Friday Fiction – Preserving Beauty

Wow, FF hasn’t been this difficult for me in a long time. The picture from Danny Bowman is so bleak and yet stunning, I wanted to do it justice with my story, but the ideas clanked out slowly and the resulting first draft was much too long and pointless to be worth sharing. Sometimes, the muse just doesn’t want to get out of bed – I know how she feels!

But here, at last, it my offering. I hope it’s worth the wait.


Preserving Beauty

Marie nipped the flower from a crevice in the rock and into her book. She glanced around and sighed. In preserving beauty, she had crushed the volcano’s only hope of bearing life.

Tears blinded her as she stumbled back to the Observation Station. She and Louis had shared a hope once, but she too was barren wasteland.

“I ruin everything,” she sobbed.

“Another quake,” he whispered. “We need to evacuate.”

Blackness seeped into the crevice, scorching roots and stem as the research team retreated. Tucked away, the hope of the mountain survived: pollen caught in the leaves of a sketchbook.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

35 responses to “Friday Fiction – Preserving Beauty

  1. Beautiful story. Wish there was more.

  2. Oh terrific story, well done Jen. Loved that. Such a great idea. Typo in first sentence – it into her book.

  3. Helena Hann-Basquiat

    Is it just me, darling, or is this story simply TEEMING with metaphor? If it’s accidental, well, then you’re accidentally brilliant. (Take the compliment, darling…) Were I a psychoanalyst, I believe I could dissect this incredible piece and have you on the couch explaining each bit of symbolism. But I won’t detract from the tale — I’ll only say again that it was very well put together, and the thought that went into it is obvious. You took the very essence of the bleakness of the photo and translated it into both the loss of possibility of hope. Excellent.

    • Thank you for your comment and the pingback – you are most generous in your praise! You have my permission to dissect at will, although if you’re fiding something smutty in the last paragraph, it was definitely unintentional. 😉

      • Helena Hann-Basquiat

        The insertion of the stem into the book? Moi? Interpret something smuttily? Never, darling. I’ll leave Freud where he belongs — in the fiction section.

  4. Pingback: Banshee – Friday Fictioneers | Being the Memoirs of Helena Hann-Basquiat, Dilettante.

  5. Lovely story, captures the mood of the photo perfectly. Loved it!

  6. pattisj

    This was worth waiting for. I like that hope was found in the midst of devastation–and what seemed wrong at the time was really the right thing.

  7. You captured the barren isolation and hope of the image perfectly in your story. I want more.

  8. Excellent stuff, Jen. I like the way your title plays in and the double barrenness. Perhaps now she too will no longer be barren.


  9. I love your story. Silent

  10. A lovely balance of bleak with a ray of hope. I’m with Janet in reading that there’s a tiny chance of hope for the couple, too. Good one, Jen.

  11. Loved the end with the tinge of hope !

  12. Dear Jennifer,

    All of what everyone else has said and more. Stark and bleak tinged with hope. Lovely.



  13. Man’s meddling is not always negative. While Marie may not be able to bear life herself, she will bring life back to the volcano when she reintroduces the pollen preserved in her notebook. Good story, Jen.

  14. i agree. this week’s prompt is very challenging. but you did well anyway. the use of the flower metaphor was outstanding.

  15. Yes, it was worth the wait 8^)

  16. A beutiful story.. I hope there were some pollen for Marie too.. really a symbolic level here.. strangely enough the story came to me quicker than in a long time…

  17. Life will find a way is my sense of the story. So who knows what’s next for us all? Nicely done!

  18. Lovely story and well written. A happy ending is here with hope for new life.

  19. I like that in thinking she was ruining something, she was rescuing it instead. Maybe she could do the same with Louis, rescue a child from ruin by adopting.

  20. Many times the difficult-to-write stories turn out the best in the end. This is beautiful. I’m glad you stuck with it until your muse decided to cooperate.

    Often, with flash fiction, a writer gives too little or focuses on unimportant details. Here, you’ve given a complete story. Although I want more, my own imagination can fill in what you’ve left out. Most important, you leave hope at the bottom of the glass. Good work.

    All my best,

  21. Jen, this is fantastic! The story is compelling and beautifully told, but the ending is truly perfect. Love this one.

  22. Sarah Ann

    Marie comes across as crushed too. I hope the ‘hope’ in the sketchbook might be a fresh start for her. Lovely use of language – pollen between leaves, Marie as barren wasteland.

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