Flash Fiction Challenge: Three Haikus Tell One Story

Last week’s challenge: “Choose Your Motif

The haiku.

Three lines in syllables of 5 / 7 / 5.

You’re going to use the haiku form to tell a story.

I’ll be nice: you can have three haikus to tell that story.

Hew to the 5 / 7 / 5 structure — yes, there are other permutations of the haiku form, but we’re going to go with the base level structure we all know and love from English class.

This week has a prize:

If you win, I’ll toss you a copy of each of my writing-related e-books. That’s both Penmonkey books and all four of my “lists of 25” books (starting with 250 Things).

You’ll get those e-books in PDF format.

You have till next Friday to post your three-haiku story in the comments below. That is to say, by February 8th at noon EST. You get only one entry, so choose well. (Multiple entries will disqualify all entries.)

I’ll choose my favorite the week following.

Now go forth and haiku the hell out of this place.

Or, rather:

The terribleminds

haiku challenge is now live

for you to conquer

EDIT: Winners!

THREE WINNERS, DECLARED. I know, I said one but c’mon. This was a very, very hard challenge to judge. Because so many good options. Sooooo many. Anyway. The three winners:


Valerie Valdes!




Hit me up at terribleminds at gmail dot com, if you please.

— c.


  • Attack

    We cordoned them off
    And tried our best to hold fast.
    Still, they ran us down.

    June died from a bite,
    Henry from a ripped stomach.
    Ralph, my son, eaten.

    I am the last here.
    Though I will die, that’s certain,
    I’ll take them with me.

  • L V four two six,
    Keep this for close encounters,
    Standup fight? Bug hunt?

    What’s this sticky stuff?
    Maybe it’s like an anthive.
    Bees man, bees have hives.


  • February 1, 2013 at 9:30 AM // Reply

    Boy meets Girl in bar
    They decide to go camping
    Off they go in car

    Serial Killer
    is in the woods where they camp
    Boy meets gory end

    The Killer is foiled
    Girl alone escapes to tell
    She’ll be in sequel

  • February 1, 2013 at 9:39 AM // Reply

    Page after page, thrown
    aside, forgotten evermore.
    Characters, settings

    midwifed in a world
    of his own making, unfinished,
    undefined, alive

    only in his own
    mind. Frustrated, yet compelled.
    The writer’s madness.

  • Golden hair, warm eyes
    An unconditional love
    So deep it pains me

    She waits patiently,
    Just wanting to leave, go, but
    Hoping I’ll follow.

    It’s cold, wet and dark
    But I cannot deny her.
    She’s a damn good dog.

  • Waning moon clouded
    Razor claws slice cold air clear
    Dog walk goes poorly

    The beast is a myth
    Stories of old dry women
    Truth comes from sharp pain

    Life drains fast away
    Innards unwind reel by reel
    Fresh feasting begins

  • His car is broken
    Not able to fix the damn thing
    No one helps the man

    His girl is pissed
    She says he is so lazy
    Now no car or girl

    He feels so lonesome
    The need to fap arises
    He fucks the muffler

  • When she saw him there
    Standing on the street corner
    She thought she had failed

    How else could he be
    Alive and well in this place
    And injury free?

    Then she realised
    It was only a stranger
    With the same blonde hair

  • Walking down the street
    Suddenly, thugs everywhere!
    Where did they come from?

    They fight; I fight back.
    Punching, kicking through the air.
    I defeat them all.

    One has a hammer.
    Struck from behind, I then die.
    “Please Insert Quarter”

  • “You are poor,” they said.
    “America is rich, so why be poor?”
    “Your parents made stupid choices.”
    Time passed and opportunities fled.
    Jobs of simplicity moved to other countries.
    The braggarts were simple people.
    I see them with little.
    They often depend on friends and relatives.
    They dodge my firm gaze.

    aka Darlene Underdahl

  • Wet, cold and foggy.
    We sneak through the dark forest.
    My heart beats faster.

    A startled deer stares.
    I watch as he aims and shoots.
    A bullet rips flesh.

