Once Upon a Beach – Friday Fictioneers, June, 2020

Copyright Ted Strutz


With my mother leading, we struggled up the dunes to the car park, half-empty hampers bumping at our heels.

I studied the great white slabs of my mother’s calves, lightly blue-threaded, as we approached the car where Father was already waiting, drumming angry fingers on the steering-wheel.

Close by, a large seagull was attacking a smaller bird for a crust. After feeble resistance, the smaller bird abandoned the crust, as if this would stop the onslaught and inevitable finale.

It didn’t.

Nor would curtailing our day on the beach.

I resolved at that moment – this will not be my life.


Sitting here listening to rain pattering steadily on the conservatory roof.  The first, it seems, in weeks.  And now back to cooler weather.  Thanks to Rochelle for leading the Friday Fictioneers.  Stay safe.

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.

67 Responses to Once Upon a Beach – Friday Fictioneers, June, 2020

  1. neilmacdon says:

    Absolutely wonderful, Sandra. The atmosphere, the description, the parallel between gulls and humans. A masterclass in how to do flash fiction

    Liked by 2 people

  2. ceayr says:

    Every week I read your 100 words in admiration and awe.
    You say so much in so little, and leave just enough unsaid, and whole lives are laid bare.
    As Neil says, a masterclass, by a master writer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tannille says:

    Ugh domestic abuse is never fun (it’s not all violence). I liked the tie in with the birds.


  4. MrBinks says:

    Fantastic! A master of your craft.
    I found “I studied the great white slabs of my mother’s calves, lightly blue-threaded,” extremely emotive!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Iain Kelly says:

    The angry fingers drumming says so much about what has happened and what will happen later. Fabulous story, in a grim and foreboding way.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Sandra,

    The description of her mother’s legs is magnificent and makes me want to wear long skirts and pants. (Hard to swim that way, though). Father’s angry fingers drumming the wheel had an all too familiar ring. All in all, you’ve put this reader in the scene. I’m going to go shake the sand out of my suit now. Brilliant.



    Liked by 1 person

    • Sandra says:

      Sand in your suit… how I remember that. Lovely to look at, tolerable to walk through in bare feet, but when wet… ugh! Thanks for commenting.


  7. Mike says:

    I must stay clear of this particular beach, it sounds rather dangerous😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I could feel the tension that child is under in the juxtapostition of bird altercations with her family. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sandra says:

      Children take on board far more than adults think they do. And with no experience against which to measure what they hear and see… 😦 Thanks for reading.


  9. How do you do it? So much said in so few words. Outstanding Sandra.

    *Grey clouds approaching, the beach deserted; what a difference a day makes!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. wmqcolby says:

    Amazing atmosphere, mood, everything. I actually could see it happening. Kind of reminds me of our Fourth of July picnics at my aunt and uncles’ farm. Dad was always impatient to get home (it’s a two-hour drive), although, not quite enough for me to say it wouldn’t be my life. And THEN, you go and tack on that ending … superb!

    Five out of five dry crusts of bread “in peace and quiet instead of a house full of feasting and strife.” Lesson learned from the seagull, probably, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dale says:

    You truly are a master of the genre, Sandra. You tell such a huge tale in one hundred words; the descriptions vivid and the comparisons between the birds and humans. Very powerful story.


  12. Brilliantly done and always so quick! I bow down to your supreme writing ability!


  13. pennygadd51 says:

    Very, very good indeed, Sandra. So good, that you have me hoping it’s not autobiographical (Please tell me it isn’t!)


  14. plaridel says:

    family should make one feel safe and protected, but sometimes it’s not the case. that’s sad.


  15. granonine says:

    You gave us the whole picture in so few words. Well done.


  16. msjadeli says:

    A story where one family is to the beach first and back to the car first while the rest are lugging tells me all I need to know. Great story that fills in the details.


  17. A life described in 100 words. Too good!


  18. Liz Young says:

    Your poor child has a miserable life, despite her mother’s attempts to lighten it with picnics.


  19. draliman says:

    So much darkness going on behind the scenes.


  20. James McEwan says:

    I found this an emotionally charged story and was absorbed by the character’s observations and comparisons – an uplifting end with willingness to escape and change.


  21. I’m reading Neil’s comment, and taking notes! You had me at the ‘white slabs of calves’. Right away I could picture the woman. And the fear and terror they must live under.


  22. Brilliant, Sandra. I loced the llightly blue threaded legs. It told us everything we needed to know about the size and probable age of the narrator.


  23. Nobbinmaug says:

    Your description here is brilliant. I was also taken with the description of the mother’s legs. All the while the real story is bubbling beneath the picture you’ve so vividly painted. Masterfully done.


  24. I really like the way you have constructed the story,not a word wasted. The details convey so much meaning. I like the ‘great white slabs of my mother’s calves’, and the angry drumming of my father’s fingers. A treat to read.


  25. subroto says:

    Truely a masterclass in flash fiction. Descriptions bringing the story to life and so much to read between the lines.


  26. I love the details in the this.. the blue veins and the drumming fingers on the wheel told such of such dreary… wonderful storytelling.


  27. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Sandra,

    I have it on good authority that the wishing well at Upwey is being replenished by your rain.

    As for your story? It replenishes me with the joy of reading the work of a writer who, by virtue of her skill with one hundred words, adds thousands to the tale in the mind of her readers.

    Well done.

    Stay safe and out of the news, please.




  28. Great story, Sandra. Every week your work stands out as literature in 100 words. I loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Ruby Manchanda says:

    You weave such breathtakingly beautiful stories.. Your writing is simply gorgeous


  30. Funny how our parents set an example for us.


    • Sandra says:

      Yes, examples work in two ways don’t they? Some parents boast they stay together ‘for the sake of the kids’. In reality of course, the best thing they could have done ‘for the sake of the kids’ would have been to go their separate ways. Kids see that. I saw that.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. tedstrutz says:

    This is so good. I know those drumming fingers.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Geri Lawhon says:

    This was a wonderful story. Your words were so good at conveying images. Thanks for posting this piece.


I'd love to hear your views; it reassures me I'm not talking to myself.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.