A Miserable End (100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups, May 2012)

This week’s challenge was the phrase ‘the flame flickered before…’


The flame flickered before it finally expired.

“That was the last candle,” he sighed.

“I know.”

We sat at the window in darkness.  Only one house had a light at the window, the others had succumbed to the darkness days ago.

“Should we go round there and see if they’ll let us in?”

“Did we let anybody else in, when we still had light?”

He didn’t reply; it had been his decision to ignore the frantic knocking.

I wished it over now.

Annie stirred, and slipped a hand into mine.

“Don’t worry Mummy,” she said, “the sun’ll come out tomorrow.”

About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in By the Way ..., Just Sayin'. Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to A Miserable End (100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups, May 2012)

  1. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Sandra,

    When I see your name on the feed, i stop to read. When I read, I’m usually satisfied that I did. This self reinforcing feedback loop should let you know that you are a good writer. The piece that prompted this response is a good example. Slow tightening of the screws until the only thing that will relieve the tension is an innocent sentence uttered by a child. Let’s hope she’s right.




  2. dmmacilroy says:

    Argh! Nothing worse than writing a nice comment only to have it disappear into the ozone in the button pressing procedure.

    Substitute a long, eloquent, praise laden comment of your choice in this spot. I cannot duplicate the light and golden touch of my previous words. Suffice to say that, as usual, I enjoyed your story.




  3. Sandra says:

    Nothing nicer than having TWO nice comments Doug! Thank you. 🙂 When I’m in France (as I am now) WordPress can be very sluggish to respond, either incoming or outgoing. And sometimes I just can’t get on at all and have to keep re-booting the mobile connection. Maybe that’s why the first one was late getting here. But I appreciate them both. 🙂


  4. dmmacilroy says:

    Well, since you got to read them both, I’m glad my second comment and its attendant description of the first was accurate. I envy you your floating world. Dangle your digits in the water for me and I’ll sniff a plumeria blossoom for you.

    Aloha Sandra. 😀


  5. ooh a mystery as to ahy they wouldnt let anyone in 😛 really good way to end the prompt left me wanting to find out more and wonder if they will be ok!


  6. TheOthers1 says:

    Fabulous last line. Very hopeful.


  7. That was great. Left me wandering why they have all been plunged into darkness. Almost sounded post apocolyptical. The child’s last words shines light on the darkness and very powerful line. Great writing!


  8. Sally says:

    I enjoyed reading this, thank goodness for the innocence of children.


  9. jabbersville says:

    Loved your choice of name :0) Let’s hope it does.


  10. Oh my. What disaster has happened in their world? It’s a frightening story till we meet the child, and then it becomes heartbreaking. Good job.


  11. Wow, you had me with the subtle but scary realism of the situation, and the characters coming to grips with this disaster and their own behavior after it had begun. But little Annie’s statement made me glad I wasn’t drinking my coffee yet. It pulled me out of your story like a punchline. From the comments above, I guess that’s just me. I’ve got a ‘Saturday Night Live’ kind of mind.


  12. Like this…some sort of apocalyptic disaster springs to mind…Nicely done 🙂


    • Sandra says:

      As I said in response to the comment above, it’s about the sun not rising, which was always something I used to worry about as a child. Perpetual night, ugh!


  13. erinleary says:

    Eerie and powerful. Lots of mystery in so few words.


  14. Sandra says:

    Thanks Erin. I wonder how long we’d survive if the sun really didn’t rise one day.


  15. This is just excellent. A great idea, and delivered with perfect understatement.


  16. Really enjoyed this. Well written and I want more. x


  17. Mayumi-H says:

    Sandra, I always love seeing how you interpret these prompts. This was no exception. 🙂
    I got a distinct horror movie vibe from the adults’ anxiety. And I loved those lines in the middle, the ones that start “He didn’t reply….” and “I wished it over.” They are full of such quiet dread and hopelessness. And then Annie’s faith brings the light back, just a little bit. Beautiful!


  18. Gilly Gee says:

    Excellent yet again, I love the hopefulness of the child.


  19. ventahl says:

    Apocalyptic but with a child’s vestige of hope. “Did we let anybody else in, when we still had light?” He didn’t reply …. tangible guilt and remorse. Really compelling.


  20. Delft says:

    Beautiful story and very different from the rest. I love how it’s sad without our really knowng the circumstances.


  21. Anne Schilde says:

    For a few seconds there, I thought I was reading a great alternate story line for Paul Revere! I love any story that has Annie in it! 🙂


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