Friday Fiction – Torment

I’m determined to read all the entries for Friday Fiction this week as it’s been a while since I had chance to look at more than my allocated five and few favourite writers. But having seen Madison’s prompt, I’m not sure I want to look at 50-something copies of this photo. I’m glad she explained it in her covering post. For those who haven’t read that, this is apparently entirely plant-material based, and occured when trees, vines and shrubs were pruned on her road a year ago. What crazy things nature does!

You can join me in reading the other entries here. I look forward to hearing your comments on mine too – it all came from my initial reaction, which you’ll find in the first word of the story.


“Ewww! That’s gross!” Liam squeezed as far back into his seat as he could. The thing loomed over him, threatening to drip seeping yellow pus onto his skin. “Mu-um!”

“Owen, stop tormenting your brother,” sighed their mother from the front, without turning her head.

Owen waved the oozing branch closer to his brother’s face with a cackle. They’d been driving for days now, Mum alternating between singing to the radio and sobbing into the steering wheel. This was the first fun he’d had since the funeral, when he’d peeked up Aunt Josie’s skirt and nobody had even told him off.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

72 responses to “Friday Fiction – Torment

  1. This is very good take on the prompt! 🙂

  2. A great take on the prompt.
    Owen sounds like the kind of brother you could do without.

  3. Oh, so many great things going on in that last paragraph. I wonder if the first two paragraphs could be cut (or stuffed) into the third, and the third expanded a little – and then maybe we’d get right into the story. Or not.

    That skirt line is just great.

    • Oooh, I see where you’re going with that, Craig. I’ll have to mess about and see what gives. Thanks for making me think!
      And I’m glad you like the skirt line – he’s a bit of a tyke this kid!

  4. Good slant on that prompt, your words hint at an enticing back story.

    • thanks Trudy. There’s so much more to this story, it’s another one I’d like to expand sometime. That list is getting longer and longer, I’m going to have to start writing fulltime!

  5. I think we went down the same path this week, though I suspect something a bit darker going on in yours. Nice one.

  6. Jennifer,
    This story has some great qualities, quirky, weird, and that otherworldly atmosphere that developes on long car trips. All set against a dark background. Nice piece of writing.

    • Ron, That’s one of the nicest comments I’ve ever had! I thought there was going to be a but at the end, and instead, you concluded with “Nice piece of writing.” Thank you!

  7. rgayer55

    Great job with a yukky prompt. I like Owen. He reminds me of some of the kids I grew up with (or was). Thanks for visiting & commenting on mine.

  8. I have gotten too used to writing horror. I really expected one of the brothers to die! 🙂 Nice change.

  9. Sad and funny at the same time. Very good!

  10. fun story. I liked the end line… the first fun he’d had since… he’d peeked up Aunt Josie’s skirt and nobody had even told him off.

    and for the sibling relationship, if you haven’t read it yet, try

    A little wand action goes a long way!

  11. ooh the little booger!…
    I think it’s perfect 🙂

  12. Great voice and take on the prompt. Very original. Can’t wait to read more of your contributions.

  13. good take on the prompt!

  14. Thanks for reading my blog and for your constructive criticism-part of becoming a better writer is seeing where you need to improve. I’m bad with typo errors, sometimes my spell check will “suggest” I put in a ” ‘ ” when I don’t see is as grammatically correct. To my understanding the word “it’s” means it is and “its’ ” is possessive. Is that right? I may start ignoring the spell check suggestions when i don’t agree. I don’ like that wp makes you “publish” before you can see some of the items, like categories, etc. I will follow your post, please consider following my blog and if you see errors, , I would like to check out your suggestions, and correct them. best wishes, beebeesworld

    • Hi beebee! I agree about its and it’s. If that doesn’t fit with my comment on your story, I probably misread it, in which case I apologise. And I agree about spellcheck – sometimes I read the suggestions it make and cringe!
      I’m a bit of a habitual critic, so please always take my comments in the way intended – as suggestions and nothing more. If you disagree or prefer to do things another way, that is your prerogative as author. I only hope to help, as others help me.

