Bones were hard to tell from wood or stone.  Fortunately, her eyes adapted quickly to the grayness and today she easily spotted the bones.  Excited, she began digging with her hands.

When they caught up with her, she was staring, unbelieving, at her blood red hands.  She had forgotten color.


Flash Friday FIctioneers is brought to you by Madison Woods.  Her story and links to the many other fictioneers can be found here.

    • Janet said:

      Thanks. I read yours a little while ago and loved it. (I made one little comment, hope you don’t mind).

  1. Judee said:

    Hmm, I think perhaps we were similarly inspired, though with very different results. All I could think of when seeing the picture was grey, and lack of color. Well done, amazing what you manage with your postcard fiction.

    • Janet said:

      We were definateley similarily inspired, just with different colours.

    • Janet said:

      Thanks for coming by Sarah. I like the caption you added to your picture, “sticks and stones…” That’s one of the first things I thought of too when I saw the picture. Now I’m wondering why I didn’t persue it for a story.

  2. crubin said:

    I know I’ve said it before, but it deserves repeating: Your ability to convey so much in so few words is impressive.

  3. niiko47 said:

    A very disturbing ending to a well-written piece! Left me with a “whoa!” kind of feeling.

    • Janet said:

      Good. I’m glad. That’s the same feeling I wanted the protagonist to have as she saw her hands.

    • TheOthers1 said:

      I thought the same thing! I even said “Whoa” at the end.

  4. Sandra said:

    That last line was a real eye-opener. Great piece.

    • Russell said:

      The absence of color caught my eye too. I like the way you used that in this story. The 50 word post-card idea is very intriging. You do it well.

      • Janet said:

        Thanks Russell. When I first saw the picture I thought it was black and white, then I saw the rust coloured leaves. It must have stuck in my mind.

    • Janet said:

      Thans Sandra. I took a look at yours earlier. So many different interpretations. Yours is still a mystery to me.

  5. EmmaMc said:

    I love the last line, I would love to know what she was doing…I’m guessing she is an artist?

    • Janet said:

      I was actually going for some post-apocalyptic and dark, but I actually think your interpretation is very interesting. I can see how that would work. Now I have a new idea for another story….

    • Janet said:

      Thanks. It might have been the gloomy days we’ve been having lately, but all I could think of was grey.

  6. Jessica said:

    You’re first sentences are gaining strength, Janet. A real grabber. I have two tiny picky things, though, forgive me. I’m tempted to turn ‘greyness’ to ‘grey’, to tighten up the sentence and bring out the echo with ‘today’; and I want to turn ‘unbelieving’ to ‘disbelieving’, as then it alliterates so nicely with ‘staring’, ‘blood’, ‘red’ AND ‘hands’.

    • Janet said:

      As always I love your suggestions. My only question is: is it grey or gray? I think I always use the wrong one.

      • Jessica said:

        Having grown up in Grey County, I spell “Grey”; but both, unless rules have changed since I was a nut, are allowed.

  7. I love the contrast of the grey bones and the blood-red hands. Excellent!

  8. I like that you’ve used the muted colours of the prompt to your advantage here, so that just the suggestion of blood packs a real punch. I am curious to know what she was digging for, though judging from her reaction she’s found it.

    • Janet said:

      If I told you, it wouldn’t be a mystery.

    • Janet said:

      I have to be honest with both of you and admit that was not what I was thinking but I wish I had been. What a cool concept. More great ideas to write down.

  9. I’m unclear on the ending, but it got me to read it twice, so that’s saying something! I do like how the first paragraph is analogous to shakes of grey and the second paragraph introduces the idea of color. It’s like two separate ideas in two separate paragraphs. Well done.

    • Janet said:

      I did want to leave the ending vague, just giving a few hints but maybe I didn’t give enough. Thanks for the feedback, it all helps!

  10. Dear Janet,

    I share the feelings of many of your readers with this piece and while I love what you’ve done with fifity words I can only imagine how much more powerful you could have made it with twice the words. As an exercise in minimalism, it works, but I wonder if you’re not too hard a task master for yourself.

    I want you to know that I too, was struck by the ash gray aspect of the picture. Neat that you made that a major them of your work.



    • Janet said:

      Thanks for coming by Doug. There are actually some themes / stories that I am working on to make into larger pieces (by larger I mean under 1000 words – I mean hey let not get crazy here!). Some have really stood out in my mind and I have ideas of how I’d like them to develop.

