Jane Doe – Friday Fictioneers, January 2019

Copyright Russell Gayer

 

Hers was a life more remarkable for its conclusion – the dreadful how, when and why of it – rather than any aspect of its currency.

She’d existed on the periphery, a bystander, ever a ‘bridesmaid’.

No-one was unkind; it wasn’t that kind of a sorority.  They just… well… overlooked her.

But in the aftermath of her brutal demise – oh, the feverish hunt for photos, year-books, videos – the endless sharing of ‘remember when’s….’

Now they recognised her as knowing, purposed, destined for uniqueness, with an aura that set her apart.

And they felt diminished in some way…

…and uneasy.

 The photo prompt looks like a perfect place to hide a body, if you’re wondering how I got to this.  The story isn’t the one I was trying to write; it’s not about ‘wishing you’d been nicer’ but I suspect that’s how it reads.  Someone who I imagine always writes the story she intended to is Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, who leads us bravely into another year.  Happy New Year to all Friday Fictioneers.

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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74 Responses to Jane Doe – Friday Fictioneers, January 2019

  1. neilmacdon says:

    It may not be the one you were trying to write, Sandra, but it’s perfect. Acid-etched as the walls of that cliff, and achingly true

    Like

  2. Iain Kelly says:

    As so often the remembrance of someone departed too soon does not reflect the way they were thought of when they were alive. The unease at all their fates in the last line has many layered meanings. Wonderful.

    Like

  3. ceayr says:

    You describe to perfection the world you see and those who inhabit it.
    You seem to understand all human doubts and frailties, and expose them mercilessly.
    Wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Sandra,

    You’re starting the year off with a stunner. This so put me in mind of an incident years ago when I was working. A cashier in the store where I worked was killed on the way to work in a car accident. Another woman I worked with couldn’t stand her…even tried to get her fired. After the accident she started referring to the poor unfortunate as “Kimmie” as if they’d been best friends. It was hypocritical at best and obnoxious at worst.
    That might not be your intent either. An evocative story nonetheless, written in your inimitable style.
    I can’t say that I always write what I intend. The muse often takes me by surprise. 😉
    I’ll stop and say ‘well done’ now.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Thanks Rochelle. How awful! And like you, I guess, I’m grateful whenever the Muse takes me at all, regardless of whether it’s by surprise. Hope this is your best year ever.

      Like

  5. Love this one, let the pen control the mind, that’s what I say…

    Like

  6. Varad says:

    This was fantastic, Sandra. People do tend to remember someone once they are gone when they wouldn’t have given them a minute when they were alive.

    Like

  7. Well done. Taut and tense, with just the right amount of ghastliness.

    Like

  8. Lynn Love says:

    Oh, how true this is. How many of us react the same way to a living person as we do to a dead one? I love that last line, that unease that the sorority feels. Do they have a reason to feel that way, other than a disturbed conscience at how she was overlooked. Love the layers in this Sandra

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Reena Saxena says:

    We recognize contribution, when we miss the impact of those.

    Like

  10. Jelli says:

    So often true. Wow. This was heart stopping. Happy New Year.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Thank you! Glad you liked it. And Happy NY to you too, I hope it’s a good one.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jelli says:

        So far, it’s been strange… Had a bad vertical day the 1st, kept falling over, then toasted the toaster. Yesterday, learned the coworker lady of my hubby who promised me a pup out of her litter due at Christmas was fired last week while he was on vacation. Now, no puppy and I’m might disappointed.

        Like

  11. Anita says:

    People say good things after one is no more. Wish we appreciate people more when they are alive…
    That’s life after death…
    Perhaps they are feeling uneasy as she is still around and watching them?
    Wish you a very happy new year!
    Zapped – Anita

    Like

  12. That was unexpected! And awesome… love the intent! Well done!

    Like

  13. Kalpana Solsi says:

    It is an artificial, fake world where the living ones are not liked or recognized and the dead ones remembered.

    Like

  14. The most chilling part is that I can almost feel an envy for her fame, pushing the rest of them into the background where she always had existed.

    Like

  15. The shiver at the end of that is wonderful.

    Like

  16. michael1148humphris says:

    Great writing, loved it

    Like

  17. Dale says:

    Sandra,
    When you write like this, I find myself sorely lacking in any writing skills whatsoever.
    C’est à dire, chère dame… ceci est d’une brillance qui m’épate…
    I love how you constructed this.

    Like

  18. Stories have a life of their own, who are we to try and shape them in a particular way? 🙂 Wish you and yours a brilliant new year Sandra!

    Like

  19. i b arora says:

    Death changes everything, even our perspective

    Like

  20. draliman says:

    Shame that you sometimes only appreciate someone properly after they’re gone.

    Like

  21. Abhijit Ray says:

    It is the ultimate irony is it not? Ignore a person when alive and shower with beautiful eulogies after death!

    Like

  22. granonine says:

    The stories I don’t intend to write usually get my best responses. This one plays out perfectly. The living wallflower, in death, becomes a bouquet of roses.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Liz Young says:

    Your story, which is excellent as usual, leaves a lot of other things unexplained!

    Like

  24. Wow, a brilliant piece. I’ve read it several times. The first line is powerful and casts a shadow for the rest of the story. She was not known, but when she died a “brutal” death she was created as someone else. The ending leaves you breathless (if that makes sense, I’m unsure how to describe it better). Amazing, Sandra!

    Like

  25. So many lives are taken for granted. It truly is sad. It is better they treasured her after her death rather than not at all. But there is definitely something sickening about it.

    Great write! I enjoyed every second.

    Like

  26. 4963andypop says:

    Insightful glimpse into human nature, in responding to the violence or tragedy of premature death of the young. Everyone becomes a mourner, no matter how distant or indifferent in real life. This has been prominently on display in the school shootings in the US in recent years.

    I especially like your wry use of the word “currency” in the first paragraph. The whole story speaks to our culture’s celebrity worship and how we dismiss,or fail to notice, unremarkable deaths (and lives) because they fail to rise to a level which attracts our attention.

    Like

  27. Piyali says:

    People who die at a young age are often remembered this way by those they hardly had any connection with. Hard-hitting tale!

    Like

  28. This is wonderful. I find that stories I don’t intend to write come out the best. Maybe it’s something to be said for sitting back and letting something else truly take over.

    Like

  29. StuHN says:

    Her demise, so awful, could be many things. For this, that detail wasn’t as important as the effect she didn’t have, then did. Good piece.

    Like

  30. Who needs posthumously appreciation! Aptly and beautifully penned.

    Like

  31. jsmcentee37 says:

    Intriguing! I want to know more.

    Like

  32. gahlearner says:

    This is amazing, Sandra. The unease at the end, brilliant expression of shame mixed with relief that it was her who died, not them. Peer groups described in perfection.

    Like

  33. Margaret says:

    Poor girl – to be noticed only after such a horrible end. Great insight into the minds of those who thrive at the ‘centre’ and those on the edge. Wonderful last line.

    Like

  34. subroto says:

    An envy only because she achieved posthumous fame and outshone them. That is kind of creepy but then I expected nothing less from you 😉

    Like

  35. Sad truth of life and shallowness of humanity. We ignore people when they exist and make a celebrity out of them when they are no longer there. Loved the last line!

    Like

  36. What a way to be remembered! It’s incredibly sad. I can only hope not everyone remembers her like this.

    Like

  37. Russell says:

    A most interesting take on the prompt! Great read!

    Like

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