In a Child’s World (Five Sentence Fiction, September 2012)

The prompt this week from Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction was the word ‘faces’.


Annie was a fanciful child, always seeing faces drifting in the clouds, engraved in the gnarled tree trunks of the forest, or reflecting in the shimmering surfaces of the lake.

“She’ll grow out of it,” her parents said, though secretly they were pleased that two individuals as grounded and practical as they were could have conceived and raised a child with so vivid an imagination, a child who assigned personalities to inanimate objects and could be heard holding lengthy conversations with her teddies, her dolls and even the pictures on the walls of her bedroom.

Her parents encouraged these flights of fancy, though when Annie started having nightmares, claiming that the face on the door of her wardrobe was saying things that frightened her, they were quick to comfort her – it was the grain of the wood, they explained, or the cheese straws she’d had for supper, or the silly ghost stories her grandmother had told her;  and in any case, wardrobes couldn’t speak.

In the weeks after Annie had disappeared from her bed in the middle of the night, her mother would sit in her room, hugging her cuddly toys, re-arranging her books and crying into her pillow, hoping that from these, her belongings and confidantes, she could extract some comfort, perhaps even an understanding of what had befallen her daughter.

And so it was, that one afternoon Annie’s mother climbed into her daughter’s tiny airless wardrobe, closing the door behind her, pushing aside her ballet dress and furry dressing gown until she found a small dark space where she huddled with her head on her knees and waited; it would not be long, the face on the wardrobe door had promised, with a low chuckle, before she would be reunited with Annie.

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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16 Responses to In a Child’s World (Five Sentence Fiction, September 2012)

  1. Mike says:

    This was wonderfully scary Sandra.
    Personally, I’ve always been wary of following the advice of the face on the wardrobe door.


  2. Andrew says:

    Fabulous! I’m left wanting more. I look forward to your sequel.


  3. Superb. Elegant writing with a flow that pulls the tale along at just the right pace. It’s unique and heartbreaking and yet wonder-full. Thank you so much for sharing this story with us, Sandra.


  4. Paul says:

    Nice eerie story. Not necessarily scary. But if I were grading you for sticking to the rules of the exrcise, I’d have to mark you a grade lower. You’ve stretched the five sentences to five paragraphs, punctuation not withstanding. Sneaky devil!


  5. I love these kinds of stories where people disappear into wardrobes or mirrors or televisions. As a child, I remember believing those things and they’d scare me silly. They still do, but now I’m in on the fun. A wonderful fantasy tale!


  6. TheOthers1 says:

    Creepy. Just creepy. You definitely had me a bit freaked out by that ending. Great writing!!


  7. ahblack57 says:

    whoa… That was frighteningly good. An excellent piece from a master of flash fiction.


  8. lisashambrook says:

    So well written. An entire story in so few words, with a fantastic, but creepy twist!


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