No Other Love – Friday Fictioneers, September 2017

Copyright J Hardy Carroll


The fire is extinguished now, the building just a blackened, steaming skeleton.

Yet while the crowd disperses, something still blazes deep inside Chloe.

“Let’s go,” Joe says, taking her hand.

She shakes him off irritably, mesmerised by the ruins.

“In a minute.”

Unease chars the edges of his composure.

Could he be losing her?  Has the conflagration reignited old embers, arousing some dangerously unpredictable spectre?  Joe’s heard gossip… rumours.

Chloe finally turns away, energised and radiant, burrowing almost aggressively into his jacket.

And, inhaling the rancid petrol fumes on her hair, Joe understands he’s already lost her to her past.

Friday Fictioneers, under the leadership of the multi-talented Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, is a weekly gathering of writers and writing enthusiasts.  Last week we attracted almost a hundred submissions once again.  Why not join us?

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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76 Responses to No Other Love – Friday Fictioneers, September 2017

  1. Reena Saxena says:

    Intriguing! What was her past?


  2. Iain Kelly says:

    She started the fire – a keen arsonist or was there some other reason for this particular destruction? Something that needed to be destroyed. Mysterious, either way, I would think Joe would be better off without her!


  3. Oh geez, there’s a crazy one!
    I want to tell Joe to run away but he may be the only thing keeping her grounded…for now.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Sandra,

    I’d say that’s a past Joe doesn’t want to compete with. Time to move on before it goes up in flames. Blazingly well written.



    Liked by 1 person

  5. granonine says:

    Great mystery–more story in what is left untold. Great take.


  6. Great story. You do a great job in a few words of conveying the despair of watching a loved one take the step back toward self-destruction.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. JS Brand says:

    A case of “C’mon baby, go light yo’ own fires!”, I think. Good story.


  8. Sandra, I like the way you used the fire-related words throughout. I think that arson/pyromania is in her not-too-distant future unless something unusual happens. Well done (so to speak.) 🙂



    • Sandra says:

      I ‘rarely’ see you on the FF posts, Janet. Are you thinking of dipping in again. Or perhaps you have, I’ve not been back to the linky for a few hours. It would not be before time, if you do.


      • No, I haven’t made a jump back, just visiting your blog post as you’re someone I follow. I haven’t been good about even reading FF stories. Too much going on, I guess. Maybe I’ll get back again one day, at least off and on.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Your final sentence tells us all we need to know. Excellent.

    Click to read my FriFic!


  10. I think that she’s lost to the pull of flames… the rumors were all true I guess.


  11. Jelli says:

    Nice twist to end with. 🙂 Enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. bbryanthomas says:

    Oh, how the whiff of the smallest thing can carry one back over the years. Not all are pleasant reccollections


  13. Oh! Lovely reveal at the end. I had no trouble seeing into her past. Well done.


  14. Rowena says:

    I really enjoyed this, Sandra and you crafted it well. There are so many moral dilemmas raised in this story. Should he dob her in? Should he leave? What should we do when we see the warning signs of quirky behaviour in our loves ones before it crescendoes like this? So many people have a fascination with fire and there’s a fine line at the start,I’m sure. I think people can be too quick to tell people to give up when their loved one hits troubled times, instead of standing by and helping them get through. So many of us have complications and we’re all only human in the end.
    xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sandra says:

      Whilst I’m always fascinated at the spectacle of flames, I’ve always found it hard to understand what motivates the pyromaniac. I’ve used that term because I think arson is setting fire for a variety of reasons, whilst pyromania is for the love of it. It must be difficult to treat.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rowena says:

        There was a great pyromaniac in a movie and I can’t remember which one of who played him but at the thought of fire his eyes lit up bright and he said: “Burn baby burn” with chilling glee.


  15. Ms Firebug can maybe put the past to rest now.


  16. Lynn Love says:

    Once a firestarter, always a firestarter eh? I wonder what drives people to do it? A masterful piece of writing as always Sandra – sad for their relationship with some very sinister overtones.


  17. Dale says:

    Run, Joe, Run! If her love of lighting things on fire just for the pleasure of it is that strong, he must let go…


  18. Vivian Zems says:

    Oooh! There’s an arsonist about!


  19. Susan says:

    I really like the descriptive words you used and how it fed into the story (chars, reignites old embers, blazes). I wonder what was in that building that needed to go away in a puff of smoke (bad pun, I tried anyway).


  20. Chilling! Yet, I couldn’t help empathising with Chloe, maybe we all have dangerous demons in us that we have kept on leash 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  21. draliman says:

    Great last line! What will Joe do now? Nice one!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. pennygadd51 says:

    A well told tale. The clever use of fire related words throughout means the reveal is more the confirmation of an increasing suspicion rather than a twist. And that’s just fine, because you’ve written a good crescendo to that point. As Joe smells the petrol fumes you think, “Oh no, it’s true then.”
    The two characters are vividly drawn and believable; you’ve given a good sense of their larger story together.
    Well done!


  23. Liz Young says:

    Tragic, and beautifully written.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Caerlynn Nash says:

    Oh, there’s something about those flames! 😉
    Well written.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. plaridel says:

    this keeps me wondering who set the fire? a couple of suspects i can see.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Laurie Bell says:

    Ooooooooo wow well told. Clever. Great hook here. He has indeed lost her

    Liked by 1 person

  27. This is such a perfectly crafted piece of story. The two divergent characters came alive, one a little more blazingly. The ending was the piece de resistance. Well done, Sandra.


  28. rgayer55 says:

    I used to work with a volunteer fireman. I mentioned driving by a fire that was never shown on TV or reported in the paper. He said if they suspect arson, it wouldn’t be in the news. Publicizing it only encouraged the arsonist to start another blaze.
    You showed us a lot about these two characters in 100 words. Well done, as usual.


  29. I like the smoke and fire metaphors. She needs help. Joe too.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. You’ve written a great story!


  31. dmmacilroy says:

    Hi Sandra,

    I enjoyed the story. Well written, subtly menacing and a portent of evil to come…

    But…(and I acknowledge freely and with admiration that I’ve never had to utter a word of critique in any of your stories I’ve had the pleasure to read) …I think that the odor of petrol and the word rancid do not mix well. The origins of petrol and the specificity of the definition of rancid make it a stretch. Perhaps your choice was artistically driven or maybe you were looking for a word to heighten the impact of dawning realization that there was the smell of an accelerant coming from the bag. I understand what you were going for… but… and here my comment has come full turn so I’ll shut up. Just a thought for you to fuel the lamp of your imagination with.

    Pleasure dropping by. Hope you are well and prospering.



    P.S. There’s always the possibility that I am flat out wrong, too. Apologies if that is the case:)


  32. rachelmalik99 says:

    Great story, I think you don’t need her to be a pyromaniac, you can also read the relationship between her, building and fire symbolically – both work really well.


  33. dmmacilroy says:

    Pungent and petrol does kind of rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it. I want you to know I wasn’t beating you over the head with my second comment. I enjoyed your search for the right word results and loved that you went so far afield to find that link for me/you. Happy to be talking to you.




  34. Sarah Ann says:

    I could smell the petrol fume in her hair too. So sad that Joe is losing Chloe to her former life, and that her heart blazes at the deed. Full of touching emotion, the fire a catalyst for change.


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