POV Writing Challenge: Week 1, Sample 2


Hot on the heals of NaNoWriMo and determined to keep the energy flowing, a group of writers and I have decided to take up a 4-week writing challenge. After a month of spewing words out as fast as possible, we are taking a step back and focusing on craft, specifically looking at point of view through flash fiction. If you are interested in how the challenge works and want to follow along, check out the details here.


© Katie Rene Johnson, 2016

Attempt #2

The Brooklyn Bridge steeped history into those that cared to look for it, a handful of the millions of feet that crossed its planks reveling in the grandness of it all. Its dual arches dwarfed the ambling procession below. Couples peeled off to the side where the walkway widened, snapping photos and posing for the city in the background. Evan Thomas stepped off to the side, eyes tracing along the spiderweb of cables and hangers that gave the bridge its strength.  

A woman’s laughter lilted over the wordless drone of the crowd, as her boyfriend dangled one-handed from a hanger cable, feet dangling inches from the ground. The boyfriend flashed her a grin and swung forward as he let go of the cable. A small velvet box pressed into his shin as he dropped, and he thought for a second it might tumble out of his sock and spoil the surprise. Only half convinced it would remain, the man swept his girlfriend up in twirl, her feet lifted off the walk, hair flipping around at the spinning breeze.

The woman’s laughter tingled against Evan’s heart, and he stepped further down the into the arch’s shadow, leaving the couple behind. A bronzed nameplate at the base of the bridge tower caught his eye, and he traced a finger along its edges, reading the inscription. The bridge spoke to him, sharing its knowledge and history with him in waves of goosebumps, and he closed his eyes.

A few yards away, Sarah Ray wedged her way through the crowd. She had wanted to be home an hour ago, but her boss kept her late again. If she had left on time, she wouldn’t have been caught in the pedestrian rush heading over the river, but things never seemed to go her way anymore. The tower congestion cut off her path and a the young man bumped into her as he put his girlfriend back on the ground.  Sara spun around to give him a piece of her mind, but the mob propelled her straight into Evan.

Evan’s eyes shot open as Sarah’s briefcase collided with him and fell out of her hand. It broke open on the slats of the walkway, spewing its contents in all directions. Directing her anger at Evan instead of the young couple, Sarah shrieked, “What is wrong with you!” and fell to her knees, fingers chasing papers and dodging footsteps. The swelled migration of feet split around the two of them as Evan dropped to his knees after her, sweeping up errant pages.

The two reached for a blueprint at the same time and their hands brushed. Sarah pulled away as heat rose up her cheeks, and Evan hesitated with eyes only for the plan laid bare on the wooden plank. He moved it carefully into the suitcase as Sarah watched with incredulity. If that piece had been ruined, she would have been ruined.

Evan looked up, eyes catching Sarah’s gaze and he cocked an apprehensive smile. He held out his hand and helped her to her feet. The crowd behind them cheered as the young man behind them dropped to a knee, velvet box in hand and Evan pulled Sarah out of the way as the group swelled beyond the pedestrian lane. He hadn’t let go of her hand, and she didn’t pull it away.

“Let me make it up to you?”

Attempt #1

133 years of foot-tracked history seeped into Evan’s veins the moment he stepped foot on the Brooklyn Bridge. Millions, maybe billions of footsteps had walked there before him. He wondered over each past step’s intention: commuting, touring, exercising, escaping. How many laborers had left a trail of sweat and blood over the monument’s worn wooden slats? Evan hummed to himself as the flow of traffic pushed him along the pathway. He had dreamed for nearly a decade of crossing the bridge, and he savored each step.

Beneath the first tower, its dual arches dwarfing the ambling procession, the pathway widened and couples peeled off to the side, taking in the view of the city from vacant pockets along the cement barrier. A young man stirred nervous laughter from his girlfriend as he hung one handed from a sweeping hanger cable, feet dangling mere inches from the ground. Behind them, a man with a speckled mustache tilted his camera to the side to better catch the performance.

Evan chuckled to himself as the young man dropped down and swept his girlfriend into a gallant, dipping kiss. A small crowd cheered as he spun her around like no one was watching. It was not unlike something Evan would have done, when he was younger.

The spiderweb of cables converged on chapel peaked arches framed in a perfectly lain stacks of towering brick and mortar. A bronzed nameplate had been set into the base of the tower, and he traced his finger along its edges as he walked by.  He would have given anything to be part of the team that designed the bridge in a time without modern technology – all numbers and angles from a hand-drawn dream. Goosebumps spread up his arm and he closed his eyes for a moment, letting the the resonance of the image overtake him.

A harried woman crashed into Evan from behind. Her briefcase caught on his hip and slipped out her hand, cracking open as it landed on the walk. Papers scattered under passing feet and a week’s worth of late nights and headaches crumpled and tore apart.

“What are you doing?” she shrieked, dropping to her knees and reaching frantically for the papers that evaded her at every turn.

