#fridayfictioneers via madison woods – 10/12

Every Wednesday Madison Woods posts a picture prompt to challenge writers to create a 100-word story or poem or anything that works for you.  Then post your work on your blog.  additionally, on friday, you go back to her site and post a link to your blog entry in the comments on her Friday Fictioneers post.

I’m going to try to keep up with this, as should you.  Give it a shot.  I prefer to stick to 100 words, but she doesn’t mind either way.  Not everyone has the time to sit and write, revise, edit, revise, edit, etc. until getting it down to 100 and telling everything you want to tell.

The Alley

Corporal, unseen, scanning the alley for enemy movement.  Nothing.  Taking one step.  Another.  Rifle at eye level, finger twitching, blinking away memories of sweat, blood.  Another.  Keeping his back on the wall, each step perfectly silent.  Another.

“Corporal,” whispered Captain.  “Let’s go.”

“Sir, there’s more of them down there.”

“I know, but it’s not our job anymore.  Someone else will get them.”

“Sir, we can’t just let them get away.”

“We have no choice.”

“Sir,” teeth gritting, “we lost too many today.”

“I know, Son.  But that was yesterday, not today.”  Captain’s hand on Corporal’s shoulder.  “It’s time to go.”


100 words



I realize I didn’t write this well enough for readers to totally see what I was thinking.  In my head, the Corporal and Captain had died in yesterday’s gun battle.  The clues were here:

blinking away memories of sweat, blood

“I know, but it’s not our job anymore.

“Sir,” teeth gritting, “we lost too many today.”

“I know, Son.  But that was yesterday, not today.”  Captain’s hand on Corporal’s shoulder.  “It’s time to go.”

82 thoughts on “#fridayfictioneers via madison woods – 10/12

  1. Really liked this. So vivid. I must confess as I started to read it I had to go back to the picture to see what you saw. My vision was vastly different.

    • part of the fun of a picture prompt. what we see is influenced by what we’ve seen in our past. i saw an alley in an area of the middeast, like an iran or afghanistan. it might not be there – but that’s what i saw. and then i usually look at the place and i think – “what interesting thing can happen here?” and then i either try to be funny or paranormal. ish.

  2. Hi Rich,
    This really sounded to me like the situation we are in in Afghanistan, with the Afghanis taking over the fighting. Excellent use of dialog to devlop this and present two contrasting points of view. As they say in the movies, inspired by real events. Ron

  3. What I like about this Rich is how focused they are on their duties.. The higher up knowing it’s time to leave and the young gun so intent he does not realize the passage of time. It is realistic in both dialogue and mind set. Well done!

  4. This brought me right into the whole situation. I could feel the anxiety and the attempts at control. Love how this tells the larger story in just those few words.

    • thanks sir. this was a good example of information in my head that didn’t reach the page, because what i was going for (unsuccessfully) was that these two soldiers had been killed in the previous day’s battle. the corporal’s spirit would not leave, and the captain had to go back and get him in order to “move on.” but i’m glad it worked even without that coming through.

  5. Understandably, my reaction to your story changed after I read your explanation to tedstrutz–I thought you were dealing with battle fatigue and the disorientation that comes with the horrors of war. I like your idea that they were killed and the undying strength of the young man’s desire to complete his mission.

    • thanks. like last week, if i have to explain, then i didn’t write it well enough. i thought these were good enough clues: ” blinking away memories of sweat, blood.” memories – not actual sweat and blood. and ““I know, Son. But that was yesterday, not today….It’s time to go.” the battle was the previous day, but they were still there. and “it’s time to go,” means going to the afterlife. but i can also see how some interpreted this as our troops pulling out of the action. oh well. sometimes it works. sometimes not.

  6. Took me a while to see that they were dead, but personally I love a story more if there is a level of ambiguity in the story. Also to me the picture lend itself to some level of “dizziness”.

    • yeah, there’s kind of a vertigo effect going on in the pic for sure. as for ambiguity, i appreciate it in something like j.k. bradley’s piece on this same pic. that kind of ambiguity i like, where you don’t know what’s happening, but you know something is about to happen. good or bad, no way of knowing. oh well. to each his own.

  7. I don’t mind that you had to explain Rich 🙂 I loved the fuller story with the explanation, especially the fact that the Corporal could not see the full truth of the situation and was carrying on as before. Goosebumps.

      • It is an island of white buildings that are repainted white (supposed to be at least) every year. No car has ever been on the island so the alleys are very narrow. Your picture brings me back. Thank you. I am curious, did you ever come to understand the nature of statistics after that class?

      • oh, not my picture. wish i could take the credit. as for statistics, i did grasp a lot of it later when it was a more practical application and time to learn instead of a dingy windowless basement classroom with a stunning brunette very much distracting me in the next seat.

      • Good. I am glad. I was wondering if the experience threw up a wall for you or not. I had a hard time in statistics too. I had to swing by the teachers office everyday after class to get extra help. I came out of it and did well, but I had to ask for help. Thank God I did not have those issues with a calculator.

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