Taken (Friday Fictioneers, January 2014)

Copyright Erin Leary

She’s scampered ahead, splashing in puddles, the pom-pom on her red bonnet bouncing wildly.

But when I round the bend after her… she’s gone.

Time stands still; the brook ceases babbling, its flow halted, and the birds fall silent.

 “Jeanie” I scream.

And that great white orb in the sky brightens… aglow with delight… before gently pulsating away behind the swirling grey mist.

I snatch her bonnet, still warm, from the moss-covered fence as the brook bubbles back into life, and the meadowlarks resume their cheery chorus.

Only the blackened hawthorn boughs join me in shedding tears of despair.

Thank you Rochelle for facilitating my participation this week – much appreciated.  I’ll get round to my fellow Friday Fictioneers, but possibly a bit later than usual this week – we’re pushing further south for a few days.

 

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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95 Responses to Taken (Friday Fictioneers, January 2014)

  1. Well done Sandra. Great descriptions. Enjoyed this one very much.

    Like

  2. Dear Sandra,

    The contrast between the beauty of nature and the mother’s raw grief is stunning. Beautifully written as always.

    Happy to accommodate. 😉

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

  3. Oh oh!
    AnElephant is very concerned here.
    Powerful writing.

    Like

  4. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Sandra,

    Another great story from one of my favorite FF authors. You make me believe. You capture the moment. You set the bar high.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    Like

  5. claireful says:

    One of those awful moments every parent dreads. Beautifully descriptive.

    Like

  6. elmowrites says:

    The bonnet’s still warm, Sandra, I’m diving into that brook to save Jeanie! I liked how you stopped time – I’d be tempted to take out the clichéd “Time stands still” and just use the brilliant description to show it.

    Like

  7. Dee says:

    This is brilliant Sandra. I was there on the pathway and shared the despair perfectly highlighted by your last line. Well done. (For some reason WP won’t let me ‘like’ anything these days, I voted instead!)
    Dee

    Like

  8. atrm61 says:

    Oh Sandra-so good to be back and read such powerful stuff!This made me want to cry while giving me the chills!I would have loved to have written this:-)Great piece and wish you and your’s a wonderful 2014,tc & God Bless:-)

    Like

  9. dreaminofobx says:

    The reality described here made me nauseous…and I don’t even have kids. Well done.

    Like

  10. That damned Orb again, always up to mischief. Don’t worry, you’ll get her back again. Maybe pregnant, maybe zombified, but they always come back…

    Like

  11. Adam Ickes says:

    You’ve set the bar quite high to start off FF this week. Reading your stuff always makes me second guess my own.

    Like

  12. Honie Briggs says:

    Excellent descriptions, Sandra. You created a vivid scene.

    Like

  13. Your words match this picture so well I feel I am in the story.

    Like

  14. helenmidgley says:

    As a mum, that was scary stuff, great atmosphere building 🙂

    Like

  15. Fantastic Sandra.Your imagery is excellent.

    Like

  16. vbholmes says:

    Beautifully written, Sandra, and there’s hope for all the optimists here as her bonnet is still warm. Well done.

    Like

  17. draliman says:

    Great stuff! You made an amazing contrast between the beauty and promise of the day and the horrific event which has occurred.

    Like

  18. Beautiful and sad Sandra. What beautiful juxtaposition between the world moving on in joy around one stuck in mourning.

    Like

  19. How saddening. The turn of events from activity to absolute stillness gave me chills. Great writing.
    -HA

    Like

  20. So sad. Everything stops for a tragedy, including the brook. Good story!

    Like

  21. Dear Sandra, Your story seems so real – excellent read! Really love it! Nan

    Like

  22. kz says:

    excellent and very atmospheric. i like how everything stood still for a while,then resumed,indifferent to her grief.loved this.

    Like

  23. Stunning piece, again, Sandra. The contrast between the red hat and the stark surroundings, the mother’s terror and grief… it’s just wonderful! Man, you manage to get your story in early every week! How do you do it!

    Like

  24. This is a lovely but tragic story. Well done!

    Like

  25. This one is deeply touching.. .I expect many sad one like this.. and example of mastership is to still be able to add details in this story (for example the hawthorn boughs)…

    Like

  26. Jan Brown says:

    Wonderful descriptions of sound, sight and movement. Heart-grabbing!

    Like

  27. Helena Hann-Basquiat says:

    The terror you evoke was very real. I felt my heart tighten in my chest as I read.

    Like

  28. This is strong, very strong. I wasn’t expecting that at all. (Very pleased that I changed the title of mine from ‘Taken’ as well!).

