Collateral Damage – Friday Fictioneers, September 2019

Copyright Penny Gadd

Instinctively, I moved it beyond his reach.

It wouldn’t stop him trying, but for the moment it was safe.

As he grew, I shifted it higher, observing that others took similar precautions with cherished possessions, seemingly intuiting the potential for damage, yet only fleetingly reflecting on his motives… and the inevitably shocking tantrums.

I deeply regret that no-one had the foresight to safeguard you, my dear.  And that none of us further explored our concerns regarding his behaviour.

His personality is now, belatedly, the subject of both judicial and clinical investigation.

And you, sadly, are truly and irrevocably beyond anyone’s reach.


Emerging from the other side of a visit from the grandkids is almost like being reborn.  The food, the drinks (and temporarily the cat) all disappeared from the house.  Same time next year, then?  🙂  I missed my weekly interaction with Friday Fictioneers, hosted by the inimitable birthday-girl Rochelle, and found it hard to get going again this week.


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.
This entry was posted in Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin' and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to Collateral Damage – Friday Fictioneers, September 2019

  1. Iain Kelly says:

    I recognise the game of moving the expensive things out of reach. A poignant twist in the tale here.


  2. Tannille says:

    I imagine nothing is high enough.


  3. ceayr says:

    Yet another exquisite piece of writing, building slowly from material possessions to human life.
    I am almost out of chapeaux!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Colline says:

    I remember those times when moving everything out of my toddlers’ reach was necessary 🙂


  5. trentpmcd says:

    lol, I hope the grandchildren are not the subject of any judicial or clinical investigations…


  6. Dear Sandra,

    One has to wonder what goes on in the mind of the mothers of homicidal maniacs. You’ve captured it poignantly. Brava!




  7. That last line is a killer.


  8. Elegantly done, Sandra. What a closing line!

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos


  9. A real drama in these short 100 words. And lots of blame, guilt.
    Where were the teachers in all this?


  10. granonine says:

    Too bad we can’t recognize the psycopath gene until it manifests to our great harm. Creepy, wonderful story 🙂


  11. Dale says:

    Another brilliant one, Sandra. I guess a break from us all to spend time with your loved ones didn’t stop your creativity!


  12. Nobbinmaug says:

    The ending gave me chills. You are too good at psychological twists. I’m jealous.


  13. I wonder if we can identify the bad egg so early… the end was terrifying…


  14. bearmkwa says:

    Good story. I can imagine that you had your hands full with your little angels – or should I say devils. Glad to see you emerged undamaged and living to face another day. I’m sure, that with extra treats and a healthy dose of catnip, kitty will return. ~ Shalom, Bear


  15. michael1148humphris says:

    I think you did great, and the last line tied everything together.


  16. Disturbing and poignant. The “you” that hadn’t put been out of reach…so sad.


  17. msjadeli says:

    “the subject of both judicial and clinical investigation” tells a lot. i like the open-endedness. I think the last line refers to the plant, but it may well not. Good story.


  18. neilmacdon says:

    You’re back with a bang, Sandra, with this chilling tale


  19. subroto says:

    Such a chilling tale and set up so perfectly from the first line.
    But of course there is a part of me that thinks there is something to be said for Plant Parenthood 😉


  20. I can’t imagine what this must be like, thank goodness. A brilliant piece Sandra.

    My story – Billy and me!


  21. Those who are the closest find it difficult to see the truth in another. Especially when it comes to parents and their children. Often, they are the most surprised. The way you built the story was brilliant, Sandra!


  22. draliman says:

    Ouch. Those early little signs, passed off as something else or easily missed…


  23. A sinister tale, I’m imagining a house with everything high up on the walls, the furniture ripped to shreds and covered in detritus and ink stains. Good stuff


  24. Toddlers and puppies. Even to drive a person to drink.
    We had 3 spend the night last night. You’d have thought hurricane Dorian had hit Arkansas.


  25. Ooo, creepy. And no, some things can’t be saved.


  26. A psychological story with a heart stopping last line. Loved this story, nevertheless Sandra.


  27. lisarey1990 says:

    Such a poignant take.


  28. The keeping things out of reach is quite familiar.


  29. 4963andypop says:

    All too familiar childproofing takes a sinister turn in this piece. Nice conversion of the commonplace to the tragic.


  30. Abhijit Ray says:

    What exactly did he do? Did he tear the plant apart?


  31. Margaret says:

    A tragic and unexpected switch from the familiar annoyance of childish naughtiness to a much darker and more frightening reality. I’m wondering who the ‘you’ in the second half of the story is.


  32. How tragic to be the parent of a homicidal killer. It would be heartbreaking. When my children were young I just kept breakable things out of reach and left them to explore. My mother used to say that was how they learned. Well done once again, Sandra. 🙂 — Suzanne


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