Friday Fictioneers – Random Shooting

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!

I was uninspired this week (my bad – the prompt is good) so I wrote about an event that actually happened to me in 1973. Yes, it’s a true story!


Random shooting

Rush hour was past, and there was only one person in the carriage with me as we squealed and rattled towards the suburbs, through a canyon of tenement buildings with mean back-yards. I gazed out, enjoying the last of the daylight.

A man emerged from one of the houses.

‘Heavens! He’s got a gun!’ I thought.

He raised the weapon.

There was a ‘Bang!’ and the window just forward of mine cascaded onto the floor in a thousand crystalline shards. The other passenger and I exchanged glances, both of us unharmed.

I never knew who did it, or why.

Inlinkz – click here to join the fun!

27 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – Random Shooting

    • Thank you for your empathic comment, Gabi. It was a most odd experience. Between seeing the man with the gun, and the shot that shattered the window, the time was so short that there was no time to feel frightened.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your helpful comment. It’s good to know that the image of me and the other passenger looking at each other brought you into the story. Yes, humanity is broken – but not beyond hope.


  1. So this is you feeling uninspired eh? Wow. I just love ‘a canyon of tenement buildings with mean backyards’. But it was true! What a horrific experience! I can just imagine how you must have felt afterwards, realising what a close call you’d had.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for such affirming comments, Margaret. I’m glad you enjoyed ‘a canyon of tenement buildings with mean backyards’. The feeling that has stayed with me from the incident is a sense of unreality. It happened; a pile of shattered glass proved it; but it just seemed so unlikely that I’d been in mortal danger that it hardly affected me. Odd, eh?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn
      Thank you for your kind comment. Yes, if the gun man had shot a second later, I might not be here to write this. And yet, somehow it’s very difficult for me to really appreciate that. I didn’t feel in danger at the time, and I suppose that’s because the train took me away immediately from the threat. The gun man wasn’t going to get another shot.
      Very best wishes
      Penny xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Can’t believe this actually happened. That’s horrifying. My other half was in a pub in London years ago when a man ran through the bar being chased by police. The man knocked into my other half and words were spoken. It was only afterwards that others round the table told my husband the man being chased was carrying a hand gun. They feel like Sliding Doors moments, don’t they? The what ifs of life

        Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, it does seem unlikely doesn’t it? This was the time of the Irish troubles, and we were all aware of the risk of a bomb on the underground – but shooting? well, no. I think it was just some bored moron shooting up the train for fun, but I never knew.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Penny,

    The way the window shattered in a cascade of crystalline shards, made me think of the way one sees things almost in slow motion at a time like that. Well written. Glad no one was hurt in the construction of this story. 😀



    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Rochelle
      Thank you for your insightful comment. That sense of slow motion as the glass cascaded was exactly what I wanted to convey.
      😉 I like your comment ‘Glad no one was hurt in the construction of this story.’
      Penny xx

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your kind comment, Tannille. Whether there was divine intervention or not, I’m glad to have had the almost 50 years of life since the incident! Strangely, I wasn’t particularly shaken. The train was moving at about 30 mph, so it was a danger that vanished as soon as it was apparent. I’ve certainly come closer to death at least twice…but I’ll save those for other occasions when I’m stumped for a story!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. To me, it’s the random acts of violence that are the most terrifying. I have a friend who was in an active shooter situation. It was focused, and her office was down the hall, but it was still very traumatic for her.

    Liked by 1 person

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