Monday, October 27, 2014

Most Likely To Succeed (omniscient/flash forward narrative)

“Well, that’s certainly a lot to live up to,” John’s father said, pushing his glasses up his nose. John shrugged and touched the yearbook’s glossy cover. Eighth Grade: Most Likely to Succeed. He hadn’t been expecting it.

* * *

“Spare change, sir?”

“Oh - no, sorry.”

“No worries. God bless.”

John hitched his computer bag higher on his shoulder and continued toward the double doors, concentrating on keeping his steps even and unhurried. He knew it was callous of him to be shaken up by homeless people, but he couldn’t help it. He shouldered through the doors, hands in his pockets, trying to ignore the guilt jumping in his gut. It was quarterly review day, and his sales had been slipping.

* * *

“Do you think you deserve it?” Vivian leaned over the back of her chair.

Her brother John glared at her. “What kind of a question is that?”

“Of course he deserves it,” said their father. “He’s an Erikson man. We all succeed.” He rubbed his chin and looked at the ceiling.

Vivian felt a surge of annoyance. “What about Erikson women?”

Her father stared into space. He didn’t seem to have heard her.

Vivian stared at him for a moment, then turned to John, who had his nose in his new yearbook. Probably reading about how successful he is, she thought. Then John looked up, brown eyes blinking, and Vivian felt a thin guilt somewhere in her ribcage. He’s only fourteen, she reminded herself. Let him have this.

* * *

It had been very quick, said the article. That was the thing all the accounts seemed to emphasize - the speed at which the whole thing had occurred. One neighbor reported hearing a short squeal of tires, followed by a crash, but in the brief moment it took him to look up through his kitchen window, it was all over. His quote was the last thing in the article, just above the closing sentence: Vivian Erikson leaves behind a husband, two children, and her brother, John.


  1. Hey nice flash forward narrative. Your quotes from the people and story are good as well. Thanks for posting.

  2. I think it is cool how you did the flash forward effect in this narrative. When you said that Vivian "left behind" the rest of the family, did you mean that she was leaving them by going to another place? Or was it more of a killing scene where she left them behind in her wake of terror?

    1. I meant it more as if it were an obituary, which usually end with "the deceased leaves behind ______ family members" meaning the family members are still alive.

  3. I enjoyed your super-omniscient narrative! I thought that the dialogue was very effective, and your closing passage was haunting. I would like to read an entire book based off this post!