Flash fiction: The squat

old-wallpaper-mary-shipman

Faded paper drooped from the walls like slouching down-and-outs, and a mattress curled up in a corner, ashamed of its stained nakedness. Flora held her breath – not from the stench – but from the idea that Ingrid might once have slept here, under the old newspapers; their corners flapping from the broken window’s breeze.

She kicked at a pile of dirty clothes, refusing to believe what the police had told her and the evidence in her pocket. The rags shifted, moaned. Flora jumped, put her hand to her mouth.

‘Ingrid?’ she said.

But the sunken-cheeked face that peered out at her was a man’s.

*

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

42 thoughts on “Flash fiction: The squat

  1. I have one suggestion for you, and it’s kind of a big one, because your story just, well…

    NEEDS TO BE FINISHED!!!!! 🙂

    This was wildly suspenseful, but so gently written, and I desperately want to know what happens next, as well as what happened before!

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  2. There’s such a feeling of longing and loss in this piece – well done.
    My only suggestion is that the last sentence breaks the rhythm.. Maybe something like “The sunken-cheeked face peering out was a man’s.” (Or ignore me.)

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    • In a weird way, I thought it might be the opposite – the child looking for the mother, although that was just in my head – I didn’t write that into the piece.
      Thanks for reading Bjorn.

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  3. This reads like you hit a vein that could just keep going. What I took away from this – and there can be so many takes with 100 words – is some sort of companionship formed. Who is that man? He doesn’t scare me – just mysterious. Very well written piece, Claire.
    Till next time…
    Ellespeth

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  4. Brilliant. I loved the mattress ashamed of its nakedness – a very vivid description. I love your writing, Claire, and always look forward to reading your Friday Fiction. (I’ll be first in line to get your book when it comes out too!)

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  5. Claire, Well written once again. I agree that the thorough description took me to the scene. The man didn’t seem threatening, just mysterious. I feel that he’s there for a purpose. I also agree that this would be a great beginning for a longer story. 🙂 —Susan

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    • Thanks Patricia. Ingrid and Flora are in my second book, but I don’t really know what they’re doing in the squat, that came as a bit of a surprise for me.
      Thanks for reading and commenting.
      Claire

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  6. The awfulness of the setting was perfectly portrayed – and then to put a loved one into that setting – and then to learn she had died there. The man at the end served the purpose of allowing Flora a moment of hope, only to have it shattered. Well done! It didn’t need any more story for me 🙂

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