    • Janet said:

      All I’m going to admit to is that I had some post-apocalyptic idea in mind.

  11. Lora Mitchell said:

    Hi Janet: This is my take on your postcard story of only 50 words. Let me know if you think my impression is off the wall. Unlike your other readers, I feel hope at the end. I see a woman who suffered a drab and dreary life…a life of grayness. Through years of stress, she lost her eyesight and only remembers the color ash gray. She revisits this site from her childhood where a beloved pet died. As she claws away and bloodies her hands, her sight returns and she sees the color red for the first time since childhood. But then again, that’s the storyteller in me who loves happy endings. Here’s mine:

    • Janet said:

      Hi Lora, I think your take on my story is awsome (although, I do admit it was not what I had in mind). However, you are not off on the hope part (or at least something like hope). Thanks for coming by.

  12. Mike said:

    Another rest 50 word story. So much said in so few words.
    I enjoyed how you played on the colour or lack of it in the photo.
    A lot of mystery and intrigue in that last line – “She had forgotten colour”

  13. Jeannie said:

    grayness with blood–now THAT’s an image! Nicely done!

  14. Your flash fiction made me want to know more about the grayness and why she had forgotten color. Well done!

    • Janet said:

      All part of the plan – keep them wanting more 😉

  15. Madison Woods said:

    I cringed by the last word and had my fingers clenched. Good job 🙂

    • Janet said:

      Thanks Madison. Couldn’t have done it without your prompt.

  16. Janet said:

    Thanks for coming by. I’m glad you liked it.

  17. Martin Cororan said:

    Good skills…

    • Janet said:

      Thank you for visiting my blog. Good luck with your novel The Melting Pot.

  18. The Lime said:

    Incredibly interesting. I’m with everyone else, I think, when I say that I’m totally curious as to what’s going on, who’s catching up with whom, etc. I like the focus on color, though, as I mentioned in a comment on someone else’s piece that focused on the color green. It’s noticeably absent from the prompt!

    Great work. Mine’s here this week:

    • Janet said:

      It might be absent from the prompt, but not my imagination. I was just over reading your story. Enjoyed it.

    • It’s fascinating when people use basic elements like that, isn’t it? I recently saw one focusing more on the dry texture of the prompt. It’s tempting me to try that on our next prompt.

      • Janet said:

        What I find amazing is all the different possibilities that one can focus on within a prompt and how different they can be from person to person. The imagination never ceases to amaze me.

        • I concur; the possibilities are limitless, not only in the aspects of the image, or avenues in the author’s mind, but also in the interpretations of the reader, too.

          • Janet said:

            Very true.

  19. Wow, this is incredible! To be so thought provoking with so few words… (though I must say, this is one postcard I’d be a little unsettled to receive)
    I had a similar read to others before me insofar as I initially thought that maybe she was an escapee from some form of institution. Then I started wondering: what if that’s not the case, and she is searching for something which can only be found beneath bones, some form of essential nutrient? I also had an interpretation where she was a killer with a type of disassociative disorder (but thinking about what she might be digging through to get to bones… Shudder) I really enjoyed all the different directions your story took me in 🙂

      • Hi Janet,
        I read ‘Simple Pleasures’ last week and at the time commented in terms of sociopathy and the possibility of that flash being a gateway to a longer ‘killer thriller’ (which I have no doubt you could write very well).
        Having read and enjoyed it again, I ended up with a slightly different take: the whole thing could so easily be the musings of a samurai; the Japanese aesthetic is very ‘nature-centric’ and your piece has all the makings of a haiku.
        The metaphor you use for blood in the stream could easily have been referring to the samurai in the wake of either a duel or having aided a fellow samurai commit seppuku. I know this is a little off-base in terms of the killer idea, but your writing gave me an alternate vibe here. Which is pretty cool, considering the original image your story put in my head was such a strong one.
        Anyway, sorry for this lengthy reply. I hope it’s the sort of thing you were looking for 🙂

        • Janet said:

          Please don’t apologize for the reply. This is exactly the kind of feedback I’m looking for. You’ve been a big help. Thanks

  20. This was really good. I loved the way she had forgotten colour, and the way you wrote that. The way you used the appearance of the bones was also brilliant, as I’ve seen it before, and it’s always a pleasure.

    • Janet said:

      I wrote about the appearance of the bones the way I did because I actually had to look closely to see if they really were bones or just sticks.

  21. Evelyn said:

    holy shit.
    that is creeeeepy.

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