Short story: A candle to light you to bed














There was a power cut when Hedda brought Rex home from the hospital. Flora had been sitting in the dark on the verandah waiting for them, breathing in the sea’s tang mixed with honeysuckle on the warm evening air. She lit a candle and they helped their father into bed with barely ten words spoken between them.

Flora had thought it had been the candlelight hollowing out his eye sockets, gouging craters into his cheeks and throwing grotesque shadows upon the bedroom walls, but in the bright light of morning Rex’s face hadn’t changed. She knew it wouldn’t be long.


For those who don’t know how Friday Fictioneers works, this picture (this time supplied by Renee Heath) is our inspiration for our weekly online writing group hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Each story is only about 100 words long, so why not read a few others: click here to read some more or to join in.  And please comment below with any suggestions on mine, or just to show you’ve visited.

39 thoughts on “Short story: A candle to light you to bed

  1. I love how you describe his face at the end there, and how much story you tell without ‘telling’ us any of it. My one comment would be that I struggled to get a grip on who everyone was in the first paragraph. I’d have liked “father” to be a bit nearer the beginning, because I was left wondering whether she was bringing home a baby or an invalid.


    • That’s a good point. These characters are part of something bigger, (although I’m definitely trying to make each 100 words stand alone) and so it’s easy to make too many assumptions about what readers know already.


  2. Great observation; as I get older, and sadly encounter more people at this stage, I begin to recognise a certain draining of essential ‘juices’ (I’ve put inverted commas because it doesn’t seem an appropriate word) that makes the approaching end visible.


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