Accomplice Before the Fact – Friday Fictioneers, May 2017

Copyright J Hardy

 

“We need to speak to your daughter.”

Their expressions had been bleak, their demeanour professionally detached.

No-one would tell me why.

Now policemen come and go, talking in undertones, glancing over their shoulders at me.  Not curiously, not compassionately… something else.

Crowds murmur outside, flashes bounce off the windows and parents are shepherded past me, partially screened from my view.  Their grief is heart-rending, primitive in its despair.

And then I’m told.

Time stands still, and I fast-rewind to the moment of her birth, plump and perfect in my arms, my own diminutive angel.

Someone, somewhere, has made a terrible mistake.

Manchester was our home city; we were both born within a few miles radius and the city centre was where I studied, where I worked for many years, and where we went for fun as teenagers and young adults.  Our only worry in those days was whether we’d catch the last bus home, not whether we’d ever go home again. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families, and our thanks, as ever, to the support services.  What happened on Monday night was devastating, but if the terrorist ‘community’ thinks it can break the spirit of Manchester, and this country – someone, somewhere, has made a terrible mistake.

This week’s photo from Friday Fictioneers was supplied by J Hardy Carroll and aptly chosen by Rochelle Wisoff Fields, the leader of this friendly, civilised and talented community.

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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' and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

70 Responses to Accomplice Before the Fact – Friday Fictioneers, May 2017

  1. Reena Saxena says:

    Not just topical, the mother’s grief is heart-rending.

    Like

  2. neilmacdon says:

    That is exactly the incomprehension with whichwe face barbarity, whatever its source

    Like

  3. Iain Kelly says:

    My thoughts went inevitably in the same direction this week Sandra. Such a tragedy. I can only imagine what all the parents involved are going through.

    Like

  4. Dear Sandra,

    Heartbreaking. I can’t imagine…don’t want to imagine what parents and grandparents are going through. Well written as always.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So powerful. You are right, there are other people facing pain after an awful event like this.

    Like

  6. Michael says:

    It is impossible to image a parents grief at the lose of a child in the manner of what happened two days back at Manchester. Manchester is one of my favourite places, both my wife and I have lived and worked there.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      We have happy memories of our time there. I recently wrote a story about the IRA bombing of the cty centre, back in the nineties, but this is so much worse.

      Like

  7. “Would you say Jeffery was a happy child, Mrs. Dahmer?” Great story full of foreboding.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Very well written. There’s a whole new set of fears for this generation.

    Like

  9. I guessed there would be a few on this topic (mine included!) following the events in Manchester this week with such a scene for the prompt. Well written, Sandra.

    Like

  10. Oh! the unbearable pain.

    Like

  11. Rowena says:

    I’m so sorry about the horror of what’s happened in Manchester. These random acts of violent terror at concerts and places of happiness and celebration sickens me to the core. In my great grandparents’ day, lists of children lost in the battlefields appeared in the paper. However, being in Australia, mostly our civilians were safe. This is a different kind of war, where the victims aren’t military. A former work colleague of mine was one of the hostages in the Lindt Cafe terrorist siege here in Sydney where 2 people were killed along with the gunman. Two and a half years later, the court case is drawing to a close and it must seem never-ending.
    At the same time, these terrible acts of violence also bring out the good in people and while there was a tragic loss of life, lives were also saved through the actions of strangers and there’s been such an outpouring of love for all affected. Goodness needs to triumph over such despicable evil and that is up to each and every one of us.
    I have been part of an international blogging group A Thousand Voices for Compassion for a couple of years. It’s been hard to quite know how to respond to these global acts of terror and writing was the best way I knew how.
    xx Rowena

    Like

  12. Brilliant title.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Sue says:

    Very well written, Sandra…and you have nailed the grief

    Like

  14. Seems to echo the recent spate of shootings in schools. Nothing can soothe the pain of a parent asking, where did I go wrong?

    Like

  15. I read this two ways, and each is horrible in its own way. The mother could be the mother of a victim — but then, what if she was the mother of a perpetrator? How horrible would that be? Excellent writing Sandy.

    Like

  16. k rawson says:

    Chilling, wrenching. So beautifully written.

    Like

  17. You’ve definitely captured the bewildered parent’s feelings. Well done.

    Like

  18. Very sad and well written

    Liked by 1 person

  19. The memory of holding the newborn baby is especially vivid. Somehow it’s like the phantom pain after a severed limb… deeper than sorrow, a physical pain…

    Like

  20. Life Lessons of a Dog Lover says:

    My heart goes out to everyone the awful tragedy in Manchester has touched. It is on my mind and must torment you tremendously. Your story was very touching.

    Like

  21. granonine says:

    Well done. Evocative. I was listening to the news on my way home tonight, and tears were pouring down my cheeks. It’s impossible to understand–or accept–the evil behind this heinous act. Blessing to you and and friends/family, and especially to those who lost their precious children.

    Like

  22. Liz Young says:

    Her grief is possibly worse than the families of the murdered. Well written.

    Like

  23. Sandra, your story is strong and emotional without floundering in emotion, which is just great writing. You have offered details that lead me to think that perhaps the daughter has done something awful. I often wonder how parents who have a child who kills would feel, behave, and all of the turmoil in their hearts.

    Like

  24. Lynn Love says:

    I grew up near Manchester, lived there – my son was born within sight of Man City’s ground. It’s a wonderful city filled with great people and that this happened there – or anywhere – is too awful to imagine.
    A wonderfully written piece, conveying the shock and horror so well.

    Like

  25. Someone, somewhere, has made a terrible mistake. Yes!
    Your story says so much and I agree with Helena, your story can be read two ways.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Thank you Alicia. I meant it to read that the daughter was a guilty party, and to ponder the question whether in some less direct way, the mother was too.

      Like

  26. rgayer55 says:

    You put me there, in the mother’s shoes. My prayers go out to those families.

    Like

  27. I like the POV of this. The families of the perpetrators must go through absolute grief, twisting emotions, love for their child, and possibly also outcasted from the community. Your humanity shines through in this story.

    Like

  28. Dahlia says:

    I read it entirely in the second way – rarely do we think about the feelings of the mother whose child has wrecked havoc. You gave us a glimpse into that terrible tragedy very evocatively.

    Like

  29. draliman says:

    Very powerful. One can but try to bring kids up the best way possible, but sometimes other influences step in with tragic consequences.

    Like

  30. Sarah Ann says:

    So well written. The poor mother knowing what her daughter has done, and potentially having to hide her grief because she will not be supported as the parents of the victims are. An unenviable position to be in.

    Like

  31. plaridel says:

    this is sad. it’s something we have to live with nowadays.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. It tears at the heart. I cried as a mother on the TV was saying how she missed her daughter. I have a daughter and part of me would die if anything like that happened. The people of Manchester were wonderful in the hours afterward. Good writing as always, Sandra. —- Suzanne

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      It’s been a terrible week for the families and friends of the victims. Hopefully they will find comfort in the reactions of the wider community.

      Like

  33. I like the ambivalence. I’m not sure if the daughter is victim or perpetrator – either way, the mother’s pain and bewilderment is powerful.

    Like

  34. Interesting story. I imagined the daughter as the perpetrator, and your story reminded me of Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes–a great book, by the way. I was so sorry to learn of the terror attack in Manchester, which clearly touched you so personally. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your story.

    Like

  35. That penultimate paragraph says it all. After the Manchester attack, I kept thinking that the mother of the suicide bomber once held him in her arms as a newborn baby and most likely looked at him through eyes of love. Just as well we don’t know what the future holds for us.

    Like

  36. themofman says:

    Never forget.

    Like

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