    Another shot tears.
    Who else is in this forest?
    My hand is blood red.

  • February 1, 2013 at 12:08 PM // Reply

    Fog over San Fran
    City seems waiting to wake
    Tender moment now

    Roll over to you
    Long red hair resting on me
    Breasts softly breathing

    Falling more in love
    Getting lost in your wonder
    Pull you in closer

  • The flowing of ki
    After a long abstinence
    Makes a restless night.

    Powerful hips flow.
    Our connection is Aiki;
    Our blending is breath.

    We practice to find
    The way of self victory.
    But the joy of loss!

  • Zarathustra speaks
    Technology evolves for
    Travels to the stars

    Planets orbit sun
    Space station whirls to a waltz
    HAL no match for man

    Transcendence achieved
    Star child floats in universe
    We waltz to credits

  • Baby up all night.
    Overslept, no writing time.
    Coffee goes ice cold.

    Trip to see dinos.
    Happy toddler helps a bit.
    But now comes migraine.

    Then, at Trader Joe’s,
    Son says, “Mom, you are perfect.”
    Now, best day ever.”

  • He’s done it again.
    Covered in blood, but not his.
    The girl has no head.

    I always find him.
    Sees me, sparks, he remembers.
    I kiss him, we run.

    I’m sleeping, he stirs.
    Tonight, he doesn’t know me.
    He’s holding a knife.

  • Epic poems were in
    dotted whole notes held by strings
    Time for everything

    Then the microwave
    Odysseys turned six word tweets
    symphonies to beeps

    Now it’s flashes, clicks
    and we’re all the evening news
    glad for three haikus

  • Hear the hunters bay
    Hungry for our hearts and minds
    Metal monsters feed

    Humanity’s fall
    We reach heaven when we take
    Glass stairs to the moon

    Dead ships float below
    Worn treads upon the stairs
    Only we remain

  • He lost his job
    Wandered the streets all alone
    Where would he go and
    Where and how would he live now?
    And what would he do
    Life now means nothing
    The subway platform is packed
    As the train speeds by
    He steps into the darkness

  • Be quiet, I say
    Stunned short by cicadas’ song
    Puzzled, her head tilts

    What’s that? She asks me
    Is it from the time before?
    When the sky was blue?

    Then the sad smile tugs
    So many things she’ll not grasp
    From ere they came here

  • Once upon a time
    the wolf came begging for help
    out of woods gone mad.

    The Little Red girls
    Dozens of them, maybe more
    Gone mad and mindless.

    They swarmed past him
    to the old mad matriarch
    to Grandmother’s House.

  • blackened metal hulls
    of once airborne, once nuke-packed
    aircraft, field of ash

    and this idle hope:
    me, sifting through carrion
    for your sky-fixed gaze.

    blink once, twice. then, there,
    beside the silo of dead.
    silver-ringed finger.

  • Windswept horizon;
    Terrible gift of magick;
    Lies and secrets hide.

    Blood and flame strip life;
    Mad voice of vengeance whispers;
    Spirits turn teachers.

    Faces enemy;
    Seven lights against the dark;
    Power claimed through death.

  • A dysfunctional Family Christmas:

    Family abounds
    Where did I put that whiskey?
    Coldest winds whisper

    Dad is caroling!
    Did you spike the egg nog yet?
    Snow falls on branches

    Christmas is over
    Jesus, I’ve got a headache
    Flowers grow restless

  • It takes a long time
    to master the detection
    of ancient portals.

    She helped me too much,
    she could sniff them out and I
    didn’t have to learn.

    Hopping between worlds,
    she died abruptly and now
    I’m stuck, lost, alone.

  • The night falls darkly
    Over the quiet suburb;
    A child falls asleep.

    She wakes at midnight
    And sees the shadow enter
    Her moonlit bedroom.

    The last word she speaks
    Is a barely whispered “Please”,
    As her body breaks.

  • Sirens wail alarms.
    The firestorm approaches;
    the sky turns to ash.

    Trails of cars snake free
    of flaming suburbia.
    Will their homes survive?

