Friday Fictioneers – Sacrifice – Survival

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 - Sacrifice - Survival 190403

PHOTO PROMPT © Ronda Del Boccio

Sacrifice – Survival

The leaf-stalks, the arteries of the tree, became choked, losing their strength just as the autumn gales blew fiercer. Desiccated leaves clattered in great drifts, leaving the gnarled limbs and wrinkled bark of the tree facing the onrushing fury of winter naked, without protection. Sap sank back into the branches.

A persistent east wind hardened the cold. The tree pulled its sap back deeper, sacrificing more and more of the tightly-wrapped packets of new leaves. It was a killing winter, set to split a tree and bring it down.

Spring came late that year, and the leaves were few.


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46 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – Sacrifice – Survival

    • Dear Neil
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m glad you could see the tree. I’m glad, too, that the word clatter suggested heavy leaves to you. I was thinking of when the gales come late. The leaves have hung on and become desiccated and brittle, and they fall in great drifts in the first gale. To my ear the quality of the noise they make as they blow against fences, walls, etc is ‘clatter’, although I agree that I would more usually apply the word to crockery!
      Best wishes

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear CE
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I took a few liberties with the precise workings of the tree, but it’s certainly the case that it responds to prolonged cold by reducing the cells given over to making new leaves.
      With best wishes


    • Dear Linda
      Thank you for reading and commenting. Yes, a Michigan winter is exactly the sort of scene I had in mind. We very rarely have anything remotely like that in the UK – in fact, the only one I’ve personally experienced was in January/February 1963. The snow lay so long and so heavy that if you dug down into it you found that it had turned into crystals of ice like gravel.
      With very best wishes

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Dear Anurag
    Thank you for reading and commenting. You are very kind about my descriptive writing. If it has any merit, I would ascribe that to always searching for the precise word (especially verbs), the precise detail to illustrate (in this story, the new leaf buds) and, most important of all, studying how really good writers do it – Lynn Love and Neil McDonald are particularly expert among the FF regulars.
    With very best wishes


  2. The image of sap withdrawing further evokes an image of blood withdrawing to the core of the body. Winter can be quite harsh on fauna and flora. We are heading into winter, and because it is semi-desert the temperatures are extreme. Ranging from -3 degress celsius to 27 degrees in one day during the cold dry months. This was very poetic.


  3. I love the portrayal of the tree. Beautiful. And a timely story too – although where I live we don’t have winters like this, we sure have had some extreme summers lately. I think we’re going to see more of the beautiful natural world being sacrificed as our climate changes.


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