Do You Even Lift, Bro?

Posted: February 15, 2017 by Philip Jean Kilmer in Flash Fiction, Writing Exercise
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Guess what, guys? e4daee95d434ca9a51fdbeae4e37ceef544453f9d916a68bc6dbb42b20510aa4

After an extremely long hiatus, I swear I still actually write. It’s just all editing novels that I can’t post here.

This is a writing exercise for class to create conflict using just physical detailing. No plot, tells, or author interpretations. It’s a good exercise for people to try out… to better your writing and to stir some creativity if you’re going through some writing block.

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Dust plumed from the pile of metal debris that crumbled into itself. Chunks of cinder block and cement piled onto a large metal sheet that had snapped in half. The man ran up to it and threw all of his weight with his shoulder against the debris. He gripped the jagged end of the metal sheet, then ran his hands along it in search of a smooth handle. When no such surface revealed itself, the man grit his teeth, tightened his hold onto the sheet, and let out a deep grunt as he tried to lift the sheet with a mountain of debris piled high. It did not budge, even as he used his full strength.

He continued to try to lift it, huffing so hard that strings of saliva shot from his open mouth, hung from his lips, and stuck to his chin with warm, bubbly strings. Beads of sweat rolled down and gathered at the tip of his nose while his face turned deep pink, then red, then vibrantly red. The tendons in the front of his throat tightened and jutted out to create a deep v-shaped canyon around his Adam’s apple and the tendons of his wrist bulged and vibrated like piano strings. A deep, guttural grunt escaped his tightly clenched cheeks, and it turned into sharp wincing as the jagged edge of the metal sheet shredded the flesh of his hands in chunks held together by flaps of skin. His nose crunched upwards. His brows pinched inwards. And his entire face scrunched up with veins forming down the middle of his forehead and on each side of his neck. His vision became wavy and darkened at the corners as blood vessels popped inside of his eyes and his entire body yanked upwards and jerked to a stop over and over, but he still couldn’t lift the debris. His feet scraped at the floor until eventually he ran in place, throwing everything he had into the metal sheet, ignoring the screams around him and the scratching in his throat due to the cloud of dust and ash. Tears began to blend with the sweat that beaded on his face, soaked his shirt at his chest and armpits, and bled down his sides, turning the fabric several shades darker. Snot trailed down to his top lip, which had started to turn blue despite the redness of his veiny, glistening face. His hair was matted and dripping, and sweat poured from his brow and into his eyes, and his lashes fluttered to ease the stinging, but he couldn’t let go of the metal sheet.

Even when his arms and legs started convulsing, and his stomach sank and tucked under his ribs, jumped back out, and then sank back again with every deep rapid breath, he still did not let go, and finally he managed to raise the stack of metal debris a few inches. His eyes widened until they bulged from their sockets and his teeth bit down on his bottom lip, pressing into them so that they made a deep impression. Spit bubbles sputtered from the small gaps between his teeth, creating wet fizzling sounds as his grunting grew higher in pitch to that of a whistling whine. His teeth ground together until his knees finally buckled, and his legs gave out, and he slumped over, knocking his head on the metal sheet. He let his arms dangle at his sides loosely while blood trickled down his fingers, built up at his fingertips, then dripped to the ground beneath his knees. The dust cloud settled around him, but he could feel sandy grains on his tongue, seeping into his gums and the roof of his mouth. The man tried to spit, but the warm mix of saliva and blood and dust latched onto his lips and teeth, teetering up and down with each of his breaths that made his back rise and his spine jut out. His whole body started jolting as he released a voiceless, airy cry…

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