Zack Umstead, Young Writer

July 13, 2012


Filed under: Shorts — Zack @ 1:39 PM

I wrote this short story a few weeks back for a contest on a great blog called Teens Can Write, Too! Unfortunately, I didn’t win, but I figured “Hey, why not share it on the blog?” A little detail, though: the contest required the pieces to be around 200 words, and the prompt was “Beginnings”. Trust me, I would’ve loved to write more than 200 on this particular piece. But, due to those constraints, I cut it down to this, which I titled “Spark”. Enjoy!


“The end is nigh!”

The man stood in Times Square with his basic cardboard sign. The word ‘repent’ was scribbled across it in black Sharpie. His companion a few yards away carried a professionally printed sign and handouts, which he was currently attempting to force into the hands of a man in his late thirties. The man politely declined and tipped his derby hat at the owner of the cardboard sign. He then straightened his tie and walked off.

William’s hat had caused a few beads of sweat to form on his head, and his wrinkled brow allowed them to coalesce. The liquid was suddenly shaken loose as he allowed himself to chuckle at the irony of being told the world would soon end. William didn’t need flyers to tell him what to do — he was going to do it.

Today was the beginning of the end of this imperfect world, and William had the honor of being the spark for the fire. Soon, his companions would continue the work of ending this world and building the utopia that humanity desperately needed.

But William would never see this future. He walked to an officer writing a ticket for an illegally parked painter’s van. “Is there a problem?” he asked in his thick Welsh accent.

“Yeah, this van shouldn’t be ‘ere. What’s it gotta do with you?”

“Well, that happens to be my van.”

“Is it? Well, ‘ere’s your ticket.” He ripped the slip off his pad and handed it to William.

“Cheers.” William reached into his pocket and flipped the switch.



  1. enjoyed , that …

    Comment by — July 13, 2012 @ 5:57 PM | Reply

  2. I. Want. More.

    Comment by Jack — July 13, 2012 @ 5:59 PM | Reply

  3. this is good, it should be expanded into a larger story!

    Comment by Patrick Moyer (@QQProductions) — July 18, 2012 @ 9:51 PM | Reply

  4. Hi Zack, I like the way you tie the beginning and the end of the story together; it isn’t easy to present a complete story in only 200 words. This is a well constructed story with an easy to read voice. Very enjoyable.

    PS: Thanks for following on twitter.

    Comment by Gayle Beveridge — July 25, 2012 @ 6:05 PM | Reply

  5. This was a great post to see on my first visit to your blog. I agree with Jack, I want to read more! I will definitely take the time to look through what else you have written, and I look forward to checking back in the future. Well done.

    Comment by CLT Photography — September 23, 2012 @ 9:53 AM | Reply

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