Friday Fictioneers – After the Deluge

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 on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - After the Deluge 200408

PHOTO PROMPT (C) Jeff Arnold

After the deluge

The deluge had been intense but brief, hammering the earth until the road ran red with mud.

In the succeeding calm, Mary sat down at her piano. Her touch on the keys was gentle, loving even, as she played her favourite hymn. She’d learned it, oh, fifty years ago, just before her fiancé, John, had left for Vietnam. Her fingers hesitated as she remembered how he had come back.

She wouldn’t have been able to cope with that, surely?

Her eyes strayed to the window.

A rainbow glowed and her husband, Donald, smiled at her as he gathered roses.

Inlinkz – click to join in the fun!

51 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – After the Deluge

    • Dear Brenda
      Thank you for reading and for your thoughtful comments. I wanted to write a story where the back story was the most important element. Thank you so much for confirming that I achieved my goal.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Rochelle
      Thank you for reading and commenting. Yes, the real story is between the lines. I can’t help feeling sorry for John; he paid a very high price for fighting in Vietnam.
      Shalom, and enjoy a peaceful Passover
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  1. So well done, Penny! You leave much unsaid within this story. Not everyone has the strength to take on a broken person (physically or mentally) and her choice could not have been easy. But in the end, she seems to have found something wonderful. Wonderful read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dale
      Thank you for reading and commenting so thoughtfully. As you say, Mary’s choice couldn’t have been easy, and she still feels regret that she couldn’t cope with John’s brokenness. But she’s pragmatic, and appreciates the happiness she’s found.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • A friend of mine, when he discovered he had multiple sclerosis, told his wife that she could leave the marriage as she didn’t sign up for the long road ahead. And she did. And he has no anger towards her because he offered it to her. I still shake my head when I think about it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dear CE
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I confess it hadn’t occurred to me that John had a lucky escape. However, the text doesn’t rule it out, so as the reader you are perfectly entitled to imagine the scenario!
      I hope your sore throat is recovering.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  2. Okay, I wasn’t paying close enough attention. I had to read it twice to realize you were describing two different men 🙂 AND, by the way, left us wondering how poor Johnny came marching–or limping–or destroyed?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Linda
      Thank you for reading and commenting. Yes, two different men. I tried to differentiate them, but with 100 words there’s a limit to what I could do. You’re right that I want the reader to wonder about Johnny’s condition when he returned from Vietnam. My personal backstory was pretty grim, but the text doesn’t specify so you can imagine whatever seems most likely to you!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Tannille
      Thank you for reading and for your very perceptive comments. Yes, a part of Mary will always love Johnny – at least, as he was before Vietnam. She would rather forget what he was like when he returned, but there’s still that residual guilt for abandoning him.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sandra
      Thank you for reading and for your comment which is full of insight. It’s very kind of you to identify the key line, because it shows that I achieved one of the effects for which I was aiming.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  3. Perhaps it was for the best, their parting of the ways. Mary wouldn’t have done John any good if she’d struggled to cope. And she’s found happiness with Donald. Makes me wonder what happened to John though. Sad and empathetic, thoughtful piece

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn
      Thank you for reading and for your thoughtful comments. I’m so glad you commented in such detail, because you highlight the ambiguity of life, which is exactly what I wished to communicate. Perhaps it was for the best – yes, but Mary will never be absolutely sure. Mary wouldn’t have done John any good if she’d struggled to cope – would she? She doesn’t know. And yes, to have a husband who smiles as he gathers roses for you is a great gift. And John. What happened to him? As with many veterans who are badly damaged psychologically by war, he drops out of sight…
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

    • Thank you, Lynn. Yes, I’m fine and so is my wife, Daphne. Isolation is a little lonely – I miss my trip to the shops every day – but all in all it could be a lot worse. I hope you and your family are well and not suffering too much from cabin fever!

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      • Glad you’re both okay. Yes, we’re fine, thank you. We’re going out for food and walks – carefully, of course – and we’re lucky that we have a garden to sit in. It’s not huge, but we love it. We do count our selves very fortunate. Keep well

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    • Oh, Lish, what a perceptive reader you are! That line is where I started work. I had watched a video of one of my wife’s old school-friends (from over 50 years ago!) playing a hymn on a piano, and I was struck by the spiritual peace of the playing.
      Sitting down to write my FF story I didn’t have any good ideas, although I knew that I wanted tell a story where the past was as important as the present. So I wrote that line, and the story just grew around it. The line is unaltered from the first draft – and I hardly ever do that!
      Thank you so much for reading and commenting.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

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