Friday Fictioneers – The offering

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF The offering 170830

Photoprompt (c) Roger Bulltot

The Offering

“Dad, may I go into the ruin?”

Russell smiled at his eight-year-old son, John.

“OK. No climbing, mind.”

In the cool shadows, John could feel the holiness of the place. There was a special silence that was full of voices chanting. He took out a trowel from his backpack, and the silver teaspoon that his mum had bought him at the seaside because he had wanted it so much. There, amid the echo of centuries of prayer, he buried the spoon, and wished with all his might.

In her hospital bed, John’s mum peacefully abandoned her struggle against cancer.

65 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – The offering

  1. Ah, Penny, this is so moving, gorgeously written. Do you imagine that’s what John hoped for, for his mum to pass away? Or did he just want her suffering to be over? You have to be careful how you word wishes, we all know that. Lovely stuff – the right balance of love, hope and bittersweet sentiment

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Here is my logical mind trying to figure out the symbolism or connection to a silver teaspoon. Maybe it’s just something special she bought for him that he is letting go of as he lets go of his mom… Anyway, lovely and touching story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment. There could well have been some symbolism about the offering, but in fact – this time – there was no intentional symbolism; it was just John’s most treasured possession.


  3. Such a heart-wrenching gesture, to sacrifice a treasured possession that reminds him of his mother. I can’t help but think his prayer was for her to live, though, and that he will be horribly devastated at the way fate chose to end her pain. What child that age doesn’t wish for that, against all odds, promising anything to the gods, just to get his mother back? My heart goes out to him and his father, either way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Joy
      Thank you for your kind comment, which is full of insight.
      Although I like to leave plenty of scope for the reader’s own interpretation, I obviously have my own view, and I agree totally with you. John wanted his mother to live and be healed, and that was what he wished for.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Rochelle,
    Thank you for your kind words. Yes, I imagined John as a child who is sensitive to atmosphere, as you say, ‘intuitive’. Your comments are always helpful!


    • Thank you for the helpful comment Michael. You’re right, it has unfortunate overtones of being born with a silver spoon in his mouth…
      It was quite hard to imagine something precious that a fairly small boy might reasonably have. A favourite soft toy perhaps? I felt that was a bit infantile for such a significant act. I could see him on holiday the previous year, hanging his nose day after day over the silver spoon in the antique shop, and his mum buying it for him.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Jelli,
    Thank you for your encouraging comment.
    Yes, it’s a very sad story. But sadness and loss are an inescapable part of life, and the pain of them comes from the love that has given us joy. The beauty of a dappled scene depends equally on both the shadows and the light.


  6. I feel so terribly sad for the child.
    It’s So unfair that he should have to lose a precious treasure and a treasured precious , together.
    But then again , perhaps, God wanted him to bury her memories for more acceptance on his part .
    Heart wrenching and so beautifully written .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Moon
      Thank you for the lovely comment.
      You have such a tender heart!
      I think that although it seems unfair that John should have the double loss of his reassure and his mum, it will actually help him. He can feel that he did absolutely everything in his power to help keep her alive, and that is always some consolation.
      With warmest wishes

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks so much for the response and the wishes , Penny.
        Reading your beautiful stories is always a pleasure. And I get to learn so much.
        Thanks and best wishes for a wonderful weekend .

        Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, Mrs C! Thank you so much for the lovely comment! I’m a firm believer that fiction is a collaborative effort between author and reader, so if you feel strongly that he knew she was passing as he made the wish, then that’s how it is for you. My feeling as the author is that he wished desperately for her to live and be well again.
      With best wishes

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sad and beautiful. I love how everything is connected and the child, with his still naive and untainted faith, gives up what is precious to him and whishes for his mother. Can we ever wish as intense again as we do as children? He probably wished her to not be in pain any more.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. There is a peacefulness and a purpose about this prose which is obvious from the first line. The picture of prayer formed in both John and reader’s head is powerful. As is the balance brought by the final line. This is one of my favourite stories this time round. Thank you for sharing with us, Penny.


  9. Dear Kelvin
    Thank you for your careful analysis of my story. I deeply appreciate the care and thought that you have given to it. I have learned from it, and it will improve my writing in future.
    I am delighted you enjoyed the story; your praise means a lot to me.
    Thank you once again!
    With best wishes


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