Last Day on the Island – Friday Fictioneers, July 2016

Copyright Jan Marler Morrill

Copyright Jan Marler Morrill

A two week idyll had stretched into a six week nightmare. They  should return home and wait, the police had said, for the sake of the other children.

Hills had been scoured, coves and coastlines inspected daily, and mountain roads patrolled.

Nothing.

She leaned into the shade of a doorway, the heat from the cobbles searing through her thin sandals, sweat darkening her linen dress, and gazed miserably up at the skyline dotted with satellite dishes and washing lines.

And there it was, pegged amongst fluttering shirts and dresses…her son’s yellow romper suit with the red teddy on the front.

I had no hesitation in deciding whether to repeat my previous offering for this photo, because I remember being absolutely delighted when the acclaimed Claire Fuller of the award winning ‘Our Endless Numbered Days’ and soon to be released ‘Swimming Lessons’ asked for permission to use it in a Flash Fiction master class that she was organising.  Of course, she might have been using it as an example of how not to do it…    😦

Rochelle, the genial hostess of Friday Fictioneers is steaming along to meet her publishing deadline with As One Can One Must.  Hope you’re making good progress, my friend.

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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'. Bookmark the permalink.

73 Responses to Last Day on the Island – Friday Fictioneers, July 2016

  1. I’m so relieved to hear that you had published this one before. I was sure I was lucky enough (not really) to be up late and see the prompt, AND have a story come to mind instantly… I was amazed that you beat me!

    I hadn’t seen this one previously, but brilliant Sandra! Reminds me so much of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance. The edgy imagery of the ending is so shocking; the stuff any parent tries hard not to think of… unless their a masterful suspense writer!

    And just the idea of Claire’s new book, makes me giddy! Now, off to bed, content in the fact that I finally wrote something!

    Like

  2. neilmacdon says:

    Good choice to repost this. It’s beautifully constructed, with a sense of place, tension and chilling ending

    Like

  3. Mike says:

    This puts you right there with the mother, making it such a sad story.

    Like

  4. Graham Lawrence says:

    Well I’m glad I was able to read it this time around!

    Like

  5. It was definitely used (and will be again this summer) as an example of a brilliant piece of flash fiction. I remember reading it for the first time: the atmosphere, the set-up, the desperation, and then the gasp at the end. And I still get that every time I re-read it.

    Like

  6. Dear Sandra,

    Definitely one of your best. I hope the ending leads to the recovery of her son. Tense and well constructed…as always.

    As for As One Must One Can, I sent it to my loyal editor/proofers and hope to have it ready to submit in a couple of weeks.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think this is one tale I still recall… for me I think about Madeleine McCann when reading this… a terrific story nonetheless…

    Like

  8. Oh I hope they find the boy!
    I love the story and I am sure Clare used it as a good example.
    🙂

    Like

  9. Chilling and brilliant.

    Like

  10. I love it! A mother’s hope amidst despair finds the way to the answer!

    Like

  11. Spot on, Sandra. Very well done.

    Like

  12. A tightly-constructed fraught story. I lvoe the ending, because it spells hope. I hope it means it turned out okay, or somewhat okay. So glad you re-posted this!

    Like

  13. Now I want more 😦

    Like

  14. A mother’s loss, so vivid. (This made me think of the poor Wisconsin family who lost their 19 year old son in an apparent homicide in Rome last week.) Your ending left me with hope.

    Like

  15. draliman says:

    I felt the desperation of the parent, unwilling to give up, and then a ray of hope perhaps? I guess her son wasn’t the only one with a similar romper suit. Very nice.

    Like

  16. emmylgant says:

    Superb. Absolument.

    Like

  17. ceayr says:

    Magnificent.
    It seems that Claire is as adept as a judge as she is as a writer.

    Like

  18. wmqcolby says:

    As we’d say here in the Midwestern U.S., “that’s a big bag of Wow!” I’m hoping for a happy ending on this one. What a nightmare to have your own children disappear or get kidnapped.

    Your usual high-quality output, Sandra, equals great! 🙂

    Like

  19. So much emotion in so few words. Brilliant.
    My hair-raising tale

    Like

  20. mjlstories says:

    A stunning read in many senses.
    Beautifully crafted. Every one of those 100 words does a job.
    The ending maybe contains hope, but is also so enigmatic.

    Like

  21. rgayer55 says:

    I believe I remember this one from reading it almost 4 years ago. The good ones stick with you, and this one definitely qualifies as one of the best.

    Like

  22. The ending leads me to believe her son was found and returned to his family. Nicely done!

    Like

  23. I am glad you reposted. Great story.

    Like

  24. Nicely done…glad you reposted it as I wasn’t around the first time you published it. Love the sense of place and the build of tension.

    Like

  25. Lynn Love says:

    What a fantastic, heart wrenching story, Sandra. Really well written and realised. Super stuff

    Like

  26. liz young says:

    Oh my word! I do hope she finds her son safe and well.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. gahlearner says:

    Whenever I read one of your flash pieces, Sandra, I can’t believe that these are just 100 words. But they are. I try to learn how to do that, how to get so much atmosphere, suspense, description, character into these few sentences… but I’m still baffled how you do it. It’s a great piece, the perfect example for how to do it. And I’m very glad it has a hopeful ending.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Aww thank you! 🙂 I’ve really enjoyed writing 100 word stories for the past five or more years, and I do think regular practice makes you weigh up the value of every word, assessing what each one is bringing to the piece in the way of atmosphere, emotion etc etc. And once you get into that habit, I think it helps enormously when you come to write longer pieces, helping to keep them tight. Certainly editing is much easier I find.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Alana Kristen says:

    If there any words could describe how a mother feels when she looses her child yours came chillingly close. Wonderfully written!

    Like

  29. Jan Brown says:

    That last line is heart-rending!

    Like

  30. Miles Rost says:

    This captures all of the heartbreak and loss in a short short piece. Very well done, quite poignant, and ever so heartbreaking. Excellent work.

    Like

  31. Not much i can add to the comments already made by others here – a perfectly written flash-fiction which creates a world and a story and all the emotions and senses contained in just 100 words.

    Like

  32. elmowrites says:

    I’m trying to remember if I read this one last time around, Sandra. It doesn’t matter, it is a gut punch to any parent to read those first few lines, and a great story to include the last few. We hope, of course, that it means the end of her misery, but it could just as easily mean something else. I’m not surprised this is one of your favourites; it’s superb.

    Like

  33. Amy Reese says:

    How wonderful that rerunning this story brought back Claire’s use of it in her class. I’m sure it was to highlight your brilliance! I love how you use the skyline here to reveal the clothes. It really portrays the feeling of the dimensions in the photo. Well done, Sandra.

    Like

  34. Oh my..as a mother I felt this one, right in the gut.

    Like

  35. Margaret says:

    Masterful. Fantastic structure and viewpoint. It all fits together perfectly. So good.

    Like

  36. I agree, Sandra. This is excellent writing. This scene would be a parent’s worst nightmare come to life. Heartrending. The descriptions bring the reader into the story. —- Suzanne

    Like

  37. Great story! Heartbreaking. Perfect imagery. Glad it has found its way to a class too!

    Like

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