12 Days of Fiction, Day 10: Ten Lords A-Leaping

Welcome to the tenth post of the “12 Days of Fiction” series, where a volunteer writer is assigned a random writing prompt from the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” All writing on the prompt must be done in 10 minutes or less.

 by E8 Album HQR Initiative

Volunteers have been cultivated through the original 12 Days of Fiction invite, the Catholic Writers Guild members-only Facebook page, my Facebook page… and I think that’s it. Thanks to Random.org for the random number generator.

Please welcome Nicolle French Bailey, a member of the Catholic Writers Guild, a wife, mom, and an artist. Take it away, Nicolle!


Marc couldn’t figure out how he should be expected to wake up, let alone go for the 3K conditioning run charted for him. As he tried to choke down the cafeteria food, loudspeaker Christmas carols mocked him. One look out the wide windows told him it was pouring rain outside.

“Go old school,” his coach back home had begged him, but now all Marc wanted to do was phone Coach Carl and whine. How was Marc supposed to do what everyone back home expected—erase the 42 cm between him and his next contender in the national triple jump standings? Marc had been at university for one term and it had wiped him out. Finals and papers were so exhausting he’d not even made it to the athletic department training table this morning, settling for this gelatinous muck in front of him.

His window was about 17 months. In that time, Marc had to figure out how to fly like an eagle. How would he make it into the top ten and get to the Olympic trial jump-off?

“… Eleven pipers piping, ten lords a-leaping, …” teased the canned music.

Words from Coach Carl, months ago, pushed back Marc’s fog. “No one knows ‘til they’ve really pushed themselves. That includes you, leaper boy!”

Ten lords a-leaping, indeed, thought Marc, Time to face the music and dance. He walked out into the downpour.

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