    Like

  29. liz young says:

    O.M.G. This story should come with a health warning. Well written.

    Like

  30. erinleary says:

    Oh my…a parent’s worst fear. Nicely wrought in 100 words…

    Like

  31. Time stood still…I bet it does indeed. So frightening and real the way you told it and captured it, down to the warm bonnet. Brilliant, Sandra.

    Like

  32. hugmamma says:

    A mother’s worst nightmare. Well done, as usual.

    Like

  33. Wow – you just never fail to deliver, Sandra. Fantastic. 🙂 (Or should it be 😦 lol)

    Like

  34. Mike says:

    A tragic tale, so well written Sandra.

    Like

  35. Hi Sandra,
    Numero uno, how are you inspired so quickly? I guess you do have the advantage of an earlier time zone, but you’re not the only one with that going for you. This story is so true to the photo, right down to those drops hanging off the branches. The loss of the girl is heartbreaking. Ron

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      I can’t claim any credit here Ron; I asked Rochelle for the prompt early as I was going to be on the road for three days with no guarantee of getting a reliable internet connection. So I had an afternoon to think/write, and just had to put the links in and upload Wed morning before we left the hotel. Thanks for reading. 🙂

      Like

  36. That’s a tough one to read. Great imagery. Great portrayal of grief.

    Like

  37. MissTiffany says:

    Wow. What a strong piece! Great descriptions here – you really captured the mother’s grief and all the little details that really draw us in – the warm bonnet especially.

    Like

  38. unspywriter says:

    You’ve infused this with just the right amount of terror and speculation. Great job.

    Here’s mine: http://unexpectedpaths.com/friday-fictioneers/grasping-for-straws/

    Like

  39. annisik51 says:

    Sandra, I do like how you used the environment. It’s also a layering of time: it’s in the present, yet it is also a description of the things we remember of a scene after some terrible event. Great psychological mood to this. Ann

    Like

  40. JackieP says:

    So much emotion! You know how to tell a tale.

    Like

  41. Bodhirose says:

    Chilling…in an instant your life can change forever. Excellent use of those few words…I enjoyed your story very much.

    Like

  42. Taygibay says:

    I’m gonna get scolded I fear but … although I entirely agree with the comments above as far as descriptive powers and emotional empathy, I just don’t get the switch from what I supposed is a past event to now? I read five times and missed it possibly. In the next to last sentence especially, maybe ( … and ) instead of ( as ) the brook comes back to life would have helped me?
    Alternatively, if it is all in the present and “as it happens” then my problem is based on real life and simply stems from dissociating from the mom’s reaction: I would have moved, fast!

    In any case, still worth nothing that the story is powerful and touching despite my finding it unbelievable! That’s writing talent,Sandra! Tay.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      It’s all in the present tense Taygibay and I note that you believe you would react differently. I suppose we all write from personal experience. I once came perilously close to losing something very dear to me. At the precise moment I discovered the loss there were absolutely no indications, no clues (visual or auditory) as to what had happened. It was as though they’d been spirited away and there was one stunned moment when everything seemed to stand still. To ‘move fast’ might have taken me in the wrong direction, further away from recovering the situation, not that I was capable of doing that anyway, as I was still trying to make sense of the scenario. I do remember, however, the incredible sense of despair. In the story there are several possibilities, though I think most have assumed the child drowned. She may have drowned, she may have been taken by someone, or even (and the mother’s disordered mind may contemplate this) have been spirited away by the ‘great white orb’ which is glowing in delight at its trawl. I left that open to the reader.
      Thanks for dropping by and commenting. 🙂

      Like

      • Taygibay says:

        Ah! That clears things up then, Sandra.
        I had envisioned all the possibilities you mentioned and a couple more actually, even though spirit(s) are not a personal first belief option.. And, I also understand the reaction that you described for having witnessed it time and time again, even though I never experienced it myself. I am a highly reactive individual and worked in many fields that ask for that condition. I saved lives in mine so far and recovered many similar situations to the one described.
        It is therefore for the two reasons above that I didn’t understand the action? Just as I had surmised, the writing is then flawless; it is only a matter of my being in disbelief to the subject, no mistakes on your part, Tay. 😀

        Like

  43. Sun says:

    horrible event but a terrific, well laid out story, Sandra. thanks.

    Like

  44. rgayer55 says:

    Like Linda, I blamed it on the nasty orb. An abduction. Very descriptive and powerful writing. I felt I was right there, sharing the mother’s anguish.

    Like

  45. pattisj says:

    Any mother can understand the angst here. Nicely done, enjoy your trip south!

    Like

  46. Very scenic and descriptive prose. I like it.

    Like

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