Short story: Nothing to worry about

It was Mothering Sunday when we walked through the churchyard – just a short cut from muddy field to lane. The service was over, a solitary banner fluttered in the March chill.
“He didn’t open a text book all half term,” I said.
“You know Adam leaves all his revision to the last minute,” Tim said. “He’ll be fine.” And then, when I didn’t answer, “Don’t worry, he’ll get in.”
Tim pushed through the lychgate, but I paused by the last grave decorated with fresh daffodils. I calculated the dates on the headstone. The boy had been seventeen. I bent to read the note:
    I know you would have given me these yourself if you could.
Love Mum x

I really had nothing to worry about.


This is part of the Friday Fictioneers writing group – where writers from all over the world write about 100 words using a photo as inspiration. This week Rochelle has chosen one of my photographs. It is St Thomas a Beckett church in South Cadbury, Somerset. Click here to see more pictures if you’re interested. Lots of other writers have written very short stories inspired by this photograph; click here to read other people’s and to join in. And please comment below with any suggestions for improvement on my story.

Also for any Americans reading, I’ve written a blog post with some questions specifically for them. Click here to have a read and see if you can help with any answers.


26 thoughts on “Short story: Nothing to worry about

  1. A moving reminder, Claire, and a beautiful photo – thank you. I love how you depict the relationship between Mum and Dad, and his gentleness over her worrying. I think you want a capital on “Don’t worry,” and in terms of concrit, the only other thing which stood out was the “he’ll get into University” felt a little bit unrealistic. I know you need it there to explain the story but I wonder if there’s a smoother way to do that. A tiny thing in an otherwise rounded piece.


    • Thanks Jen. And I really agree with your point – putting words in characters mouths for the sake of information for the reader isn’t a good thing. I could have simply written ‘he’ll get in’, but I wasn’t sure how clear that would be. Perhaps I’ll change it and see whether I get lots of comments saying eh?


      • Maybe pick a particular university for a compromise. Oxford, or Harvard, for example. Or, if you had more words, something like “Even if he doesn’t get Oxford, he’ll enjoy Warwick.”


  2. Dear Claire,

    I had to read this a couple of times to get it. At first I thought the boy in the grave was their son. After second read it became apparent that the parents realize that their worries are minor compared to losing their child so early. Well done. Glad that my use of your photo brought you back to us this week. 😉




  3. Dear Claire,

    So all it takes to have you grace these pages is to use one of your photos? (Thanks. It was a lovely prompt.) Jennifer nailed my thoughts on the head, so I’ll hush now and only add that I enjoyed your writing very much.




  4. Claire, I liked this prompt very much. It reminds me of the remnants of an old church on the way to Estes Park, CO. Your story touched me. I have a son whom I was concerned wouldn’t get into his college of choice. I can picture the mother pausing at the grave, her angst, her fear, her relief. Nicely done.


  5. Pingback: Friday Fictioneers: A Surprise Visit | Alastair's Blog

  6. Thanks for sharing your photo with us, it allowed many interpretations. I liked your story, you made the situation clear with few words to work with.


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