Tag Archives: Freedom

FF – Lockdown

It’s my photo this week. The picture shows part of the Rouge River near Toronto Zoo. It’s a beautiful place and feels a lot like freedom on day trips from the city. We take the kids often and let them paddle, climb and explore. It’s one of those places that is wonderful in every season. We went a lot this winter, when there was nothing else to do and nowhere else to go, but this particular story takes place back on the city streets, inspired by those bleak ‘eyes’ staring out of the image.

Toronto has had the longest lockdown in North America (one of the longest in the world; depending how you measure it); as we gradually lift restrictions, it’s clear that lives have been saved, but you only have to talk to a few people to learn the cost of the lockdown. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have done it, I’m just saying we need to acknowledge the losses and find ways to minimise their effects.


It’s our designated hour for walking.

I remember the first weeks, when we skipped in the Spring sunshine, enjoying the freedom and the fresh air on our faces. We’d take chalk and leave trails for friends to follow. After our hour, we’d retreat inside, draw rainbows and paste them to our windows.

The rainbows are faded now. The sun’s shining, but we trudge. I catch a glimpse of a face pressed against the glass. His eyes are empty; he is young enough not to have known the Beforetimes. I wonder if he’s young enough that he will see the After.


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FF – Freedom

Waking before the kids for the first time in a while, it occurred to me that it was Wednesday and I could use the time to join in Friday Fictioneers for the first time in years. The prompt is one I’ve used before (see my previous story here: https://elmowrites.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/friday-fictioneers-dreams/) but I decided to make up a new one. I’ve missed my favourite character, Melanie, so I let her have her say about the picture this time and my story is below. Your comments and critique are welcome.

The central FF post is here: https://rochellewisoff.com/2020/07/29/31-july-2020/ with a link to other stories. Thank you again to Jean L. Hays for the photo.



I want to swim with dolphins, but we should let them go free.

We’re caged ourselves now. No parks, no school, no visiting Mummy. Dolphins have been trapped like this forever: staring at the ocean through the bars of a cage.

They say swimming with dolphins makes you feel free, but how can you feel free in a cage? I want to jump off the back of a fishing boat when a pod comes by, and splash through the waves and hang onto a fin when I’m tired, like Daddy carrying me home from school back when there was school.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

FF – The Best Soil

Another week, another picture. This time from Ted Strutz. I’m over 200 stories now, that’s more than 20,000 words in 100-word chunks and enough for a novella! Your feedback on this one is welcome. No offense is intended to either of the locales mentioned; everywhere has its good and bad parts, and its good and bad people.


The Best Soil

Her brothers, who’d never been further than Romford, described India as ‘the toilet of the world’, but Stacy liked the idea of endless curry, and helping people who had even less than her. Being thousands of miles outside their shadows wouldn’t hurt either.
The curry was a disappointment, tasting nothing like the real stuff back home, and some areas did smell terrible. But three weeks in, she found herself not minding. The love of the children she taught made it all worthwhile, and Stacy, against all her brothers’ warnings, found India a fertile place to plant some roots and grow.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

FF – The Thirty-Five Steps

Happy New Year to you, dear Readers. I must apologise for my absence over the ‘holidays’; it was a lovely couple of weeks with my little family, but didn’t afford much chance for writing and posting.

Melanie Greenwood‘s picture is our first prompt of the year, and Rochelle leads us all into 2016. I hope it’s a good one all round. I won’t be joining the concirt subgroup this week as I can’t guarantee time to offer to others, but I do welcome your feedback, good and bad, on my story.


The Thirty-Five Steps

Thirty-five yards, he estimated, and he’d be at the base of the staircase. Thirty-five steps, give or take, between him and freedom.
Because once he was on that plane, they wouldn’t follow: he was sure of that. Nobody cares about the little guy, not once he’s in the wind. Literally and metaphorically, he caught himself smiling, pulled down the corners of his mouth and the peak of his cap simultaneously.
Thirty-four, thirty-three … and finally one. He could almost reach out and touch the glistening handrail. An impulse made him stop, turn and look back, but only for a moment.


Filed under Friday Fiction

Friday Fiction – Landed Safe

Rochelle plays both hostess and photographer to us this week. Once again, I’m up to my eyes in life, NaNoWriMo and writing, so I probably won’t have much reading opportunity and may take a while to respond to comments. If you prefer fully-interactive Jen, please return in December, when (hopefully) I’ll be back to rights. ish.

