Friday Fictioneers – A life for a life

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 - A life for a life 190213

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

A Life for a Life

Once they were past the entrance, only the flimsy door of the apartment kept the gang out.

Robin cowered, white faced in the corner. Magdala yelled down her phone to the police.

“They’re here! Be quick!”

The door burst inwards, hurling screws from its hinges like shrapnel.

Sunlight from the window flared from a knife. A man leapt at Robin.

With a shriek of defiance, Magdala threw herself in front of her lover and felt the blade bite deep into her chest.

“Stop!” called the gang leader. “Let him go. She’s paid. A life for a life is enough.”

74 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – A life for a life

    • Dear Karen
      Thank you for reading and commenting so perceptively. (Serendipitously, at the instant your comment was posted, I had just replied to Sandra’s comment by saying that I’d ramped up each of the verbs as I edited!). I’m really pleased you liked the image of the door bursting open.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Anita
      Thank you for reading and for such a thoughtful comment. I like readers who look beyond the written text, so I’m glad you mention that this is a revenge killing. As you say, true love and sacrifice go together, although for most of us the experience is a good deal less extreme – thank goodness! And, as you say, it’s a Valentine’s day post.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

    • Dear Rochelle
      Thank you for reading and for your kind comments. Have you ever seen a door forced – it’s quite dramatic!.
      I’m afraid I personally don’t think Robin was worth Magdala’s sacrifice, but I hope (and expect) that Magdala did in the dying seconds of her life. Living a good life includes dying a good death, and saving the life of the man you love must rank pretty high on the scale of getting it right.
      Shalom
      Penny

      Like

    • Dear Dale
      Thank you for reading, and for your very kind comments. I’m delighted that you felt the build-up was effective. As you say, Magdala must have loved Robin passionately to sacrifice her life for him. I guess we could conclude that whatever our own reservations about Robin, Magdala herself felt that he was worth it.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 2 people

  1. These people were there to take one life for one already lost. It did not matter to them whose life. Poor Magdala gave her life up to save Robin, we don’t know what did he do to make so many people angry.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Lish
      Thank you for reading and commenting. You’re right that I’ve written the story to suggest that Robin is a coward and hence perhaps not worth saving, but I’m being a little deceptive. To me, the really interesting question is whether Magdala felt he was worth saving by her sacrifice. A good life includes a good death, and she may well feel that sacrificing herself for her true love is a good death. But, of course, there’s plenty of room for a reader to conclude otherwise, and every reader brings their own experience of human nature to the story.
      I’m really glad that my story prompted you to wonder about the value of Robin’s life.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Francine
      Thank you for reading and for your very kind comments. I’m delighted you liked the energy and imagery of the story. And you’re right, there’s a bigger story behind this one – not just that you can make a guess at the way the story arc must have started and how it might finish, but in the moral dimension. I deliberately made Magdala much more emotionally appealing than Robin. Was her sacrifice worth it? How much is a human life worth? And the clue to my personal view (at the time I wrote the story, anyway!) is in the last line.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  2. Lots of beautiful phrasing in this tragic scene. The shrapnel, the sun flashing off the knife, the bite of the knife in her chest. Her self-sacrifice makesus wonder if he was worth saving, as many have noted above. One can only hope he extricates himself from this gang business, in tribute to her.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Andi
      Thank you for reading and commenting so kindly. I really appreciate the detail of your comments. I, too, hope that he extricates himself from the gang, but I fear he lacks both the courage and intelligence to do so.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn
      Thank you for reading and for your thoughtful comments. I’m glad the build-up of tension worked so well. When I edited, I checked each of the verbs, to make sure that each was as dynamic as possible.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

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