Flash fiction: Ophelia


‘I used to follow her sometimes, in the early mornings,’ Gil said. ‘She never knew.’

Flora leaned forward beside his bed, waiting for her father to continue.

‘Once, I sat in the bird hide at Little Sea Pond and watched her shed her layers of clothes and emerge transformed into something ethereal, something not meant for this world. She stepped into the pond, lay back, and the water, it seemed to me, welcomed her, as if she had come home. She floated there as the sun rose – a naked Ophelia.

‘I never told her how much I loved her.’


Thanks to our wonderful hostess Rochelle Wisoff-Fields who has been guiding and inspiring us Friday Fictioneers for two years today. If you want to have a go at writing 100 words based on the picture above (this week supplied by The Reclining Gentleman) click here, or if you want to have a read of all the other flash fictions, click here.

This week I managed exactly 100 words, and rather than thinking about the rather chilly-looking pond above, I rather had in mind this paining by Millais. 1280px-John_Everett_Millais_-_Ophelia_-_Google_Art_Project


My novel Our Endless Numbered Days will be published in early 2015. Click here to find out more.

68 thoughts on “Flash fiction: Ophelia

  1. Dear Claire,

    Gil’s story is as ethereal as Ophelia herself. I could picture it. As a swimmer I felt the water welcoming her as well. It’s exactly how I feel when I swim. Beautifully imagined and written. I wonder what would have happened if he had told her he loved her. .




  2. Dear Claire,

    I wonder if writing Ophelia was as effortless as reading it was? It is an amazing piece of work infused with beauty, love and sadness. In addition to being a perfect evocation of the prompt, it tells me why your novel is being published soon. Get ready to sign a copy for me.




    • Thanks Doug. I’m not sure why but this one came very easily compared to the one for your picture last week (no reflection on the pictures though).
      And I’ll make sure you get a copy of my novel which is typo free because the version I submitted had plenty. 😉


    • Thanks Jessie. To tell the truth it hasn’t been too long a journey, compared to some. It will be eight years from when I started writing to when my book is published, but only three from when I started writing the book. Good luck with your writing!


  3. First — congratulations on your novel.. an endless effort coming to an end I assume. The story of Ophelia and the eternal love is beautiful an chilling at the same time. The fact that she’s just a memory leads me to conclude that she ended it somehow too.


  4. So enjoyable to come to your story and go away feeling enriched. Beautifully done, Claire. I, too, am looking forward to your novel. Hmmm, maybe I should come to England to get a signed copy. 🙂 Sounds like a great excuse at least.



  5. Poor Gil. Hopefully we can all learn from his mistakes.
    (We’ve just had a run of Hamlet in our local theatre with a woman playing the prince – as a man – she was superb – the Ophelia was played as spunky albeit tragic.)


  6. Dear Claire,
    You set the bar high by titling this “Ophelia,” and the story matches the heights of the name. I felt a lingering sadness in the implication that the mother of Gil’s children wasn’t his Ophelia. So much is said by what you leave unsaid here.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail


  7. A sad, wistful tale, full of longing, but not bitterness. I get the impression he was never in a position to tell her of his love. A wonderful tone. Beautiful images of her body in the water.


  8. Claire, Lovely and well-written story as always. It sounds as though he finally had to tell this to his daughter so he could pass on in peace. Congratulations again on the publishing of your novel. I feel sure you’ll also have success with your second novel. 🙂 — Susan


  9. Lovely story, and I liked the connection you made from the photo to the classic Ophelia painting. I’m picturing the father on his death bed – although that might just be my morbidity coming through. Well done.


  10. You have captured that sad wistful longing moment so well. Just wondered with name Ophelia, if was a switch from Hamlet where it is Hamlet who causes causes all her emotional pain throughout the play,


  11. I got a little misty-eyed reading your story, Claire. Your impassioned expressions make Gil’s memory of her come wildly alive in the imagination. It feels as though this may be the last time he will ever be able to speak about “the one that got away” (or that he let get away?); as if he were on his deathbed. The story is so beautifully written, regret becomes even more palpable at the end line. Spectacular work!


  12. Such a beautiful piece. I can see Flora sitting by the bed listening intently and am left wondering whether or not she knew Ophelia – what is the expression on her face following her father’s words? Oh well, I’ll have to try to work that out for myself.


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