reading, Scene Writing, Short Story Writing, The Writing Life, Writing Prompts

Micro Fiction: The Cycle

This 300 word or less prompt was written to the last line below, “He could turn it around.” The line taken randomly from Colum McCann’s amazing novel, Let the Great World Spin.

The Cycle

296 words by Vicki Roberts: Nov. 5, 2017


If he was going to mimic Sister Lenora’s snort of a laugh again, disturbing the classroom, then Father George said he could expect a more severe punishment next time.

Levi Wiser woke up rubbing his hands; trying to take the sting out of what the priest called repercussions of his choices as the ruler came down on his fingers. He sat up to shake himself out of the dream and wondered for the millionth time how to make it stop.

The physical reprimands followed him home most days. Budget cuts and errant employees tried his father’s patience until Levi’s legs paid the price with red welts, and the routine of her daily life annoyed his mother so much that only a powerful jerk on his hair or pinch to his arm could ease her dullness.

With his own children, Levi refrained physically, but the verbal intimidation sent them scuttling to their rooms early most evenings. He wasn’t angry at them, or at Jillian, but they couldn’t have known that. She couldn’t have known that.

A year of ordered therapy only skimmed the surface of how his parent’s deeds fed into his own. He’d hated it initially; hated being told that he’d have to let someone dig around in his head in order to see his own kids. To have a chance at getting Jillian back.

Lately, however, he felt hopeful. Levi didn’t need a lot. Not a thousand-dollar phone or the corner office he’d been escorted out of. He just needed a tiny bend of life that he could survive in. He needed his family back.

Levi made his way to the bathroom and stood in front of the mirror, brushing his teeth. A new day. He could do this. He could turn things around.


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