Given A Choice… (Friday Fictioneers, June 2012)

This week’s photo prompt from Madison Woods’ Friday Fictioneers.

She stands at the crossroads, chewing her lip.

That path would bring safety sooner, but there are rumours; people disappearing, no traces found.

Whatever lurks in the forest gnaws at the scant reserves of her courage, but the memory of the tainted malevolence in pursuit overwhelms her.

“Screw it,” she yelps, plunging headlong through the trees, fending off thorny arms that reach out, seemingly whipping her legs into ever faster flight.

She emerges exhausted, ears still ringing with the petrifying screams of her pursuer, as all traces of his wickedness were obliterated from this earth.

Evil, it seems, prefers to feast on evil.

About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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51 Responses to Given A Choice… (Friday Fictioneers, June 2012)

  1. Dear Sandra,

    I am not one to often offer constructive criticism because I know so little about the English language from a scholarly point of view, but (always a but, ‘eh?) I thought your fourth sentence too full of ‘ings’ and that ‘seemingly’ adverb. I also think that if your protagonist’s situation was as dire as your words intimate, that she would certainly not ‘yelp’. She seems very asture and capable and would know not to make a noise. Hence her ‘decision’ in my alternative below.

    You have never struck me (because I live way over here:) as a person averse to such input, but let me know if I’ve over stepped my bounds. Just conversing as you while away the morning.

    ( “Screw it,” she decides, and plunges headlong through the trees, fending off thorny arms that reach out to whip her legs to ever faster flight. )

    I loved your story and the forthright and courageous nature of your protagonist. Glad she’s fast.




    • Sandra says:

      Hi Doug, of course I don’t mind your input. I originally had written ‘cried’ as opposed to ‘yelped’, but changed it, and I don’t have a problem with the alternative you suggested. I’m fairly relaxed about the ‘ings’ though; I’ve done far more ‘ings’ than that in a sentence – in fact I’ve been dubbed the ‘queen of gerunds’ before now. 🙂 But I appreciate the thought you’ve put into your comment. Thanks for reading.


  2. Brandon Scott says:

    Love it! Evil feasting on evil always makes for a good time.


  3. One courageous lady and she deserves to live. A fine story and take on the prompt. Mine is here:


  4. TheOthers1 says:

    Just as it should be


  5. This was very well done. I loved the last line! Thank you for your kind comments on mine:


  6. janmorrill says:

    I loved all of your allusions to being devoured — chewing, gnaws, feast. Excellent!



  7. erinleary says:

    I always love reading yours. The last line is a winner.

    MIne is here:


  8. rgayer55 says:

    I’ve always heard it was the 2nd in line that gets bitten by the snake–the first one just stirs ’em up. Maybe that’s what happened here, but your closing line was excellent.

    thanks for visiting mine. Here’s the link for other brave enough to face the bear (pun intended) facts


  9. elmowrites says:

    Hey Sandra! Love your last line here, and the way it ties into the title. You conjured up the menace of the chase without ever showing us the chaser, and I enjoyed it immensely. So glad your character got away in the end.
    I’m over here, although you’ve already been – thank you!:


  10. What a twist at the end!! At first reading, I didn’t entirely realize that her pursuer was different from what lurked in the forest, but that became obvious later. We never do find out just what was after her, but I guess that’s not the point of the story, is it?

    Thanks for commenting on mine –


    • Sandra says:

      The un-named, undescribed horror is always more horrifying I think. Or does it just depend on the reader’s imagination…? Thanks for commenting.


  11. Enjoyed your story–so glad the character made her escape–it was a thrill ride. I especially liked your last line, also. I believe she made the right choice. 🙂


  12. I love any character who’s decision includes the phrase, ‘screw it’! I also enjoyed the concept of evil feeding off itself. Creeeepy cool. Thanks for visiting earlier.



  13. Brian Benoit says:

    Took me a few reads to get it (mostly because I missed the fact that there was both a pursuer, and something evil ahead which later intercepts that pursuer) but once I got past my own density I really like it! “Gnaws at the scant reserves of her courage” was a particularly good line, from pacing to sound to imagery. Nice!

    Brian (


  14. Janet says:

    Liked the story Sandra, especially “Whatever lurks in the forest gnaws at the scant reserves of her courage” – nice image.


  15. SAM says:

    This is full of all my favorite things–a strong female character, mystery, and somethings wicked to add a nice twist. Love the direction you went with the prompt.


  16. That was brilliant! Really, really good! The heroine was saved and Evil got its just deserts. So well-written. Mine’s here:


  17. Oooh… creepy! The namelessness and facelessness of evil sustained the tension.


  18. wendystrohm says:

    Now this looks fun – I’m too late for this one – but am following so I can take part in the next.
    Found you through Pollly – http:/


  19. tollykit says:

    Loved it 🙂 Makes a nice change for evil to feast on evil rather than on innocence. A good courageous character. Hope to meet her again.

    And for your readers here’s mine


  20. JKBradley says:

    Ah! So she drew the ‘tainted malevolence’ down the path where a greater evil lurked. I liked this very much. The pacing was excellent, and the dark theme, in it’s way, enchanted me. Thank you.

    Here’s mine:


  21. Kwadwo says:

    Survival of the fittest. With that sturdy attitude, she deserves her breakthrough.

    Mine’s here:


  22. Madison Woods says:

    I like that she made it through the path unharmed and yet the evil feasted on evil instead. Great story!


  23. Lora Mitchell says:

    Perfect portrayal of a strong woman for a change. The modern version of “Wonder Woman”… Nice work as usual. Here’s mine:


  24. Sandra says:

    Thank you Lora.


  25. Scott Hays says:

    A nice twist on Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” (on steroids). Nicely paced with multiple memorable images (a lurking presence that gnaws at her courage, the tainted malevolence in pursuit, evil feasting on evil). Thanks for the kind words about mine, which others might see at


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