I did the exercise described in Mary Robinette Kowal's lecture at BYU but kicked it off from the end of The Lottery. I had just read it and couldn't get it out of my head. Then I expanded it a bit above the 250 word goal mark. I obvously didn't go for the mystique here, which is the beauty of Shirley's story. That's what attracted me though, the description of the violence she implied.
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The silence could have stopped a heartbeat as Tess opened the piece of paper she’d drawn from the black box. Everyone in the little village watched, squeezing the smooth, round creekstones they had each spent the morning collecting for that special day.
“It isn’t fair,” Tess screamed. “It isn’t fair!”
The first stone struck her on the temple.
“No!” She screamed. “We don’t have to keep doing this! Please!”
More stones slammed into her with sharp then dull pain. A stone struck her right breast and she screamed.
Jesse Warner struck air with his fist and howled, “Nice shot, Victor! You got her right in the titty!”
“You clean up that mouth of yours, Jesse Warner.” Old Mamma Warner said as she pushed through the crowd and slapped her teenage son on the crown of his skull. “This is a solemn event. Tessie was our neighbor and we’ll see her off proper.”
A pebble, thrown by little blonde Becky Talmadge, one of Tess’s students at the elementary school, bounced harmlessly off of Tess's homemade gray dress.
"No," Tess screamed at little Becky. "You thon hab to keep thooing this!" She said, her jaw swollen, her bloody teeth on the ground around her.
Little Becky Talmadge stuck out her tongue like a wasp showing it's stinger. Becky's father ran up behind her, his arm cocked in a pitcher's swing.
“Please it’s no--” The words were knocked out of Tess’s mouth by the grapefruit-sized chunk of granite hurled at high speed by Mr. Talmadge.
“Stee-rike!” Somebody in the crowd yelled, and a wave of laughter surrounded and crashed in upon Tess as she fell to her knees and screamed, her jaw growing large, her lips split and swollen. She felt the crepitis of bone with every move.
She looked all around her, oblivious now to every crunching thud that vibrated her, shook her, or made her fall. Blood was pouring down her face and small streaks of light shot across her vision and faded.
"Oh, Tessie!" She heard a cry and turned to see her sister, Mrs. Delacroix, straining, fighting to lift the biggest stone she could find in the village pile. Tess tried, but couldn't remember her sister's name.
"Mami," she cried and ran toward her sister.
Mrs. Delacroix raised the rock above her head, screaming like a scared blackbird.
Tess dove and planted her face in the ground at her sister’s feet. She felt the stone come down on the back of her neck and heard a small pop of release.
The few last stones rained down on Tess’s still body, mostly thrown by children. Her neck broken beneath the large boulder, her head smashed and twisted beneath it, Tess's brain fluid and blood pooled around her.
“Can’t believe you hefted that, Tilly,” said Mr. Delacroix.
“A good stoning in June, means corn’s coming soon!” said Mrs. Peters.
"Oh, she soiled herself," said Mrs. Dalworthy. "My god that smells terrible."
Mrs. Delacroix’s daughter wrapped her arms around her mother’s skirted legs. Her mother barely noticed her and was breathing hard and fast and staring down at the smeared head of her sister.
“Mama, let’s go get some cotton candy.”
Her husband put his arms around her and kissed her cheek, his stiff moustache pressing into her soft skin like old pine needles.
“You fun spoiler. Now you owe me."
He pressed his groin against her thigh and kissed her cheek again."Let’s get home and jump right to the baby making.”
Thanks for reading! If you've got anything to say about this writing please email me. I very much appreciate feedback.