Powerless – Friday Fictioneers, July 2015

Copyright Jean L Hays

Every father worries – it’s in the nature of things.

From the first pimply youth hanging around the gate, right up to the moment she brings ‘the one’ home.

He’d criticised the ‘too-big-for-his-boots’ footballer, and damned the used-car- salesman who could jaw the hind-leg off a donkey, yet still say nothing worthwhile.

He advised against the student activist clearly heading for perpetual protestation, telephoned the Dean about the sleazy professor, and paid off the pushy hedge-fund trader.

But ultimately he was powerless.

Ultimately, on a foreign beach far away, it was a blackened soul with a Kalashnikov who stole his daughter’s heart forever.

A sombre week indeed.  The reports of a father speaking to his daughter on her phone, powerless to help as she ran for her life will stay with me for a long time.  Thankfully that daughter survived, but others were not so fortunate.  Condolences to those families who suffered loss, and a speedy recovery to those who survived this cowardly, evil attack.  Thanks to Rochelle for hosting this weekly get-together, and for a great photo prompt.  I’m looking forward to reading some ‘lighter’ contributions on this week’s Friday Fictioneers.  I think I got the dark side covered.  Sorry.  😦

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 Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin' and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

79 Responses to Powerless – Friday Fictioneers, July 2015

  1. Dear Sandra,

    Stole her heart forever in the most literal sense. Tragic and well written.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

  2. micklively says:

    Topical. A “blow to the guts” punchline, indeed.

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  3. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Sandra,

    It is stories like this one that set you above and apart from the crowd. I know of no solution to the madness save for the good to keep trying to be good in spite of the bad. They are legion, it seems, and I believe a war is coming that will try us all. Oh, and don’t forget the ‘in the name of god’ part of it all. Worst invention man ever thought up.

    Please don’t let my dark view of our time detract from the knowledge that I think your writing is riveting and sad beyond measure. Don’t stop spreading the word…in your words.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sandra says:

      Aww Doug. Thanks for those kind words, it’s really good to know that you’re out there and reading my work. And even better to know that you approve of it. 🙂 Dark times indeed. My father used to watch the news on television and then say “I’ll be glad when I’m out of this.” I used to get so angry with him for that. It’s strange how you come to understand the things your parents said as you get older. Take care.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Dave says:

    Heh. “The more you tighten your grasp, the more things slip through your fingers.”

    Like

  5. ceayr says:

    Powerful piece, superbly written, Sandra.
    As always.

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  6. I like it, but I think the “blackened soul” dehumanizes an enemy in a dangerous way. Sure, it’s a point of view, but my understanding is that when you invade a country under any pretext you can expect a few people to shoot at you. Making your opponent less than human is a great way to salve your conscience as you kill him Food for thought.

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  7. What a sad piece.. that smiling young man with an AK-47 haunts me as well.. this movement was a twist that came as a bad surprise..

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  8. Your story is a punch to the gut, Sandra, illuminating the fears of every parent.

    janet

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  9. gahlearner says:

    An excellent appeals to love your loved ones while you can. This story goes right to the heart and breaks it. These are not good times.

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  10. I’m so glad my kids haven’t been in that kind of danger. When you have children you can’t control things like that. It would have probably driven my dad crazy with worry if he had seen some of the things taking place these days. He died in 1980 and things were getting stranger for him even then as he was born in 1897. Can you imagine? Well done and unfortunately very timely. I heard how many of your countrymen you lost in that horrendous attack. How terrible and senseless. — Suzanne

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  11. Liz Young says:

    Oh my word, that was powerful!

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  12. Vinay Leo R. says:

    That is sad 😦

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  13. ansumani says:

    Beautifully written. Sometimes I wish the real world didn’t offer such tragic inspiration for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Indira says:

    Hi Sandra! Tragic but beautifully written. Powerless indeed. Last line hit hard.

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  15. jwdwrites says:

    you just get better and better Sandra. A stylish, original and tragically topical story that says so much more than the wordcount would suggest. I think I should just stop reading here because I know they won’t get any better than this. 🙂

    Like

  16. Jorbi K says:

    “He advised against the student activist clearly heading for perpetual protestation, telephoned the Dean about the sleazy professor, and paid off the pushy hedge-fund trader.”

    And then punctuated in the next sentence, “Powerful”

    Your alliteration is great here. Really loved it. I put some in my story as well. Great job!

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      I hadn’t seen that Jorbi, but I’ve noticed that beside the story, the mind also works on the rhythm and sound of the piece. I’ll frequently finish a piece and then think “that last line should be longer there for balance” or “there should be more syllables just there”. So I go back to change the words, for no other reason than ‘it sounds better’. Off to check on yours now.

      Like

  17. Mike says:

    Sandra, this is a very emotional story — especially in today’s time. You wrote a TOP SELLER piece.

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  18. As a a parent, your story feels emotionally raw and leaves me with a lump in my throat.

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  19. Well done, reflecting on that evil shooting. So much to consider these days.

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  20. rgayer55 says:

    Sad story, but I like the way you led us up to the event. Father was swatting away other possible suitors, but couldn’t protect her from this evil. Every parent’s fear.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Hi Russell. It was a fear that turned very real for many parents last week, but I’m realising that this atrocity didn’t get the press coverage that I’d have expected. Thanks for commenting.

