Tag Archives: war widows

FF – Oldest Surviving

A day late, almost a word short (I finally found a place to add one!). Here’s my story for Al Forbes‘ fantastic picture prompt. I appreciate feedback and I read every comment even though I sometimes struggle to reply quickly!

al_forbes

Oldest Surviving

Eloise squinted in the June sun and fingered the battered paper poppy on her lapel. People had been staring her whole life, but this was different. The Mayor was saying something about oldest surviving… her ears tuned out, her memory washed in… then her name, and Eloise was meant to speak.

Oldest surviving, she thought, her hand moving to the scar on her hip where they’d taken away her sister. Then it flew back to the poppy, and her mind to Bobby. Either of them might have been standing beside her. Oldest surviving, she thought, really just meant longest bereft.

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Friday Fiction – He promised me a white picket fence

It’s Fictioneers time again! This week’s picture (the top one) is from Janet Webb, via Rochelle. It’s an intriguing photo and I hope you feel I’ve done it justice. I’ve finally managed to achieve my goal of following Rochelle’s advice to use it as inspiration rather than illustration – the illustration for the story is the second picture below, although I hope you’ll agree I’ve taken more than one element from the first image.

The edits are back – but for those without time or interest to read them, the final version is immediately below the first picture. Edits are then in reverse order after the second one.

copyright-janet-webb

He promised me a white picket fence (Genre: Historical Fiction)

He promised me a white picket fence. And that we’d go blackberrying in summer. He promised that our boys would be strong and dependable, our girls pretty and sweet. He promised me my dreams.

But the brambles grow all year round now, and yield nothing more than thorns. Our boys will never be and our girls cannot smile.

He promised he’d come back. He promised he wouldn’t get shot down, or captured, or killed: that he wouldn’t, under any circumstances, go Missing.

He promised me a white picket fence. Now we have one, but it is nothing like my dreams.

War Cemetary

Version 1

He promised me a white picket fence.

He promised me a white picket fence. And that we’d go blackberrying in the summer. He promised that our boys would be strong and dependable, our girls pretty and sweet. He promised my dreams. He promised me the world.

But the brambles grow year round now, and never yield anything more than ants and thorns. Our boy will not speak and our girls will not smile.

He promised he’d come back. He promised he wouldn’t get shot down, or captured, or killed: that he wouldn’t, under any circumstances, go Missing.

He promised me a white picket fence. Now we have one, but it is nothing like my dreams.

 

Version 2

He promised me a white picket fence.

He promised me a white picket fence. And that we’d go blackberrying [I hesitated over this, in case it’s an English phrase. I feel this story is American in nature, because of the picket fence. But apparently soldiers in the American Civil War called truces to “go blackberrying” to ward off dysentery – the things you learn! – so I’m good to go. I just hope you guys use “bramble”]  in the summer. He promised that our boys would be strong and dependable, our girls pretty and sweet. He promised my dreams. He promised me the world.

But the brambles grow year round now, and never yield anything more than ants and thorns. Our boys will never be and our girls cannot smile. [I felt this was a young, newly married couple, so the idea that they already had three children didn’t fit that. It felt more heart-breaking that she would never have a son, and maybe the girls are twins – still very young but old enough to know Daddy isn’t coming home.]

He promised he’d come back. He promised he wouldn’t get shot down, or captured, or killed: that he wouldn’t, under any circumstances, go Missing. [I thought at first this was a story of abandonment. Then I realised her resentment was actually grief. I wrestled with a feeling that it was set during the American Civil War, even before I found the blackberrying reference, but ultimately stuck with a more recent period of history.]

He promised me a white picket fence. Now we have one, but it is nothing like my dreams. [The story didn’t feel finished in version 1, so I added another line to tie it back to the beginning.]

[Changes to get this to the final version above are purely word-count related. I took out the first line because the repetition felt unnecessary, especially when it’s at the end as well, but I might have left it in if word count had permitted, so it became the title (which had originally just been Promises)]

 

 

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