“Oh! I am so sorry!” Evan dropped down beside her, turning the briefcase over and scrambling after papers himself. The woman scowled at him and dropped a tattered sheet into the open case. They reached at the same time for the next sheet, and her heat rose up her neck as her hand brushed across Evan’s.  He barely noticed the touch, eyes focused on the blueprint laid bare on the wood plank.

The woman pulled her hand away, and Evan picked up the plan, setting it carefully into the briefcase before finally looking up into cyanotype eyes. He held out a hand and helped her to her feet. “Let me make it up to you.”


Weekend Flashback: The Platform

Having been a writer for as long as I can remember, I have an arsenal of stories written throughout the years. Looking back on those stories is always fun, both as a reflection of where I was at the time and how far my writing has come. I figured, why not share some of those stories here. They aren’t doing anyone any good locked away in boxes and hard drives.


Weekend Flashback #1 – The Platform (2007)

This piece was written during a creative writing class in college as a personal memoir. The summer before I started college, I spent 10 days in France with my high school French Club and this story recalls an few moments of the hassle and drama of traveling in a large group on public transportation. Enjoy!


            For being in such an exciting place, our train car was awfully quiet. I suppose it had to do with everyone being so exhausted—we had just spent three days walking around Paris and another day exploring the Valley of the Kings. But still, as I looked out the window, tired as I was, and watched the French country side go speeding by, I found it to be simply spectacular. Little villages and towns dotted the fields and meadows, and from time to time a castle popped up on the horizon. I could have watched it for hours had the swaying of the train and the rush of the landscape not made me train-sick.

            Eduardo, our tour guide, stood up all of the sudden and hurried back to where Mr. and Mrs. Chapman sat looking over a map of France. After a few minutes of intense conversation, he centered himself in the middle of the car.

            “Ladies!” he yelled, intentionally loud to wake up those who were sleeping. “Ladies, wake up; pay attention.” Several girls groaned, wiping sleep from their eyes.

            “We may have a problem.”

            He had our attention.

            “I have just realized that we only have ten minutes between trains.” His fingers flickered the number ten as he spoke. “Frankly, this many people and all of your luggage make it a stretch.” Everyone laughed a little. Between twenty-one people, we had a lot of luggage. “Now, add into the mix that we may have to change platforms! Which means probably two flights of stairs with our luggage in ten minutes not to mention getting all of you girls and your luggage off this train and onto the next one.” Speaking rapidly, Eduardo had to stop and take a breath. “So that means I need everyone to pay attention.”

            From there he went into a detailed explanation of how we were to effectively disembark the train. I listened intently with everyone else, thinking to myself that it would really suck to miss the next train because that meant we would miss the one after that and our entire day would be shot. When Eduardo finished, the car erupted in chatter that didn’t break until he stood up again, ten minutes from the train station.

            So, we put our plan into action. Everyone filed boisterously into the aisle. For those of us whose bags didn’t weigh as much as a small whale, we pulled them quickly off the overhead luggage rack. The rest of them waited impatiently for Eduardo and Mr. Chapman to heave the suitcases to the floor. With our luggage in line to make a quick exit, we all played musical train seats and baggage, attempting to unite ourselves with our scattered gear—some of the girls squeezed their way down the narrow aisle, while others crowd surfed their bags down the line.

            By the time everything was somewhat organized, we had pulled into the station. From either end of the car, Eduardo and Mr. Chapman literally chucked our bags out the doors onto the platform, barely giving us girls time to jump out without getting beamed by a flying suitcase.

            On the platform, chaos erupted as Eduardo took off down the platform looking for the nearest attendant. Scrambling to grab our luggage we started to follow him, only to be told to go the other direction because, “We have to change platforms! Everyone follow me!”

            Almost running, Eduardo fled down a flight of stairs, leaving us to follow awkwardly behind, suitcases flipping over off the wheels, skidding on the cement and bags bending their carriers in half with the weight of a thousand souvenirs. The underground passageway between platforms echoed deafeningly with the clank, clack, crash of our luggage sliding, rolling, bouncing down the stairs and up the other side.

            Time progressed in slow motion as we emerged onto the next platform and raced after Eduardo to the correct car. “Go to both ends, load from both ends!” he hollered over the train station ruckus as steam billowed out from underneath the train. A TGV sped by on the opposite side of the platform, rushing everyone with a gust of wind and Eduardo started heaving luggage through the door, ushering whoever was next in line up after it so they half fell into the car, tripping over the bag in front of them. Gradually, the twenty-one of us spilled into the already partially filled locomotive, just as the conductor came over the intercom rambling in French that we had two minutes until departure.

            Steam bellowed from beneath the train again, and the doors closed with a definite, airtight thud. We were still stumbling into our seats as it pulled away from the station and as the last of us sat down, Eduardo announced with triumph, “Eight minutes!”

            We answered with a resounding, “Ugh.”