Friday Fiction – The Tunnel

Thanks for your patience with my experimental non-fiction post last week. I might run a few musings on Canada in between other posts, or continue to reserve them for when I’m away and can’t join in the Fictioneers’ fun. Anyway, now I’m back and Madison has provided us with yet another great picture. http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/flash-fiction/expectations/ will take you to her site, and the other stories based on this prompt.

Since DarkElmo went down so well two weeks ago, she’s back for another airing. Even more subtle though, this time. And I’ve finally got around to flexing my description muscles, although I had to cut half the description after writing it, to meet the word count target! I should apologise to Madison – I have slightly hammed up my impression of your tunnel, I hope you forgive me.

I’d love to hear what everyone thinks, so please do leave a comment if there’s something you like or don’t like about this piece.

The Tunnel

The path dipped into a tunnel littered with used condoms and discarded needles. Something oozed down the walls and in the slight bend halfway along, an old tramp dozed under cardboard blankets.

A chill ran through me as I passed him, as though I’d run through a ghost. Then I saw it – the light of the sunny morning – and I shook off the feeling. But the entrance was guarded by something which brought it back: a bench, looking out of place beside this forgotten culvert, marked with a plaque which read “Jane Soreton   1999-2011  Gone, but never forgotten.”

66 Comments

Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

66 responses to “Friday Fiction – The Tunnel

  1. Missed you last night! (Only three pieces to look at (two from Sam) – next time’s gonna be busy!) Funny we both went for needles and dead people on this one! Loved “as though I’d run through a ghost.” I would maybe try not to repeat the word forgotten, unless that was deliberate. Loved the plaque incorporation. Very cool 🙂

    • Thanks Stacey, sorry I wasn’t there on Thursday. I had a piece (almost) ready too!
      I’m in two minds about forgotten. It is either a clever repetition to show that while the culvert seems forgotten, for one family it can never be, or it’s a lazy repetition of an easy word. You’re right, if I can’t decide, I should take it out.

  2. Some good detail in it, capturing the essence of tunnel life. I liked the ‘cardboard blanket’. A painful twist at the end there.

    http://castelsarrasin.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/a-place-to-die-for-friday-fictioneers-13-april-2012/

  3. Well, your story jolted me. But I liked the details, and I thought it was interesting that your character came out at end of the tunnel shown in the picture, rather than the other way around.

    I liked the idea you led to at the end too. I could very well imagine a stone (or metal) plaque on the tunnel wall.

  4. EmmaMc

    Same as above, this jolted me and found it oddly creepy. Very well written.

    http://freejournowriter.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/friday-fictioneers-going-under/

  5. Good use of imagery. Your story was creepy, then chilling, then poignant. All within 100 words. Excellent job!

  6. This gave me chills. I wonder who the youth was. Did she die at the end of the tunnel? Is her spirit haunting it? I have so many questions. I’d read on and on.
    Here is mine: http://remakingme-atiyatownes.blogspot.com/2012/04/friday-flash-fiction-rural-route-27.html

    • I think you can assume nothing good happened to her in the tunnel, but I wasn’t certain exactly what it was, I’ll leave that to your imagination! Thanks for your comment.

  7. I agree with most comments above, it was indeed very creepy. I was thinking the person in the tunnel was the ghost of the girl who was killed, and that’s why seeing the bench “brought it back.”

    • I wondered how people would see the tramp, so thanks for letting me know your version! The feeling and the bench were definitely connected for me, but the hobo … well, he might just be a hobo.

  8. Russell

    It was very descriptive of what one might find in such a tunnel. When I first saw the photo, I was surprised to find no graffiti. You did a good job capturing the nervousness and anxiety of the person passing through. Nice work.

    http://russellgayer.blogspot.com/

  9. A shade trapped in the location of her untimely death?

    Here’s mine:http://teschoenborn.com/2012/04/13/friday-fictioneers-3/

  10. Wonderfully described. I could feel the initial relief seeing the sunlight and then wham. That ending left me feeling very uneasy and wondering just what she had seen.

    http://tollykitsjourney.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/flash-fiction-story-1-for-fridayfictioneers/

  11. This is superbly written. Took me through an emotional journey as I read through. Optimum utilization of 100 words! Kudos!

    Here’s my attempt for the week-
    http://faitaccompli.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/the-dark-tunnel/

  12. I felt like I was walking next to your main character. The description brought it all to me very clearly. Thank you for sharing!
    ~Susan (http://www.susanwenzel.com/)

  13. Lora Mitchell

    l’ve walked “quickly” through creepy subway tunnels such as you’ve described. When you read mine, you will see we pretty much ended on the same page. Here’s mine:
    http://www.triplemoonstar.blogspot.com

    • Indeed we did, Lora. Yours could almost be the ending to whatever story mine opens! I think many of us felt the fear of the tunnel – it’s strange the threats that unite us in the modern world: not nuclear attacks or warfare, but isolated tunnels at night!

