Freshly Tilled Soil (Micro-fiction)

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A few weeks ago, a writer friend and I began a new challenge. Now, we have a good history of starting challenges, but though we initially do quite well, our history of finishing challenges is a bit on the sketchy side—perhaps because we never really create an end-date, letting them fizzle out instead. But we’re always up for the, erm, challenge of doing (starting? finishing?) a challenge.

Our new challenge also has no real end date; it’s just about writing and sending each other a work of flash fiction once a week on Fridays. We started with a 50-word limit last week and are gradually working towards longer pieces.

For week two of the challenge, we decided on 100 words. At the start of the week, I was feeling pretty good about things as I already had a story done—until I realized what I’d written was 300 words, the length for next week’s challenge.

Oh, my. It was Thursday evening, and we share our stories on Fridays. What was I to do?Luckily, I had been turning three little words over in my mind since an early morning run the week before.

Along my run is a little patch of land that until recently had a house built upon it. The house was decrepit, and I wasn’t surprised at all to see it being torn down just a few weeks ago. Being a small house built in an older style (those in Japan will likely know what I mean if I call it a little Showa ikkenya), it didn’t take the diggers and other machinery very long to knock the thing down and clear the plot.

They left the lot looking quite nice, turning the soil and tidying it up, and this filled the air with a fragrance that I called “freshly tilled soil.” The smell of freshly tilled soil always takes me back to my childhood and spring days when my dad would bring the rototiller out from its winter spot in the garage to prep the gardens or start a new one.

I love the smell, and I love the words “freshly tilled soil.” Taking the words and taking the memories that come from the scent of dirt, I came up with a 100-word story about time travel, (mostly) finishing it in time to share on Friday.

Freshly Tilled Soil

Published by helenkamakura

Helen is a Canadian writer and innkeeper based in Kamakura, Japan, where she lives with her Japanese husband and two children. If money became obsolete, she would happily accept peaches, fresh peas, and sun-warmed cherry tomatoes in exchange for her labour.

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