Cuckoo in the Nest – Friday Fictioneers, June 2019

Copyright CE Ayr

Why shouldn’t it be ours?

Hadn’t we sacrificed as much as everyone?  These people had been forced to flee, as had we, and like as not had perished whilst we, who had also lost everything , survived.

So we watched and listened; no-one came or went for weeks.

Then we moved in.

Respecting their possessions, we stacked them carefully in the basement, away from the sticky, prying fingers of our children.

We left only under cover of darkness, kept the blinds closed.

The war ended and still no-one came.

Beginning to relax, we dared to dream.

We should have known better…

 

Inspired by a book I’m reading at the moment, where an army deserter misappropriates the apartment of a woman who’d fled Paris during the war.  Just as he’s beginning to relax, he comes home one evening to see a light on in the living room.  Thanks again to Rochelle, for her leadership and patience with the 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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49 Responses to Cuckoo in the Nest – Friday Fictioneers, June 2019

  1. neilmacdon says:

    Great ending, Sandra

    Like

  2. No one’s safe under those circumstances

    Like

  3. Tannille says:

    Really makes one question the meaning of ownership.

    Like

  4. Colline says:

    A good one this – I enjoyed reading it.

    Like

  5. Dear Sandra,

    There seems to be a bit of a dichotomy: respect for the original owners yet not wanting them to return. Well written as I would expect.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Yes, I guess you’d start off with one outlook, but as you came to regard it as your own you might find your attitude changing. Thanks for reading Rochelle.

      Like

  6. ceayr says:

    I found this somewhat creepifying.
    And then came the last line…

    Like

  7. Excellent story. You pack a lot into very few words.

    Like

  8. A perfect title for a tale which is unlikely to end well.

    My go at Friday Fictioneers!

    Like

  9. Nicely done, Sandra. The tension of need and use and respect and hope and … well … ultimately knowing that this was not one’s home.
    It echoed some of the realities of WWII (and probably many a war before it), where people moved into the homes of displaced Jews. Most did not return home … but some had, only to find others — sometimes people they’d known, sometimes their own neighbors — having moved into their home. The ending was often unkind, for not many had gotten their homes back and some were chased away in anger by guilty (and hopefully shamed filled) interlopers.
    War is such an ugly, complicated, victimizing thing.
    In any event — great writing!
    Na’ama

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Iain Kelly says:

    An intriguing premise. Perhaps they all end up living together as friends, but then I’ve been reading your tales for a while now and I suspect it’s not going to end so happily…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. pennygadd51 says:

    I like the way you show the subtly changing mindset of the interlopers. Your storyline prompts all sorts of thoughts as to what comes next. Probably just as well the previous owner’s possessions were safely stowed.

    Like

  12. I am glad the owners survived. Nice story.

    Like

  13. Great change of direction. They dared to hope . . .

    Like

  14. Liz Young says:

    That ending left me wanting more. Well done!

    Like

  15. msjadeli says:

    I like the ambience you created in your story. Sorry to hear the other shoe drops for them.

    Like

  16. Wow, this certainly has the seeds of a full-blown story. I want to turn the page, but there isn’t another one. Maybe later on ???????

    Like

  17. Love the atmosphere you’ve created here as well as that ending.

    Like

  18. draliman says:

    The blow at the end comes all the harder as they’d started to relax after so long. Nice one!

    Like

  19. They must have really been desperate. That would be a terrible way to live and raise children. Good writing as always, Sandra. —- Suzanne

    Like

  20. A most intriguing story, hinting at wider events, and leaving us to speculate. Nicely done.

    Like

  21. Dale says:

    This was wonderfully done, Sandra. It was too good to last, I’m afraid.
    I loved the respect for the owner’s things whilst still hoping they never return.

    Like

  22. Abhijit Ray says:

    Someone always returns to take charge of property. Upto you now, if you can fend them off.

    Like

  23. granonine says:

    Truth is stranger than fiction. Excellent story, with the tension building slowly.

    Like

  24. DB McNicol says:

    Fascinating – this is a fantastic starter for something longer.

    Like

  25. Very sad story that certainly could be true. They suffered and found a way to survive, only to be struck again. You built the tension so well, made us relax, then pulled the rug out. Fantastic writing as always!

    Like

  26. A powerful ending, Sandra. I felt sad for the kids. They must have wondered
    why they were always under a veil of darkness. GREAT write, as always.
    Isadora 😎

    Like

  27. Nobbinmaug says:

    This one’s a potential double-edged sword. What shattered their growing comfort? Did the rightful owners come home? One has to feel for the refugees who return home to find someone else living in their home as much as the refugees living in their home just trying to survive. Were the refugees of the story discovered by the government/military? Then what happens to them? There are layers of intrigue here.

    Like

  28. So often my stories are inspired by what I am reading. You’ve made this book terribly intriguing!

    Like

  29. Love your premise for this story. Waiting for the other shoe to drop.

    Like

  30. I like the way you shatter the hope they gradually, tentatively, reluctantly grasped at, Sandra.

    Like

  31. plaridel says:

    a moment of reprieve. at least, they made the most of it.

    Like

  32. That’s a dilemma, when everything is just sitting there. The people here treated the possessions than some might. Great story.

    Like

  33. James McEwan says:

    Yes Sandra, this is the reality of Kosovo and Pristina. The Serb population were compelled to leave before the others returned. I liked the fear and uncertainity you raised in your story.

    Like

  34. Margaret says:

    We think we know the difference between right and wrong – and then war comes along. Nice portrayal of your character’s moral dilemma, and his capacity to rationalise away his own guilty feelings. Very thought-provoking.

    Like

  35. Rowena says:

    Great ideas and well-written, Sandra. I recently watched a documentary about trying to recover stolen items belonging to Jewish people from WWII and attempts to return artworks to their rightful owners. It mentioned how a lot of stolen household goods have ended up in markets through Germany. I found it rather chilling.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

    Like

  36. I don’t blame them for taking refuge in the house. They still showed some respect by packing away the owner’s belongings, I loved that bit. But maybe it’s time to move on. It wasn’t really theirs in the first place.

    Like

  37. Kalpana Solsi says:

    finders are the keepers as the adage goes. But it is not always true.

    https://ideasolsi65.blogspot.com/2019/06/property.html

    Like

  38. gahlearner says:

    A very difficult situation and a thought provoking story, Sandra. This has happened many times and the sad thing is that it is still happening.

    Like

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