Triple Exposure (Friday Fictioneers, July 2012)

This week’s 100 word photo prompt from Madison Woods’ Friday Fictioneers is entitled Grapevine.  It evoked lots of memories of happy years spent in South Africa, and inspired the following (not so happy) piece:

Triple Exposure

A white rosebush once stood sentinel at the end of each row of vines, waxy leaves jewelled with raindrops, velvet petals unfurling under the hot Cape sun.

No rosebushes now.

The vines are blackened, withered by chemicals conceived by incompetents, combined by zealots.

The once red earth is now cracked and grey; a yellow haze lingers over the blue peak of the Simonsberg.

The all-clear sounded months ago, but few people have ventured outside.

Just we three.

Every morning we’re sent out, ostensibly to clear the land.

In our hearts, we know we’re just another bunch of rosebushes.


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.
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78 Responses to Triple Exposure (Friday Fictioneers, July 2012)

  1. dmmacilroy says:

    A bitter haarvest, Sandra, but beautifully described. (I can tell you have experience with rose bushes.) You and your two companions working futilely under the haze shrouded peak of the Siomonsberg make for a compelling cautionary tale. I don’t want to live in that world, but perhaps I already am.




    • Sandra says:

      Thanks for commenting Doug. I wasn’t sure about this one, because I’m not sure how many people are familiar with the purpose of the rosebush planted at the end of each row of vines. For those who aren’t – the rosebush is prey to the same pests, diseases and viruses as the vine, so by planting a rosebush the viticulturists are ensuring an ‘early warning system’. Examination of the rosebush will indicate the row of vines is at risk and early treatment can begin. Though I don’t think anybody’s planning treatment of my three characters – I think the phrase ‘sacrificial lamb’ is more the order of the day. 😦


  2. mysocalledDutchlife says:

    The first sentence is divine and campures completely the essence of what has been lost and the losses still to come. Bleak future, but a great read.

    I’m early doors too:


  3. Adam Ickes says:

    A bleak future that is all too likely in this day and nice. Nicely told, Sandra.


  4. EmmaMc says:

    As the others have said, this is bleak and tinged with realism. Makes me feel quite somber but is beautifully written.


  5. billgncs says:

    I hope you show your thorns! Nicely told…


  6. Beautiful writing to tell a horrible story! Excellent job!


  7. raina says:

    Not so happy tale that is well told. Futile labour…hmm. Thanks Sandra.


  8. That last line was so good. It can be taken both ways, but I took it tragic way.

    This was a pretty brilliant idea to use. Mostly what I love is the fact that they’re the only ones who have seen it since the event. Other people, that I’ve so far seen, have done withered crops too, but you do it well.


  9. Linda says:

    A world view none would hope to see and beautifully examined in such a short space of words and a new way to looking at the ‘withering’ 🙂


  10. Kaitlin says:

    Lovely job. Great description and awesome understory in the space of 100 or so words. Mine is here.


  11. You conveyed so much in just a few words. Yes, sombre, and cautionary, but also very well written.


  12. boomiebol says:

    Very well written! Thanks for stopping by mine


  13. Judee says:

    Oh my, how I have missed reading your fiction! The last line on this is so poignant. I’m kind of a fan of this kind of fiction, and you do it so well! I’ll try to catch up eventually with more of your work, but hey, it’s something to look forward to, even if I don’t have that much time right now. 🙂


  14. I didn’t understand it at first . I searched Simonsberg on the web and then your comments in the response to Doug. I needed that. i reread your prompt two more times, like tasting a delicate wine to get all the nuances, and how the last line keeps punching me in the gut, oh so delicately (I know a delicate punch is n oxymoron but):

    In our hearts, we know we’re just another bunch of rosebushes.

    Wow. What a profound statement and what a great allegory.
    Thanks, Randy


    • Sandra says:

      I’m glad you got it Randy. I think it was probably a bit obscure, but for me the rosebush at the end of the vine row is something I take for granted.