      Like

  21. storydivamg says:

    Not being a gun enthusiast myself, I had to Google “Kalashnikov.” Bad stuff! But a well-written story. Good work.

    All my best,
    MG

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Thanks Marie-Gail. No I’m not a gun enthusiast myself. Nor, I imagine, are the families of the 30 Brits massacred last week on the beach in Tunisia. 😦

      Like

      • storydivamg says:

        Not at all! I’m so sorry for this sad news. We really don’t want your country to start taking cues from ours in this matter. Too many gun deaths happen each year. Over the past 5 years, so many jarring news stories have broken that my moderate stance on gun control is growing more and more–what people here call “liberal.” The biggest problem, in my opinion, is the hoarding of ammunition. I don’t really care what collectors do as long as they don’t have enough actual ammunition to do more than hunt or fire off a couple warning shots. (Oh, this comment should have come with a “soapbox” warning. Sorry.)

        Liked by 1 person

  22. elmowrites says:

    Heartbreaking, Sandra. I like the list of suitors and then the flip to the final lines – not the cliched kind of twist, but a clever build up to a surprising conclusion. Expertly done.
    I haven’t seen / heard this piece of reallife news, but it’s hardly the first time hearts have been stolen this way.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Hi Jen. I’ve realised, since posting this, that many in the States and Canada were not aware that 30 Britons on holiday in Tunisia were massacred a week ago today whilst sunbathing on the beach, by an ISIS fanatic who had earlier posed with them, taking selfies, so that he could identify who was British. Our country will be holding a minute’s silence for them at noon today. I’m amazed about this, since I can’t convince myself that 30 US citizens or Canadians being massacred whilst on holiday wouldn’t have made the news over here. Perhaps there’s a tacit agreement between governments and the media to deny these madmen the oxygen of publicity? I hope so, because I’d hate to think such tragedies are just not newsworthy any more. Thanks for commenting, hope your power failure problems are fixed now.

      Like

  23. A complete story, well told, sadly ended, but the truth of it on the 6 o’clock news. Evil gobbles up the innocent, and the innocent sacrifice everything to eradicate it – a fight with no seeming end.
    Beautifully written!

    Like

  24. draliman says:

    A quite light-hearted story which suddenly turned so very dark. Good job.

    Like

  25. I was a used car salesman for 26 years and fortunately I didn’t get that reaction from my young ladies fathers. She should have met me! Seriously though, this a sad and increasingly common occurrence that you’ve recounted in a sympathetic way.

    Visit Keith’s Ramblings!

    Like

  26. So tragic and you captured the essence of the emotional impact beautifully.

    Like

  27. Your twist wrenched the gut. It certainly made the news in Australia and it was chilling. Such a sad pointless massacre.

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  28. asarpota says:

    They say, Love is Blind.. But surprised that it becomes senseless too.. Great one..

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  29. Oy! Timely and disturbing. Good thing I don’t have a daughter!

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  30. uehobbyist says:

    Nicely done. The twinge of regret from the father at the end is powerful.

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  31. mjlstories says:

    Am having a week off FF this week (ah, seems to be perpetual tennis in the telly) but glad I stopped by to read this.
    After the minute of silence today for the 38 people killed, not sure how best to respond – perhaps by booking holidays to Tunisia to support the majority of people there who will also suffer greatly from this one act? Certainly 10 years ago people got back in those London tube trains and buses after the attack by our own home- grown murderers.
    A powerful and timely piece.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      I feel very sorry for the people of Tunisia, and I hope that they survive the aftermath of this atrocity. You’re right, people did signify their resistance to the terror tactics of the London bombing, but in many cases there were few other choices. They had to go to work. That’s my worry for the Tunisians. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Like

  32. plaridel says:

    sad to say, women almost always fall for macho men who can’t be domesticated and treat them bad. it’s like women are turned off easily by a guy who shows his feminine side. this is a quote from my rant in this post http://wp.me/p6FwZ-CY

    Like

  33. wildbilbo says:

    I saw that news Sandra, so I understood it immediately. As a parent you try all you can to keep them safe, keep them protected… but in the end there are limits to what you can do.

    A good story on a horrible event.
    KT

    Like

  34. A deeply moving and powerful tribute to the innocent people who were slaughtered on that beach and resort. Your pacing really captures the horror that any parent must feel, at such inconceivable news. Wow.

    Like

  35. Well written story Sandra, reflecting current news. Unfortunately, the young can be very easily swayed!

    Like

  36. subroto says:

    It was truly evil wasn’t it? Sadly people still get seduced by it. Nicely done.

    Like

  37. Amy Reese says:

    A blackened soul, indeed. What an awful tragedy that was, so senseless. It does make you feel powerless. Well done and nicely written, Sandra.

    Like

  38. i b arora says:

    the irony is that while we never succeed in controlling our own lives we always desperately try to control lives of our kids

    Like

  39. BobiJo says:

    True this is a dark side – but without the darkness we might not notice the light.
    Very beautifully captures the emotion – helpless…

    Like

  40. Margaret says:

    Very moving, and disturbing. It’s horrifying that we are so vulnerable to events such as you describe. Your story paints the fear and grief in the father’s heart really well.

    Like

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