A Billybuc Writing Challenge--The Mountain of No Hope

Our friend and fellow hubber Bill Holland (billybuc) has issued a challenge. As he stated (rather eloquently, I might add):

Let’s see what you’ve got. Let’s get the creative juices flowing. This is a safe place for all writer wannabees. This is just a chance for writers to enjoy other writers, meet some new people, form some new friendships….that sort of thing.

And this is a chance to free ourselves, at least partially, from the ridiculous pursuit of the perfect SEO article which HubPages usually forces down our throats.

Cast off the chains and for one day, sit down and write the way you want to write, rather than the way the Google gods demand you write.

How could I resist? So here are the rules:

  1. We must have the word Mountain in our title

  2. We must include and mention the 3 photos he provided.

  3. Short story ….flash fiction…. No word limit …. No prequel… No sequel

  4. Publish the finished article by September 10th

So let's begin.

"The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor."

--Albert Camus

Twelve Months

I love Winter. The days are brief; most of the 24 hours are colorless and cold. No one notices that you stay indoors, hidden away. In Winter I don’t think, or sometimes I think too much. Sleep is good.

Spring—the months of March to June are filled with rain and wind. Another excuse to avoid.... But flowers bloom and trees bud out for the future. I'm not sure there really is one.

Autumn—she’s the equivocating bitch. Sometimes cold and dreary. But then, she goes all warm and cheerful. Almost like Summer. Stifling heat, sweat, and blinding-bright sunlight.

I hate her most of all.

“It was not really alarming at first, since the change was subtle, but I did notice that my surroundings took on a different tone at certain times: the shadows of nightfall seemed more somber, my mornings were less buoyant, walks in the woods became less zestful, and there was a moment during my working hours in the late afternoon when a kind of panic and anxiety overtook me…”

– William Styron, Darkness Visible

The Safe Place

My grandparents had a farm; we lived there for a while.

The barn was a special place. The sun shining down through the loft would fill the air with a million dust motes. I told myself that they were stars and I was up in the heavens with them like an astronaut, or maybe an angel.

When the screaming got too loud I would hide in the barn.

I still go there every day, but only in my imagination. I feel safe there.

How can you be so selfish?

Don't you know how much you are hurting those around you, the people who care about you?

Why don't you just snap out of it?

Questions, Endless Questions

OK questioners. I dare you to spend a day in my life, an hour in my existence, a moment in my mind. Step right up--let me show you the fog that muddles my thoughts. Did I brush my teeth today, or was it yesterday, and who really cares?

Heart pounding, gasping like I'm the engineer on a runaway train. I'm in a panic and I don't know why. I feel sweaty and light-headed and my mouth is filled with cotton. There is nothing to fear, but I fear everything. I want to run away from my body.

That runaway train? It derailed. It's just sitting there now, on abandoned tracks, molding, rusting. I'm trapped inside of it and there's no way out.

Am I loved? How could I be? I'm not that person. I'm not anything. He died.

If You Are Feeling Depressed

There is someone you can talk to, 24 hours per day. They do not judge or scold. They are there to offer support and to LISTEN.

You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Or go to their website at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

© 2016 Carb Diva

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Comments 28 comments

Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 7 weeks ago Author

Thank you John. I kinda surprised myself on this one, but once I knew what approach I wanted to take the words came together quite easily. But I don't want to write "dark" like this very often. I much prefer to imagine something good simmering in the kitchen.

Jodah profile image

Jodah 7 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

Wow, Carb Diva, I am late reading this response to Bill's challenge. You certainly took a unique viewpoint and totally surprised with this short look into depression and mental illness. Great work.

manatita44 profile image

manatita44 2 months ago from london

Thank you, Carb Diva. Appreciate your input on my comments. Have a great weekend.

Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 2 months ago Author

Thank you Manatita. I have been reading your comments over on Eric's sermons. I'm glad that you found me here.

manatita44 profile image

manatita44 2 months ago from london

Succinct and sweet and with a creative start. Cool!

Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 2 months ago Author

Venkat - Thank you for your kind words. I remember when you wrote a fiction piece last year and it was excellent. Your appraisal means a great deal to me. Although this style is certainly outside of the norm for me, I found it very easy to produce.

Perhaps Billybuc's dark side is rubbing off on me?

Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 3 months ago from Hyderabad, India

Great presentation, Carb! I never saw you writing like this before. This is entirely a different voice. You said so little, but so enormous to digest. Excellent work. I am extremely awestruck.

Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 3 months ago Author

Thank you Nell. I appreciate your support.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 months ago from England

Wow! totally different, and really intense! nice one!

Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 months ago

Carb Diva, recipes may be much easier

But, they don't curb the appetite

For the zest for life

This hub has fed an inspirational need

As you cooked up this wonderful read




Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 3 months ago Author

Thank you Dreamermeg.

DreamerMeg profile image

DreamerMeg 3 months ago from Northern Ireland

Wow, with short stories like that, I hope this story would reach out to those who need to recognise they need help and enable them to feel safe in doing so.

Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 3 months ago Author

Bill, your approval means more to me than you'll ever know because you, my friend, are one of the best. You DO dark. Out of my comfort zone? Heck yes, and then some.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

Holy crap!!!!!!!

Can I say that?

Is this the same Linda I know?

I'm filing this away until deadline and then I'll read them all again, but a quick note to say you took on the challenge and tackled that s.o.b. to its knees. Well done my recipe-writing pro.


Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 3 months ago Author

Thank you Shyron. This was difficult--recipes are much easier.

Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 months ago

Diva, this is a new twist, like Eric says, captured the hell of the lost and lonely.

Keep writing you have a great imagination.


Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 3 months ago Author

fpherj48 - Thank you. I know this is more than a bit different for me. Glad to know that you think it worked.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Diva.....OH! another response to bill's challenge! I nearly missed this one. Very glad I didn't. This is an interesting twist, Diva. Takes your readers into a bit of mystery and darkness. I like that! Fascinating how you injected the quotes of other minds and they fit so well.

You have shown a whole new & exciting side to your writing!! Bravo!!

Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 3 months ago Author

Marcoujor - I do not think we have communicated before. I am glad that you stopped by today. Thank you for your kind words.

Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 3 months ago Author

Flourish - I am sorry if this hub resurrected sad feelings for you. I wrote this intending to make people wonder. Perhaps I should add a link(s) at the end on how to contact a hotline for depression. It affects more people than we realize.

marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

Sad, somber and ever so powerful - beautiful submission to Bill's contest.

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 months ago from USA

My interest was especially piqued by the part about "when the screaming got too loud I would hide in the barn." It creates so many questions about the source of pain for this anxiety-filled person who also seems to be crushed by depression, exhibiting hypersomnia and social avoidance and contemplating not being here in the future. Over the years, I've had relatives from multiple generations who committed suicide, and this is probably close to what they felt.

Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 3 months ago Author

Eric - I wondered if you would see this and what your reaction would be. I thank God that you are in a good place. Will you be contributing to the "challenge" as well?

Whether you do or not, I look forward to your next Hub. Hope you have a great weekend my friend.

Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 3 months ago Author

Annart - I intentionally wrote in a very vague, guarded way so as not to reveal too much. I am glad this "left you wondering". My work here is complete!

Thank you so much.

Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 3 months ago Author

Bravewarrior - You are so right. This is NOT my style of writing at all. The most angst I've shown lately is what to do with a dozen quail eggs. I am glad that you liked it. And, you are very kind.

bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida

Diva, you've really stepped out of your comfort zone. I've always known you are a great writer and this proves it. I'll be adding your link to the end of my post.

annart profile image

annart 3 months ago from SW England

Wow! What a story. It's left me wondering about all sorts of things. There's something sinister here and it's overwhelming. You've created atmosphere in spades and I'm overawed.

Great stuff!


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

This is great! You captured that hell quite well. Boom right to the heart.

You made me give thanks that I am not there -- for today.

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