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The various scribblings of Andrew J. Savage Posts

The Break | 50 Word Story

Cassandra spun the dial.
“You done yet?” Joel never believed in her. “Security. Two minutes tops.”
A few more turns…
He sighed. “Time. I’m leaving.”
His footsteps faded just as the safe opened.
Pocketing the gems, she checked her watch. Thirty seconds.
Time enough to escape from security. And Joel.


I had so much fun with the challenge last week that I thought I would taking another crack at @jayna’s awesome fifty word story challenge again. This time the prompt was “break.” Never let anyone tell you that writing or editing a fifty word story should be easy just because it’s short. Ha! Here’s a glimpse of the effort that went into this.

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Quick Silver (A short story)

Silver Good-Fisher shot across the tops of the waves.

Land was close and she was fast approaching the place where the breakers pounded themselves into spray and foam. Here at the surface where the Great Deep met the sky, the water was warm and pleasant. Joy and water blended in a symphony of wind and wave. The scents of salt, weed, fish, crab and mollusk–both the living and the dead–were a heady mixture. It was almost enough for her to forget the loss of her pod, of her mother. Her adopted pod members were fun, but they were not yet family.

She leaped and twisted, twirled and dove, but part of her knew that she needed to take care. Past the patch of seagrass and the fast current was the cove.

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Hook, Line and Sinker — Story Openings (Part 1)

The Hook

Distractions. The world is full of them. The modern world even more so. There are a thousand things a potential reader could be doing other than reading your story (or novel, or screenplay, etc.). Even a reader who is willing to cooperate–who has made the commitment to spend time in your story with you–still has thoughts going off in the back of their mind. The siren call of their phone, the expectation that their kids will come home soon, the ever-present question about whether they really did turn off the gas. There are any number of reasons why even the most willing reader will put your story down. Then there are editors.

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The Cabin Boy

“I’ve never met a werewolf before.” Kira tilted her head, watching the boy. The sailors had him locked in the brig, thick wooden bars the only barrier between them. Outside, seagulls shrieked their displeasure at the wind. Waves shredded into frigid, salt-laden spray. The decks were unsafe, frozen and canting, and even below, she could barely take two steps before needing to hold on to something.

The boy hung his head. “They say I killed those people. I…I don’t remember.”

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Jazz Firebrand’s Last Dance (A short story of Japan)

This is a story I wrote a while ago about unrequited love and a little bit of magic, or is it just wishful thinking?


Masahiro is an artist with secrets. He draws Japanese-style manga comics, full of intricately crafted characters armed with knives, guns, and hi-tech spying equipment. The title of his comic is Jazz Firebrand Za Spectacular, a small-run publication featuring the adventures of the heroine, Jazz Firebrand. Very few people know Masahiro is the artist. This is his first secret. He doesn’t talk about it, not even to Yuki, the girl he loves. Perhaps Yuki does not know that Masahiro loves her. This is another secret.

Jazz is a spy, a mercenary for hire, and sometime assassin; a woman for whom life is an endless series of ever-heightening crises. Jazz faces death page after page, urged ever onward by the stroke of Masahiro’s pen.

These days a single scene blooms from the ink again and again. The same scene repeats–unbidden–as if his life depends on it. As if the life of someone he loves depends on it.

A dog-eared sketchbook rests on Masahiro’s knees. He’s been sitting there so long he’s lost all feeling in his buttocks. Usually when Masahiro draws he is relaxed, but today he is wound tight, teeth clenched so firmly the muscles of his jaw creak in protest when he opens his mouth to lick his lips. Each detail must be just right, every patch of shading just so. He presses down so hard with the pencil that the tip breaks off, flitting across the stiff card stock.

The page is broken into panels, some half-erased where Masahiro has changed his mind part-way and tried to start again. The bottom of the page is almost entirely taken up by a close-up of an open female eye.

Masahiro’s hand trembles.

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