  14. Creepy, and definitly with chill-factor. Darkelmo writes dark very well. I hadn’t thought of the tunnel in this way, so it gave me extra chills.

  15. A chilling tale – pun unintended. Perfectly captured that feeling of unease going into a grimy tunnel, with the addition of that brilliantly-described scene of “walking through a ghost” which, at first, led us to believe something was wrong about the homeless fella. Once we get to the revelation of the bench however, then it all becomes clear!

    http://garybaileywriting.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/134/

  16. Ooh! Ours could go together this week. I really love what you did with the bench in the photo especially. Lovely prompt usage.

    Here’s mine! http://thecolorlime.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/dead-97/

  17. Was the jogger Jane Sorenton?

    I like your details, brings the grime to life.

    • ooh, I hadn’t thought of that, JK. No, I think the jogger is just a witness to the chills Jane left behind. I’m glad you liked the description though, it doesn’t come easily to me.

  18. I like the description of the tunnel I actually wiped my hand on my leg at the stuff on the wall and found myself leaning away. The coming out to find the bench brought me up short and made me wonder about the dedication. Good job.

  19. Definitely a creepy tunnel description. Think I may well have been in that tunnel. Nicely done.

  20. Effectively eerie. I also thought the bench was a great inspiration and like what you did with it.

    Thanks for commenting on mine!

  21. You did it. I had an impossible time thinking of anything sinister in such a clean looking tunnel – but I forgot about the benches! Those sinister bencehes dedicated to lost loved ones or just the old dears that used to sit there knitting…
    Thinking out of the tunnel award!
    Laura

    • I have to admit, I muddied the tunnel up a bit to fit with the impression I wanted to create, but the bench was the inspiration. I love reading those plaques and taking a moment to wonder about the person they are dedicated to. But with this one, I think I’d be as scared as the narrator.

  22. R. N. Fontenot

    Great use of description. Cardboard blankets… lovely.

    Thanks for your post on my site!

  23. Who’s Jane Soreton, the narrator, a relative of the narrator, who? I was left thinking.

    • In my mind, she is not connected to the narrator at all. Just someone who came to a nasty end in the tunnel, the narrator is merely witness to the things she left behind

  24. I liked the juxtaposition of darkness (the insides of the tunnel-things) and the lightness (the plaque)…I also really appreciated the description…very cool…I will be back

  25. Madison Woods

    No apologies necessary for making what you need of the photo. Your description was very good and I could easily see the tunnel your character passed through. The light on the other end is always on my mind in tunnels, too, so I liked seeing mention of it.

    • Thank you so much, Madison, especailly for letting us all sully your tunnel. I’m delighted how well the description worked and I’ll definitely try to keep including it in future.

  26. Not much good could have come to a 12-year old girl who is remembered by a plaque at the opening to this terrible tunnel. One would assume innocence was betrayed in a creepy place. I’m not so sure I would even enter the tunnel if I came at it from the direction of the benches. Instead, you came the other way, and the feeling of dread and occupation “comes back” when you see the bench. Nice job

    • Thanks Scott, I agree about your fears for the girl, I don’t think anything nice happened to her here, although I’m in two minds about whether there was anyone else involved.
      I think we so often just rush past these little plaques, but if I saw it going in, I’d probably think twice about continuing too

  27. I liked it Elmo. Didn’t get it at first, till I re-read and thought about the dates. Then I got it.

    http://tedstrutz.com/2012/04/14/100-words-flash-friday-fictioneers-the-underpass/

    • 1999 seems so young to me! It’s hard to imagine anyone born then being old enough to even be in this tunnel! Thanks for taking the time to go back over this, and then to comment, Ted.

  28. good story…….i can say that i’m not a great fan of the title can’t i??

    • Absolutely,all comments are welcome. Titles aren’t my favourite things any more than description! Any suggestions?

      • none at all! i’m not a fan myself; i used to work for a company that had to come up with titles for art prints constantly……i just used to look at the boss blankly until he said, ‘you’re f**king useless’ and allow me to get on with my day…….good, relative titles are hard, abstract ones are far easier if it’s assumed that this is just an excerpt from a bigger story (and those such as my tribute to james patterson et al, are as easy to find as a tramp in a tunnel)

    • Absoltuely! All comments are welcome, and any title suggestions are also gratefully received. Titles, like descriptions, are one of the things I find difficult.

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