  15. unspywriter says:

    Beautiful and horror-full at the same time. I can see how the people would think that their purpose was the same as the rose bushes. An excellent little story:

    Here’s mine:


  16. jenniferreck says:

    Very lovely. Thank you for reviewing mine and I’m glad I got to read this as well. I love well-written dystopian novels. This sounds like the beginning of one!


  17. Wonderfully written! I really liked it and I would love to read more!! I think that’s the best mark of a really well written Friday Fictioneer entry – that we want more! Good stuff!! Thanks for commenting on mine –


  18. Brian Benoit says:

    I loved that first description, with just the right verbs used (jewelled especially) and the way the story gets dark immediately from there, but in a very realistic, post-industrial kind of way. Nice job.

    Brian (here’s mine:


  19. Russell says:

    I loved the description of the raindrops on waxy leaves. Oh, how I wish we could see some raindrops here! We have rosebushes near our grapes and the darn Japanese beetles love them both. I love the analogy between the rosebushes and the three clearing the land. Sacrifical lambs indeed. Thank you for taking the time to read & comment on mine.

    Here’s the link for others who might want to swing from that vine.


  20. I couldn’t agree more with “conceived by incompetents, combined by zealots.” But, ahh…what a painful view of a post-apocalyptic world illustrated by your white rose bushes.

    ~Susan (


  21. erinleary says:

    I like the last line a lot – just a bunch of rosebushes. I went back and reread the first and it was a great way to complete the circle.

    Mine is here:


  22. Jan Brown says:

    I liked this story very much! I wasn’t familiar with the role of the rosebushes at the edges of the vineyard, so I learned something, too!


  23. Gilly Gee says:

    A dark place Sandra and this story is really thought provoking with great imagery 🙂


  24. I love it! You are able to paint a picture so well. A talent I am very envious of!


  25. Karen says:

    Great piece of flash fiction 🙂


  26. Kris Kennedy says:

    I feel like I got an education in 100 words. Very sad, and yet, beautifully written. The imagery is so real.


  27. I love the apocalyptic feel. My favorite line is “conceived by incompetents, combined by zealots.” Make s me think of chemtrails and the corrupt political agendas pushing for mass depopulation over a prolonged time so nobody can discover who is to blame, and no one is held accountable.


  28. sphrbn says:

    Beautiful description.


  29. Vb holmes says:

    Powerful story and great wake-up call–I’m so glad you explained why the rose bushes are planted at the ends of the rows of grapevines.


  30. glossarch says:

    I really liked this one. The parallelism between the people and the rose bushes is powerful and sobering.


  31. Sad but it could be our reality. Sooner than we think. Nicely written.


  32. flyoverhere says:

    Like the canary in a coal mine. Good work!


  33. I did not know about the rosebushes, vines, and beetles relationship. I liked your analogy a lot more after understanding but it was great to begin with even with my haze of ignorance.

    As for your commenting on your blog. I don’t know why it would suddenly start doing that to you, but the spot to check is under your dashboard > settings > discussion OR maybe you’re not logged into your account when you’re leaving comments? Wish I knew better how to advise.


  34. Kudos to Sandra as usual. I mention rosebushes (roses) in my (non-fiction) story as well, but had no idea why they were planted at the grapevine trellis. Now I know. Well done. I’m #68 on the list.


  35. Sandra says:

    Thank you Lora, I noticed the roses in yours too. Nicely done.


  36. rich says:

    oh wow, we’re just rosebushes. that’s very pretty andmeaningful.


  37. JKBradley says:

    Well done! Made me think of the canaries that miners would bring deep into the earth to notify them if the air became too toxic.


  38. claireful says:

    Lovely piece of writing Sandra. I have to admit to likely bleak fiction, rather than ‘feel-good’. I had to have the rosebushes explanation though.

    Thanks for visiting mine.


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