In the meantime, here’s our prompt, and my story for the week.


Landed Safe

I’m here! The text message chimed.

I admit I’d been worried. Last-minute flights to who-knows-where weren’t the sort of thing either of us did, but now I knew she was safe.

Where’s here?

Err.. There’s a Starbucks … and a McDonalds … and a souvenir / gift store.

For the first time in years, I felt her smiling, laughing with me. I missed my best friend already, but every mile away from me was a mile away from Jason, and those miles would never be enough.

The hammering on my door started again. This time, I was ready to answer.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Friday Fiction – No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems

This week’s prompt for FF comes from An Elephant Can’t. After last week’s fairly literal take, I’ve gone right off the deep end this time – kudos and gratitude to Rochelle for continuing to challenge me every week. If you’ve got time, do head over to her blog and take a look at the other stories linked there.

In the meantime, enjoy mine…


No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems

She’d always dreamed about it: knee deep in the sea; pina coladas on the rocks and absolutely nowhere to be. The songs of escape tempting her regularly on her daily commute.

In the end, it had been so easy. Leave the car – with the keys in – on a busy street. Leave the apartment door open. The only really tough bit had been parting with her housemate, Alfie, but he’d find somebody else’s window box to nest in soon enough.

When the money ran out she’d have to decide what to do, but until then she’d gone coastal on them all.


If you’d like to share some of the music from Jess’ daily commute, have a look here, here, here and here. If you don’t like country music, don’t click on those links!


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Friday Fiction – Dress for Success

There was something deeply haunting about this week’s FF prompt from Janet Webb. So much so that I almost went with a ghostly theme for my story. But ultimately, the story landed almost fully-formed on the page. There are too many Austins in this world, and I am grateful not to be married to one of them.



(Historical – though not *that* historical – fiction)

It called to her every time she passed, shaking its skirts, preening its bodice. But Austin would have gone mad if Janet spent her housekeeping on a frivolity. So she flirted with it from afar, sewing a quarter into the hem of her coat each week, pinning all her dreams on a dress in a store window.

Spring came. She mothballed her heavy winter coat, but not her dreams.

For a single night, the dress hung secretly on the balcony behind their tiny apartment. Austin slept soundly, Janet not a wink. Then the dress was gone, and Janet with it.



Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Inspiration Monday – Drifting

One of the things everyone notices when they stop going to school or work regularly is that the days of the week start to blur. There are no external clues any more as to what day it is, and I find I can sit here pondering the question for a completely unreasonable length of time. In some ways, of course, it doesn’t matter. But it matters to the rest of the world – if I put the bins out on a Friday, they won’t be collected, and if I’d turned up to the doctor’s yesterday, they would have sent me away. Which is why I try to keep my blog posts on a schedule, to at least have some markers on the week. But that requires me to know what day it is. Today, I think, it’s Thursday. So here’s the latest InMon story, with thanks to BeKindRewrite for the prompt. As ever, I’d love to hear your feedback.


I am the invisible woman.

Joel drifts through life, oblivious. His dinner is always on the table, his shoes clean, his bins empty. He probably thinks we have a maid service to keep everything clean and tidy. Or maybe he thinks the boys are actually elves. More like imps, of course. They wouldn’t know one end of a broom from the other.

They sail along with every little whim catered to, just like their father. “Mum, I need a costume for the party tonight!” “It’s in your closet, Ben.” “Mum, I have to take homemade cakes for the sale tomorrow!” “Just cooling on the rack, Andrew.”

The perfect housewife, the perfect mother.

I know the drill, my own mother trained me in it. Of course, the perfect mother doesn’t pander to her daughters for fear of spoiling them, so I’ve been making way for men my whole life. I wish I’d had girls.

But tonight when they get home, their little ships are going to drift into the rocks. Tonight, their lighthouse will have gone out. Because tonight the keeper has a date. Not with another man, I’ve had enough of those for a lifetime. And not with a woman, I can’t quite get my head around that possibility. I suppose I’m old-fashioned, but you can’t change everything at once.

I’ll be back. I can’t leave them forever, especially when the fault is mine – I should never have let them take advantage of me. But for the next few weeks, I’m going to do my own sort of drifting.

I’ve left a note: it felt like I was writing a suicide letter. But I’m not going to die, I’m going to come alive.




Filed under Inspiration Monday, Writing