordwranglingwoman

    Like this a lot! Nothing like a secret in plain sight to up the tension level.

  4. Anthony Pires

    Laura, you have a wonderful way of making us want to turn the page and continue to read. Tony

  5. admin

    Thank you, dear Word Wrangling Woman! I’m glad to have upped the tension level. I, too, wonder what will be coming next. … I just popped over to your site. Congratulations on “jumping the fence” from business writing and editing to creative writing that feeds your soul. I spend 40 hours per week in the trade publication sphere and go back and forth between the worlds. I think the discipline required by business writing and editing can be good for the creative writing process if you can get yourself to heed your own deadlines, something I don’t do consistently, alas.

  6. admin

    Wow, Tony, thanks! That’s gratifying to hear. I’d better keep tending to these characters, then.

  7. Barbara Toboni

    Great addition, Laura. I think the size of these little excerpts is just right for your blog. Also just right for reading. Maybe I will try again with my story on the blog. It does give you a kind of deadline to get the story out.

  8. admin

    Thanks, Barbara! Yes, committing to regular creative writing blog posts does help. There is the risk of displaying drafts that aren’t quite right, but I figure for me, that risk is not anywhere near as great as the benefit of getting the work done, learning new things and connecting with readers.

  9. Jerry Kohut

    a great and wonderful life Chloe is now living. The world where smiles are

  10. admin

    The world where smiles are. I like that.

  11. Ana Manwaring

    I love this. It has a spooky feel to it, like these kids are from some other universe.

  12. admin

    Thanks, Ana! That they could be from another universe is an intriguing idea. Maybe the whole story takes place in another universe. Hmmmm.


  1. The four of us - [...] Smiles [...]
  2. The one he always wants to hear - [...] Smiles [...]
  3. A pillar of the community - [...] Smiles [...]

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