Friday Fiction #14

Thanks as ever to Madison Woods for the inspiration for this week’s story, which you can find here: http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/flash-fiction/grave-digger-100-words/

I say thanks, but knowing I had promised to give a positive, death-free story this week, I think she is teasing me with a picture which she entitled “Grave Digger”! Still, I hope you’ll agree that childish innocence and determination is positive and hopeful. See what you think – I’d love to hear your comments, good or bad.

Out of the Mouths of Babes

“What are those, Daddy?” Lucy shuddered. “They look like fairy bones!”

“Fairies don’t die! They are pieces of rock. Remember the pebble you found yesterday?” Lucy had been amazed by how shiny it was; how she could almost see her own face in it. “Well, sometimes rocks get smashed up by the weather instead of polished by the river. They are powerful forces in the rock’s life and depending on what the rock’s like and how it behaves, it either shines or crumbles.”

Lucy thought for a moment. “I think I’d like to be a pebble, not a fairy bone.”

 

 

65 Comments

Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

65 responses to “Friday Fiction #14

  1. Children are amazingly simple and sweet. I think it’s interesting that dad went into this long explanation about how the forces of nature affect the rocks, and what it boils down to for her, is still pebbles and fairy bones.

    • I find I actually enjoy writing child’s voices in these little pieces. I don’t know how consistent I’d be over a longer story though, it’s a long time since I spent any time with kids and when I did, I was a kid myself!

  2. An enchanting tale. And a strange choice for a child. A story about fairy bones sounds like an interesting tale – and one for the future, don’t you think?

  3. ‘Fairy bones’ – a lovely reminder of the way kids think. Enjoyed this.

  4. Love how metaphysical this became; I choose pebbles too, Robin

  5. miq

    I loved this. The voice of the child is so innocent. And her final choice perfectly exemplifies that. Very well done!

    Mine’s here:
    http://threedescriptors.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/flash-fiction-10-bones/

  6. As others have said, the innocence here is enchanting and whimsical.

    Good stuff!

  7. This made me wonder if they really were bones but the father was protecting his daughter from the macabre prospect that something had died and left behind its remains. I like the way this is making me think.
    http://wp.me/pVRF7-r2

  8. It was innocent but not innocent at the same time. Good read! Here’s mine: http://postcardfiction.com/2012/02/24/forgotten/

  9. An interesting proposition, QS, kind of Darwinistic; only the strong survive, or perhaps the lucky. Given what’s on offer, the little girl makes the only choice, though is it because it’s shiny or because it’s intact? A lot to think about in this little story! Deceptively deep and charming at the same time.

  10. Oops, sorry, I said QS when i meant EW!

    • I’m glad you explained that – I was trying to work out what QS meant!
      I think you’re right about the girl making the only choice – but so many of us crumble occasionally, it’s not always easy to be the pebble.

  11. Russell

    I want to be a pet rock. Name me, take me home, give me a warm bath and place me in the sunshine of the windowsill.

    Now, you’ve me started, Elmo . . . .

    mine’s at http://russellgayer.blogspot.com/

  12. Really nice parental analogy, quick save from what could have been a tantrum. Also a cache of wisdom in those dusty rocks.

    This sentence, “They are pieces of rock,” is kind of awkward. Maybe something more dismissive of the fairy theory? “It’s just rocks” or something?

    • Hmmm.. I’ll have to think about that, Craig. I had so much more to show, like Daddy crouching down to pick one up. I liked the idea that he was teaching Lucy about erosion, but in a way she could understand. He’s not just trying to reassure her, he’s explaining, hence “pieces of rock” rather than something more dismissive.

      But I’m grateful for the comment – it always good to revisit my writing based on reader’s reactions. Thanks for stopping by.

  13. Charming–to be removed from children for the period you mentioned, you certainly captured the essence of their thoughts and “voice.” Loved it!

    Mine: http://vsta.pr/zxAJ1y.

  14. TheOthers1

    Paralleling to life? I want to be the rock that shines not the rock that crumbles. I really liked this story.

  15. Awww . . . I love the sweet innocence of this story. You captured the child perfectly!

  16. To think like a child. You really captured that essence here.

    Here’s mine: http://teschoenborn.com/2012/02/23/friday-fictioneer/

  17. Sorry for the delay between ‘liking’ and commenting on your story, other commitments pulled me away for a time. I thoroughly enjoyed this. As the previous comments have shown, there are many layers one can read into here. You depict the relationship between father and daughter perfectly. I especially like that he says ‘Fairies don’t die!’ – he isn’t too grown up.
    I once heard that if you respond ‘thank you’ to someone who has said ‘bless you’ after you sneeze, somewhere a fairy dies. I hope this isn’t the case.
    Thanks for a thought-provoking story 🙂

    • LOL Andy, you’re forgiven already.

      I’m delighted you enjoyed it, and thanks for leaving such a long comment. I heard that about sneezing too – to this day I won’t say “thank you” if someone says bless you. I think there’s something in Peter Pan that might save us though, if we clap our hands three times and say “I believe in fairies” they come back to life!

  18. Hi Elmo,
    You stayed true to your no death or dismemberment pledge! I really liked the interplay between parent and child, how the father made the experience into a parable for the child to think about.
    Thanks for you nice comments on mine.

