Traveling Companions


“You’ve got spunk, kid, I’ll grant you that,” said the grizzled old man, watching the boy jump onto the boxcar just as it gathered speed.

The boy, thirteen and covered with grime, said nothing, content to stare at the old man while moonlight peeked inside the small opening of the car.

“I get it – you’re the strong, silent type, huh?” The man ran his hand through thinning hair, and the boy studied its palsied journey, evidence of too many years of cheap booze.

“I can fix that for you,” said the boy, finally, moonlight glinting off a pair of sharp, pearl-colored incisors.

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Kate Loveton, Odyssey of a Novice Writer



Note: Story written in response to “Lillie McFerrin Writes – Five Sentence Fiction Challenge” (here). The challenge was to write a story in five sentences using the word “spunk.”

About Kate Loveton

Aspiring novelist. Avid reader of fiction. Reviewer of books. By day, my undercover identity is that of meek, mild-mannered legal assistant, Kate Loveton, working in the confines of a stuffy corporate law office; by night, however, I'm a super hero: Kate Loveton, Aspiring Novelist and Spinner of Tales. My favorite words are 'Once upon a time... ' Won't you join me on my journey as I attempt to turn a hobby into something more?
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32 Responses to Traveling Companions

  1. Please forgive me for such a tardy response to your story, Kate, but the email somehow got caught under some others and it was only while cleaning my inbox today that I saw it.

    As always, I love your flash fiction pieces and the way that you can convey so much with so few words. It is a gift that you have, my friend! 🙂 ❤ ❤

  2. As always, a short, powerful punch. What a talent you have for flash fiction, Kate.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Thanks, Cathy. I really enjoy writing flash fiction. Flash fiction has taught me to economize when telling a story. For me, it’s been a valuable exercise.

      I started writing stories about two or three years ago. My first attempts were filled with (oh no!) adverbs, lengthy sentences, and over-explanation. Flash fiction has taught me to cut things to the bone while still attempting to get the story across.

  3. Well done. It’s amazing what you can do with five sentences.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Thanks, Jacqui.

      I know I’ve said this before, but I’ve found a lot of helpful writing tips from reading your blog.

      (Here’s a link to Jacqui’s blog for those wishing to check out her writing tips. You’ll find she has a lot of good information to share.)

  4. noelleg44 says:

    Ah, Kate- Queen of the short, sharp fiction! 😉

  5. Kate, this quick piece is vivid and soothing. Reminded me of my great grandfather JI. He ran the railroad during the early 1900s. 1914-1917, I believe, a young boy in Kansas, who later became a school teacher. Thanks for reminding me.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Hi Audrey! I’m happy the piece put you in mind of your great grandfather.

      Riding the rails was very common in the early part of the 20th century, and especially so (I believe) during the years of the Great Depression. A lot of old men and young boys, hungry and out of work, rode the rails.

  6. Julia Lund says:

    So much in so few words. You have a real talent for these short shockers.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Thanks, Julia. I really have fun writing flash fiction. It’s often hard to find time to work on a longer piece, and flash fiction gives me a chance to exercise my mind and work on my writing skills in the limited time I do have.

  7. OOoo. Chilling. 😀 😀 Careful who you allow into your boxcar. 😀
    Fantastic story in five sentences. ❤

  8. Good story, Kate. I think it was ‘I’m not there’, the film about Bob Dylan (without him) that had a scene reminiscent of this.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Really? I am not familiar with it. I didn’t know anyone had made a movie about Dylan. I like his lyrics, but sometimes I just want to scream, “Find the melody, Bob – for the love of God, please find the melody!” 😄 What can I say? I love Sinatra. I rather shudder at the thought of Dylan singing Sinatra, but someone mentioned to me this was a Dylan project. Not sure if there is any truth to it.

  9. Ah, the seductive promise of eternal youth. Nice short, Kate.

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