A Periodic Sentence #AtoZChallenge

May 4, 2019 | Fiction, On Writing

With bad weather approaching, Robbie’s wife Kara begged him not to take their little boy riding. “But I’ve finished all my homework, Mom!” the child pleaded.

“Fine, Roger,” Kara acquiesced. On seeing similar expressions on Robbie’s and Roger’s faces, Kara could barely contain her laughter. Putting a hand on her husband’s arm, she whispered, “Be careful.”

Because of the coming storms, Robbie told Roger it would have to be a short ride. Quick to agree, lest Dad change his mind about going out at all, Roger mounted the big horse, Nitro, behind his dad. As they crossed the little bridge over Calloway Creek, Roger nervously scanned the sky. Sensing violent weather on the horizon, the horse grew skittish. Nervously tossing his head to and fro, Nitro flattened his ears.

At a quick flash of lightning, followed by the crack of thunder, the horse bolted, turned fast, and stopped suddenly. Terrified as the large horse reared up, its head and mane silhouetted in the flashes of light against a dark sky, little Roger lost his grip on his father’s waist. Struggling against slippery mud, the panicked horse lost its footing. As it tossed Robbie high into the air, its full weight landed on his child. One sharp, iron-shod hoof clipped Robbie in the head.

With Robbie’s memory cutting in and out following the head injury, that terrible, final silence of his son would be, blessedly, a periodic sentence.

In keeping with the old adage, “Show, don’t tell,” I give you pathos and a periodic sentence. And maybe even a bit of #flashfiction in honor of #StoryADayMay. The real Queen of #StoryADay is my friend Marian Allen. Be sure to follow her blog for a daily treat this month!

Nahh, I’m not biased just because I’m such a character.

Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle, illustrated by Jordan Vinyard; A Puppy, Not a Guppy, illustrated by Ryan Shaw; and the newest release: A New Leaf for Lyle, illustrated by Carrie Salazar. She draws inspiration from her family, from her own childhood adventures (some of which only happened in her overactive imagination), and from readers both young and young-at-heart. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, J.J., whose love and encouragement make writing books twice the fun.


  1. Unishta

    First I had to find out the meaning of a periodic sentence. And then I re-read the whole story to find out who it was that died ( senior citizen moment confusing Robbie and Roger).
    What a terrible end. I do know of a real life incident where a rider was killed by his own horse falling on him….. the boy was much older though ( around 17 I think) but it did shatter his family and all those who knew him.
    Unishta recently posted…April is over #GratitudeCircleMy Profile

    • Holly Jahangiri

      I think I put a link on “periodic sentence” at the bottom, didn’t I? I meant to. 🙂 Pathos, too. Yes, my stories often come to horrible ends. I’m sorry. (I once got smacked – literally – by a coworker who was, um, disappointed? shocked? horrified? by the ending of one of my short stories. She didn’t want to believe it ended the way it did, and asked me to tell her her interpretation was wrong. I just smiled, and she SMACKED me! LOL I just laughed – it meant I did it right.

    • Holly Jahangiri

      And that’s terrible that you know someone that happened to. I assure you, from my end, the story is pure fiction.

    • Holly Jahangiri

      Well, Robbie survived, too. But thankfully, for him, he can’t always remember, due to his head injury. 😊


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