    • Thanks Bridges, a promise is a promise after all. Although I think I should have words with Madison about her choice of prompts for no-death week!
      I think you’re right about Dad too, but I did wonder whether maybe it was Lucy who turned a geology lesson into a life one!

  19. I quite enjoyed this story. I’ve had to explain many things to my nephews–things they first thought were scary, but once I explained them, they sound fascinating. And this is the type of “tone” I use. This is perfect.

    Well done.

    My link is here: http://quillshiv.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/let-flow-what-is-left/

  20. I read one more other kid-centred story from this prompt. This was by far more charming.

    Here’s mine:
    http://littlewonder2.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/100-words-flash-fictioneers/

  21. Lora Mitchell

    Sweet and charming tale. Patient, wise and delicate explanation by daddy.
    Here’s mine:

    http://www.triplemoonstar.blogspot.com

  22. Children are impressionable and the earlier one inculcates lessons of life in them the better…We are charted by our choices in life and the child choose a better path for herself. Lovely piece!!

  23. Madison Woods

    Hi Elmowrites, I loved the zen-like story of the pebbles and the rocks. A couple crits from my writerly perspective that snagged me though: When the father is telling her ‘They are rocks’ I heard ‘They’re rocks’. Maybe he is more formal with his language, though. The other thing was this line: “They are powerful forces…” I know you meant weather and water are powerful forces, but the sentence doesn’t really relay that. If you could rephrase the two sentences to include the forces of nature somehow, it would convert that ‘They are’ to concrete imagery. Hard to do with only 100 words that can’t mention death or misery, I know! Haha. Overall, I loved the story, loved the underlying message, too.

    • Hi Madison,

      Thanks for stopping by and for the concrits. I generally find I don’t use contractions and then i have to add them in after, so I guess I missed that one! But if I made it “They’re rocks” that would gain me the word to say “Nature is a powerful force” which might slightly improve the second line you jarred on. And yes, no misery this time!

  24. An enchanting story.
    Like the little girl I was hoping they might be fairy bones.

    • Thank you Mike! I’m not sure whether Lucy wanted them to be fairy bones or not though – dead fairies can’t be a good thing, can it? I’m sure the death and misery will be back in my stories soon, though. Keep an eye out

  25. I appreciated seeing this weeks picture through the eyes of a child. You did a great job. Fairy bones, indeed!

    ~Susan

  26. Dear Elmo,

    I have been wandering the wilderness, jumping from comment stream to comment stream instead of dropping one by one down the coments under Madisn’s story. Please forgive me as I finally arrive at yoru story.

    I like that you were determined to see a lighter side and tell a happy story in response to the gloomy and gray photo prompt offered up for our consideration. I, too, decided I would resist to the best of my ability the mournfull call of the bones. (I was glad when Winnie jumped out at me:)

    Loved your story, and especially the way Lucy’s thoughtful nature anchored it.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    • Hi Doug,
      So glad you found me in the end! I had said last week I was going to avoid misery, so I’m pleased I remembered this time. It was a challenge, but in spite of the greyness of the picture, I genuinely saw stones not bones. I think I may have been the only one, though. I enjoyed Winnie’s dream immensely – you managed to somehow make the bones quite innocent.

  27. Oh Elmo, this is adorable. I’m running even later than Doug this week, but I’m just taken with this conversation. It absolutely captures the childlike sentiment — I’d rather be a pebble!

    Beautiful.

    Mine’s here this week: http://thecolorlime.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/to-starve-98/

  28. This reads very natural, I’m impressed! Dialogue like this is very hard to do well, but you have. Well done.

    Here’s mine: http://jaykayel.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/breaking-the-surface-100-word-flash-fiction/

  29. Sweet interpretation with a macabre edge, and I love the use of ‘fairy bones’! Very creepy and yet delicate name for them. Father was very rational, but I wonder what your more morbid interpretation would have been like? 😉

  30. Such a gem in 100 words. Sorry for the very late dropping by, I’m afraid though, I knew I had to take my time before visiting Elmo’s blog and a few others again, and I just didn’t have that time.

    I’m going to take the chance on this one, to Elmo’s hate. 😀 I’m afraid my reading aligns more with Steven’s and Craig’s above. I suspect they are fairy bones… and the father doesn’t sound entirely convincing… Well, no, he does in his own world, and yet the beautiful twist in the end brings back every time the lingering question. (I read it three times, sorry!)
    In the intersection of the father’s rational world and the complex fantasy world, the sweet innocence of child’s hope in the end drops the barriers between them again, and that leaves the question open… in some way.

    Just trying to capture the feeling I had, here, sorry for the rather poor wording I think I’m using.
    That said, I love it even more. (and maybe I’m projecting my own preferred interpretation on it at the expense of the writer’s intention. 😀 That’s not fair, nor unheard of, though, is it?)

    Please forgive my casual tone, Elmo. Sometimes succeeding to unleash your reader’s imagination might be… oops, a Pandora’s box? And you have succeeded too well.

    • No hate at all, Norv, and thanks for the long comment! I am more than happy for people to see in my writing whatever works for them – if I wanted them to see something different, I should have shown it better!
      I definitely didn’t see bones, I don’t think Dad did either, but Lucy? Nobody believed Lucy’s namesake when she said she’d found a magical world called Narnia either, and look what happened to them!

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