Friday Fictioneers – Only a cold

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!

PHOTO PROMPT © DALE ROGERSON

Only a cold

It was one of those late fall days, when clouds smear the sun like ice-cream and a chill wind rattles the last leaves.

Pastor Nicholas was coughing in the hallway

“It’s only a cold,” he said, irritably, to his wife, Maisie, and he slammed the door as he set off to visit his parishioners.

Maisie had made him a packed lunch, but he left it unopened. Despite his exhaustion he could feel God working through him, healing broken lives.

That night, Maisie had to call an ambulance. “Pneumonia, exacerbated by overwork,” said the hospital. Maisie was devastated when Nicholas died.

Inlinkz – click here to join the fun!

48 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – Only a cold

  1. Penny,
    That opening line is masterful, a foreshadowing of what’s to come. It’s easy to say that he died doing what he liked, but it’s more than that, isn’t it? “Despite his exhaustion he could feel God working through him, healing broken lives.” What an inspiring life …. and death. May his wife, family and friends be comforted.
    pax,
    dora

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for such a kind comment, Dora. You’re right – it’s much more than dying doing what he liked. As mortals, we know very little of God’s plan, but as Pastor Nicholas lived in faith we can be confident he will receive his reward.
      The true story on which this is based happened in the 1960s. His family did seem to receive consolation, and the vicar’s life and death were inspirational
      Pax
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great atmosphere and descriptions here, Penny. About dieing doing what you love… yes, sure, but I’m always sad when it would have been preventable. He could have helped people for years to come. We have an obligation to ourselves, too, we are part of the whole.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Gabi
      Thank you for such a carefully thought out comment. I know exactly what you mean, and by and large I agree with you. But sometimes there are things that are so urgent that they won’t wait; they just have to be done. A policeman who is killed in the course of his duties might be an example.
      Maybe there was something Pastor Nicholas simply had to do for the sake of other people.
      With very best wishes
      Penny
      xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting how differently I see this.

    Nicholas seems like an ungrateful, self-centered arse to me, ignoring the lunch she prepared for him, denying his obvious illness which he seemed willing to share with his flock, and “…he said, irritably, to his wife, Maisie, and he slammed the door as he set off…” If this man died doing what he loved, it was being jerk. The hero is Maisie!

    Great story from the beginning to the end, Penny. Well written. Loved it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yayyyy! Loud applause and stamping of feet! Thank you for your comment, Bill. I thought that side of Nicholas was going to be entirely overlooked. Yes, ‘irritably’ and ‘slammed the door’ are deliberately there to show that he was far from perfect.
      Nicholas was in some ways a saint; but in other ways he was all too human. And aren’t we all like that when you look at the whole person?
      Very best wishes
      Penny
      xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • OH!, Penny,
        Whew! I was sure I was going to be on your bad side. Yes, we are all skin covered foibles. Glad I got it right. 🙂 Thanks for responding so cheerfully. 🙂
        Back atcha,
        Bill

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your honest comments. I’m very pleased you loved the first paragraph. This is how I responded to Bill.
      “Yayyyy! Loud applause and stamping of feet! Thank you for your comment, Bill. I thought that side of Nicholas was going to be entirely overlooked. Yes, ‘irritably’ and ‘slammed the door’ are deliberately there to show that he was far from perfect.
      Nicholas was in some ways a saint; but in other ways he was all too human. And aren’t we all like that when you look at the whole person?”
      Having thought about it, I suspect there are times when Nicholas himself would have admitted he could be an arse!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for sharing your response to Bill (I didn’t think of going to snoop 😉 )
        No one is a saint 😉
        But one can home that he realised he wasn’t one, on occasion!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I love your ice cream description of the clouds smearing the sun. A foreboding? Perfect depiction of a minister who sets his own needs–and those of his family–behind his parishioners. He should have paid attention to his wife, so he could live to continue blessing his people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for such a kind and thoughtful comment, Linda. I know exactly what you mean, and by and large I agree with you. But sometimes there are things that are so urgent that they won’t wait; they just have to be done. A policeman who is killed in the course of his duties might be an example.
      Maybe there was something Pastor Nicholas simply had to do for the sake of other people.
      Best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved the first line, and the way it set the stage for the story. For the Pastor, the joy of heaven awaited him. It’s a tragic story for his wife and family, though. But, that is the way of things until a different day. Beautiful writing, Penny, as usual!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautifully done, and I liked the visual simile of the ice-cream almost as much a I felt the sorrow of the loss of a many who worked to heal, even as his own body perhaps sought a different level of healing …

    Like

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