  15. Typical boys:) fun take on the picture

    • Thanks Carrie. Boys will be boys, even under difficult circumstances. I think we all deal with grief differently, and I see Owen as a bit to young to really understnad what’s going on.

  16. I’m guessing older brother’s are something people would rather live without, luckily I only have a younger brother, nice work with this rather odious prompt.

  17. SAM

    I’m all prepared for tons of alien stories, maybe even a few zombies, so yours was a delightful change for where my mind was.

    Thanks for stopping by my place!

  18. You brought the story from a harmless bit of fun to something much bigger. It was done easily and naturally. Good job!

  19. A really nice snapshot of a family – and you even managed to get an auntie in there too. They say that children grieve differently to adults – they joke and have fun and then it hits them for a while, and then they’re back teasing their brothers again. You really caught all that.

  20. rochellewisoff

    You don’t say whose funeral. Husband/father I suspect.. I loved the way the mother really worked to hold it together. Having raised three boys and been the naughty little sister, the children ring true to life.
    Thanks for your comments on mine.

    • Yeah, I envisioned the boy’s father’s funeral, hence why he didn’t get told off for monkeying around. Ran out of words for more though! Thanks for your kind compliment about the children.

  21. TheOthers1

    Aw, I’m thinking about mom. It reminded me of how my mom behaved after my father died. We would be in the car for a long distance trip and she’d be crying at the steering wheel as she was driving. Great scene! 🙂

    • Sorry to hit you with a reminder like that, Others, although I’m glad it rang true for you. The mum is dealing with her heartbreak in a different way from the boys, but I’m sure they are grieving too, even if Owen thinks he’s fine.

  22. Great take on the prompt. You can just hear and see the kids in the back of the car. Well done 🙂

    For you readers:

  23. I can see poor Liam strapped into his car seat with the dreaded pus threatening to drip on his face–childhood version of the Chinese water treatment!

  24. Good old sibling torment, nice job.
    Here is mine

  25. Well done yet again – you always find such great ways to work subtext into your stories, no matter how light they might be on the surface. I loved this one!

  26. The problem of driving with children multiplied by the X and the yuk factors! Maybe captain’s seats with a big divider??

  27. I found this so realistic – Owen is written exactly as a little boy behaves when dealing with a tragedy he doesn’t quite understand (or how some of us behaved everyday throughout our childhoods.)

  28. What a little punk! That kid seems to have a real dark side. I’d love to see where he ends up in a dozen or so years. Interesting character…


  29. LOL. Boys will definitely be boys. I was mildly concerned that the deceased was Aunt Josie, but I presume that was my own imagination… 😀

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  32. Owen’s growing up, I suspect. Peeking up skirts, indeed. But poor mum. She’s got to handle these two on her lonesome. Great little snapshot of life..

  33. We have two boys, one aged 13 and one aged 6 and it is the little one that tortures the big one with the bugs. Nice realistic slice of family life.

  34. What a great title for this. There are so many forms of torment inside your 100 words. Well done.

  35. Oh, jeez. She had no idea the boy had that disgusting, putrid thing. Oh, yuck. Good take on the prompt. Lucy

  36. Yikes! That’s killer, Jen, as we say these days in the States. You have done well with your writing. The ideas and their developments are usually good and you still invite constructive criticism. You;re doing just fine.

    No story from me this week, but I will have one ready for the proceeding one.

    • I read that first as “preceding one” and was confused to say the least. Thank you for your comment, makes me feel like there’s a future for me in writing to hear things like that.

  37. This is certainly a familiar scene to any parent… in the car or out! Nice job Jen. What I notice about this, that’s a bit different from your more recent stories is the nuances you use today. You often are short in words but deep in imagery and meaning. This is lovely story as is, but doesn’t have the nuance that some of your more recent stories have. That’s my two cents worth. 😉

    • That’s interesting, Tales, I’m going to have to check out whether this is a bigger trend! I wonder if the backstory in this one counts as adding depth, or whether part of the change is the subtlety of the backstory – it seems only about half the readers got it both first time round and this time…

  38. Pingback: Friday Fiction – The Price of the Prize | elmowrites

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