    Some lose everything.
    Others are more fortunate.
    The city rebuilds.

  • Hooves hit the paved street.
    Children hide beneath windows.
    Everyone, silent.

    But too soon the hooves
    stop. A door is knocked upon.
    No one will answer.

    They barge in the house:
    Eyes cold, solemn faces. Then
    she screams in terror.

  • Unexpected joy
    leads to unexpected pain;
    the child is conceived.

    Nine long grueling months
    filled with doubts and fears and puke,
    till the child arrives.

    Baby blues open
    peering deep into my soul;
    yes child, I am yours.

  • Down Deep
    Deep in the dark earth
    Dwelling in hot rock below
    Microbes rule the world.

    Ancient beyond words
    Is the conscious biomass
    Speaking without speech.

    Never in an age
    Ruling in its dark domain
    Does it dream of men.

  • The hearth dims and cools.
    Nightfall prowls in on tiptoe.
    The lantern quivers.

    Claws scrape on the roof.
    Dust falling from the rafters.
    Growls shake us awake.

    Rifle shots echo and ring.
    A groan, a sliding and a thud.
    Mom shelves the rifle.

  • With knife I waited
    Watching for that one moment
    For stars to align

    I made the mistake
    Of letting my gaze lower
    To the victim’s eyes

    No fear did I see
    But triumph instead as I
    fell over quite dead

  • February 2, 2013 at 5:25 AM // Reply

    I was just stupid
    that circle of lit candles
    I did not mean to

    The book was open
    I just wanted to know
    Those sweet and clear words

    They will come at dusk
    They heard me and are coming
    And all things will end

  • Revenants arise
    Like a goddamned B-movie
    Zombies walk the earth

    The Apocalypse?
    Two types of monster – undead
    and the desperate

    Shambling horrors come
    Endless swarm. Lusting for brains
    Bang! Bang… Bang-Bang! Click!

  • I fucking farted
    The smell is something heinous
    Inhale it and die

    So it’s chuck wendig
    that wants us to write haikus
    for his amusement

    Maybe I’ll win books
    But the shittiest part is
    I have read them all

  • It was all my fault
    Here, another bruise added
    To my collection

    Piecing together
    A reason for this torment
    No sense to be had

    A vision of truth
    I trudge through this troubled mess
    Exit door is found

  • Silence can become
    Golden in heated moments
    When words lose value

    But if I don’t speak
    My mind will never relent
    So let me unload

    I can never be
    The perfect man that you want
    But I do love you

  • The aliens land
    and find nothing worth taking
    back to their planet.

    They can’t leave empty-
    handed. They abduct a man
    named “Napoleon.”

    He looks hungry, and
    he mumbles. The aliens
    give him a hot meal.

  • The first rain of the
    season began to fall, so
    she hitched up her hood

    The wind blew it off
    But her date didn’t notice,
    Just scowled at the sky

    It was still summer
    Technically, but she had
    Never felt so cold.

    Thanks for the inspiration to write something today, Wendig!

  • The scanner is on.
    I count the dots on the screen:
    One, two…three lifeforms.

    Can this sight be true?
    They really live among us?

    Nurse finally speaks.
    It is just as I had feared:
    We’re having triplets!

  • The worms were eating
    his brain, slowly, but surely;
    deranging his mind.

    Violent laughter,
    racing thoughts, profanities;
    Evil worms biting.

    My son, knife in hand,
    Plummeted, to his grim death.
    The evil worms fled.

  • Some great entries here!


    Beyond Red Despair

    pain rends behind,
    eyes, to scope downrange on friend’s,
    death, to his killers

    in this red anoit?
    ten times ten hundred splatters?
    peace heart-squeeze-beat peace!

    No. I am undone.
    Fidelity must live now
    beyond red despair.

  • Next Door

    She goes to work tired
    up late listening to screams,
    cries of helpless youth.

    He’s in the hallway.
    Burn marks on his arms and legs,
    a three-year-old’s smile.

    That night she sharpens
    and prepares her alibi.
    She plans to avenge.

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