Excerpt: The Shortest Distance

A few days ago, I interviewed author Miriam Ruff about her book of short stories, The Shortest Distance. Someone asked in comments if there was an excerpt available of the book, as he would like to get a taste of her work before ordering the book.

It pays to ask a question in comments. Miriam has agreed to allow me to post a story from her book here—I think you may be motivated to buy the book after reading the story. Bear in mind that there is a wide variety of stories in the book, so one story doesn’t give a true feel for the content. As you know if you’re a regular here, I prefer stories that are happy or that show people at their best. If you like science fiction or dark stories, you’ll find those in The Shortest Distance as well.

But first, here’s a snippet from a review by Jennifer Stewart of Write101:

The topics of the stories range from everyday life and its problems (getting your first car, dealing with body image issues, facing divorce and more), to love and anger, and then on to some wonderful science fiction.

Truly, there’s something for everyone in this collection!

Read the full review.

Miriam gave me the choice of the excerpt to post, so I chose my favorite story, “The Well:”

The well was deep. If you dropped a pebble inside, you had to wait for what seemed an eternity before it finally splashed into the water at the bottom. The edge of the well was cracked, the mortar eroding, the bricks loose. The pail was stained and dented from extended use.

Michael was claustrophobic. The thought of descending into the damp darkness below made sweat bead his forehead and his breath become shallow. If it were up to him, he’d run away in a second. But Sarah, his four-year-old niece, had been playing by the well when the edge crumbled, and now she was trapped somewhere below. He couldn’t abandon her, no matter what his fears.

He knew he had to move quickly. He tested the line connecting him to the winch, and stepping over the broken edge, he lowered himself into the abyss.

You can order The Shortest Distance in print or PDF on Miriam’s Web site.

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