Friday Fictioneers – A Motherless Child

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!

I’m afraid the connection of the story to the photoprompt is very tenuous. My thought was the nurturing of a helpless infant by an older couple, just as the fledgling has been hand reared.

FF - A Motherless Child - 171011

PHOTO POMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy

The Motherless Child

“I can’t tell you how sad I am for you, Maureen,” said Carol.

The white wall-clock ticked away the seconds. There was a smell of disinfectant. My daughter, Diana, looked peaceful now. I stroked her hand. It was smooth and soft – and already cool.

Diana’s new-born baby daughter snuffled in her crib.

“Thank you, Carol.” I took her arm, for she, too, was a grandmother to the child.

“That wastrel son of yours; who’s going to look after the baby?” ground out my husband.

Carol flinched, but I answered “We are, Ted. There’ll be legal things, custody. Will you ring the solicitor?”

56 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – A Motherless Child

    • Thank you for reading and commenting, LLDL
      Because the daughter has died, and the father is not available, the child would be looked after by the state. So the grandparents need to satisfy the family court that they are suitable to raise their granddaughter. A solicitor is pretty nearly essential to do that. Let’s hope they succeed!
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for reading and commenting, Keith. The child has someone to love her, and although Maureen will always grieve for Diana, bringing up her granddaughter will ease some of the pain perhaps.

      Like

    • Thank you for reading and commenting, Linda. I think grandpa will be fine when he gets used to the idea. Maureen is just quicker to realise the practical consequences of the ordeal they’ve suffered, so she sends Ted away to do useful things before he says something unforgivable to Carol.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Admire the descriptions- slow clock, the disinfectant, the cool body- the bare death .
    The grandmothers will be the new baby’s mother, loving her as deeply as they possibly can. I feel more for the daughter- less mother here.
    Wonderfully written, as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Moon
      Thank you for reading and for commenting so thoughtfully. Yes, I’m confident that the grandmothers will make sure the new child feels loved. I wonder what they’ll tell her about Diana – and when? It would be a hard story to tell, and hard for the child to listen to.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

    • Dear Fluid Phrase
      Thank you for your very kind words. Women still die in childbirth, but thank goodness far fewer than there used to be. It’s always a tragedy, and, as you say, there will always be sadness associated with that particular birth. However, I think Maureen is strong enough to rejoice in the child as well as grieve for her daughter.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading and commenting, Laurie. I agree with both your sentiments. The bereavement would be awful, and the grandparents will be wonderful to the baby. Mind you, I wonder how and when they’ll tell her about her mom.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. well I must say that I liked the bit of preface to prep for the reading –
    “helpless infant by an older couple, just as the fledgling has been hand reared.”
    and you portrayed the predicament quite well – and I could really feel the husband’s personality 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Prior,
      Thank you for reading and commenting. Your comment is particularly helpful, because it is the husband who articulates the grief and anger at his daughter’s death, albeit the target for his rage is the missing father of the child.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So sad and touching and this has so many layers. I’m wondering if Carol’s son might be responsible for his partner’s death? Maureen is a strong woman and her grandchild will prosper, but I think her husband might need to buck up his ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sarah Ann,
      I don’t think Carol’s son is responsible for her death. Even today, some women die in childbirth for a variety of reasons. However, he is responsible for abandoning her when he realised she was pregnant. As far as Ted is concerned, I think he will be a good grandpa, and a good surrogate dad, once he gets over the immediate shocking grief of his daughter’s death.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for reading and commenting, Clare. Ted’s anger towards the absent father of the child is really anger against the fate that has robbed him of a daughter. It’s an expression of his grief. When he realises this, he’ll also realise that Carol is not blameworthy.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  4. When I first saw the photo prompt i was reminded of a hospital. So your story fits right into this scenario as if life has got the little one its clutches. Without proper caring gentle hands to care for her, she wouldn’t make it. Nicely crafted Penny 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear JWD,
      Thank you for reading and commenting. In my version of the backstory, the child’s father had made Diana pregnant, then denied the child was his and abandoned her, some months before. You are most welcome to invent your own version! I, too, am glad there are grandparents there to look after the new little girl.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  5. Dear Michael
    Thank you for reading and commenting. I know exactly what you mean when you say “I liked this in a didn’t sort of way.” I often feel the same when I like the writing, but find the content too dark. It’s so kind of you to tell me I’ve captured the emotion brilliantly.
    With best wishes
    Penny

    Like

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