Flash fiction: Thirteen Years Gone

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‘They questioned everyone who had been by the river that day,’ said Hedda. ‘All the picnickers, the dog walkers. It was hours too late by then, of course. But people remembered her; she was very striking, my mother.’

‘And?’ said Richard.

‘No one saw where she went. One moment she was there, the next gone.’ Hedda shrugged, resigned, no longer tormented.

‘Really, nothing?’

‘Well, perhaps one thing. When the morning mist cleared, Dad went back to the river and waded to the far bank. He found footprints, in the mud. Right size.’

Richard raised his eyebrows.

‘The toes pointed away from the water.’

*

For those who don’t know how Friday Fictioneers works, this picture (this time supplied by Erin Leary) 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.

44 thoughts on “Flash fiction: Thirteen Years Gone

  1. Dear Claire,

    Your story reminded me of the Springsteen song, Hungry Heart. I don’t know where Hedda’s mother went, but I know why she left. An excellent rendering of two women, one gone and one wondering.

    Congratulations on the publication of your novel, Claire. Those are the words every author wants to hear. I will be purchasing a copy (more words a writer wants to hear) and look forward to reading it.

    Aloha,

    Doug

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    • Such a long time since I’ve heard that song. I’ve just been to listen to it again, and you’re so right about the mother. She went without a thought.
      And thank you for the comments about my book. I shall be very interested to hear what you (especially) have to say about it.
      Claire

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  2. I know I’ve said this before, Claire, but one of the things I like most about your writing is that it’s never frenzied or over-the-top, no matter the subject matter. Your little mystery is just slipped in and we’re left to ponder the whys and wherefores and implications of it. I look forward to your book.

    janet

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  3. I love how Hedda speaks so casually of her mother’s disappearance. One of the most awkward things about having been through loss is how, eventually, one can speak unemotionally of life-altering events (as others gasp and offer condolences you no longer need). You’ve captured this well in Hedda’s attitude. Good job!

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    • Thanks Susan. I take it from your website that you’re in India? Our Endless Numbered Days hasn’t been sold in India, but there is talk of it being an audio book, so that’s always an option… Glad you liked my story.
      Claire

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  4. Nice little mystery story here. Leaves us wondering in a good way, where she was going. Was she escaping from a bad marriage? Was she simply mad? Was she lured by demons? Was she lured by greed? Lust? Adventure?

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  5. This is a spider’s web story, with every thread leading round to another, and eventually one or more leading out to another story. I am glad to hear these are characters in your next novel as I want to know how Hedda has resigned herself, if anyone else saw the prints leading away etc. The picture really appeals to me, too.

    Like

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