Posted in Challenges and Contests, Flash Fiction Pieces, Life Writing, Marketing my Writing, My Poetry, Writing in Freedom, Writing Samples

Trifextra Weekend Challenge – “4AM Call”

And so to our weekend prompt. We’ve often said that we love how each of you responds so differently to our prompts. This week, you’re all starting with the same 5 words and your task is to turn it in to your own story in only 33 words. The 5 we have given you are NOT to be counted in the 33 words.

Complete the following story in exactly 33 words:

The phone rang at 4am.

Here is my challenge, largely and currently autobiographical in inspiration and execution, and exactly 33 words long, not including the fist five, which are the prompt.

This story now appears in the

Pittsburgh  Flash Fiction Gazette.

Starlight Over the RhoneVincent Van Gogh

“4am Call”

Written by Shan Jeniah Burton Copyright 2012

The phone rang at 4am.

“I’m NOT answering!” I glared.

Yesterday’s crackling anger still stung.

Phone insisted; stopped.

Too much time passed.


Knocking; frantic barking.  Sherriff at  our door.

“He’s being medflighted..”

My trembling arms embraced our children.

Starry Night– Vincent Van Gogh

And a little more from Trifecta, and where you could help me “be a winner”….

For this weekend’s challenge, we are once again asking you guys to choose the winner. You can vote using a link that will appear beside each thumbnail at the close of the contest.  Linkz will remain open after the close of the contest to allow for voting.  Submissions received after 9 pm EST on Sunday evening, however, will be deleted by admin.  You will only have the 12 hours following the close of the contest to vote.  Due to the restrictions of the linking service, you may not vote for a link from the same computer where it was submitted.  We hope you believe in your work enough to find another device to vote from, and we are sorry for the inconvenience.

If you enjoyed my story, please consider visiting Trifecta and voting for Shan Jeniah Burton. 


I am myself. I own my life, and live with three other people who own theirs. My intention is to do only those things that bring me joy, and to give myself wholly to those things I do. Writing has been my passion throughout my life, and this will become the home for my writing life...because it brings me great joy!

15 thoughts on “Trifextra Weekend Challenge – “4AM Call”

  1. Jesterqueen –

    Yep. The helmet’s pretty scuffed on the left temple…he would not likely be alive now, and home, and healing, without it!

    We are hugely blessed.

  2. Wow. Crazy story, gratitude aplenty I would imagine. Very nice that you’ve turned it into the entry above. Sometimes reality makes for the strongest writing, eh? Glad he’s “okay” and that the kids have coped in their own way too. I would be a mess. Seriously

    1. Karen –

      Almost always, for me, shades of the real give life and depth to the fiction.

      Tremendous gratitude. To have him sleeping beside me, this minute…to hear him laughing with the kids, to be able to sip coffee and talk, or make love…amazing gifts.

      I’m more of a mess now that it’s over. I hold together until the crisis passes, and then, when things calm, I need to let go. I’ve mostly been ignoring housework for the 8 days he’s been home…..and I’ve NEEDED that.

      Because the kids have never gone to school, we are a very connected family, and we talk a lot together. We take them and their concerns seriously, and I think that’s really helped.

      They’re letting loose a little now, too…a bit emotionally messy here, at the moment, but it seems a healthy expulsion of BIG emotions.

    1. Jesterqueen –

      It was actually a little after 10. He was on his way home from work to start his vacation.

      The next day was his birthday, and the fifteenth anniversary of the day we met.

      It was a motorcycle/deer collision. He was thrown 100 feet.

      He fractured 8 ribs and broke his dominant hand. His spleen was lacerated, and one of his lungs collapsed.

      The accident was two weeks ago, tonight. Today, we are sipping coffee and watching Man vs. Wild. He’s sore and doesn’t have remotely the stamina he had before.

      A strong partnership became stronger. Once again, our connection became closer and more present through crisis.

      The children amaze us both. They accept, they emote. They adjust to the immediacy and changeability of each day. They step up and help in myriad ways. They find joy in each day and celebrate each improvement.

      Blessings can come wrapped in very frightening packages, sometimes….

    1. Let Mw Start –

      That’s pretty much how it happened. I was not furious, but mad, and I
      didn’t pick up. Then the sheriff. The dog’s baking was percussive.

      It was hard but healing to write. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  3. Oh scary. I can feel the possibilities looming of potential bereavement. Glad you decided to have a go. 🙂 You also reminded me to pop up a request to vote on mine too. I’d not done so prior to visiting you. 🙂 X

    1. Shah –

      This was pretty close to real life- glad to be back on the “we’re all safe, and maybe a little wiser” side of things.

      And happy to have reminded you!

  4. Thanks so much for linking up to Trifextra. Remember, this weekend’s entries are being judged by the Trifecta community, so make sure you visit the site at the close of the challenge to vote. Our linking service will not allow you to vote for a link from the same computer where it was submitted, so plan ahead! Voting closes 12 hours after the close of the challenge. Winners will be announced with the Monday post. Hope to see you back then.

    Also–be careful when you tell people to vote for a number. Writers can delete their links whenever they want, and that would change everyone’s number. Just FYI. Thanks!

    1. Thank you very much. It’s still fresh; we’re all still processing. It was good to write it as fiction, and very therapeutic to distill the magnitude of the moment into 33 words

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