The promise


Afterwards, Dorothy would have sworn she knew something was about to happen: there was a lull, a silence as if all the molecules in the hotel bedroom shifted infinitesimally. Then came the flash, the choking dust and the noise like a star bursting from inside her head, and the floor and Alex and the walls and mirrors and everything flew apart and tumbled together.

‘Live, live, live,’ she whispered to Alex in the dark as she made her promise to God.

Alex had lived, and Dorothy kept her promise. Now she never swore and rarely spoke and her name was changed to Sister Mercy.


This is a Friday Fictioneers 100-word (or so) story inspired by the picture supplied by the lovely Marie Gail Stratford. Friday Fictioneers is organised and run by the wonderful Rochelle. Click here to join in, and here to read other pieces. I’d love to know what you think of mine – please leave a comment!


I’ve had a couple of lovely reviews in for Our Endless Numbered Days (released in UK 26th Feb, Canada 1st March, USA 17th March). The first, from The Times (“A thriller of a fairytale,” and “a triumph”) and the second from The Sunday Express (“spellingbinding scary stuff”)

52 thoughts on “The promise

  1. Intriguing. I’m thinking they’re both dead and have just ended up ‘in the next place’ together. Must admit I’m partial to the idea of thinking you’re alive when you’re dead. Must be a bummer when you twig it.

    As an aside, all the best with your book. 26/02 is nearly upon us. At the moment I’m reading Henry VIII’s memoirs, but I’ll certainly be keen to read ‘Our Endless Numbered Days’ when it comes out. Will it be available on Kindle?

    Good luck,



    • Oh dear. I wonder if I’ve been too cryptic this week. I might have play around and see if I can make it clearer. Dorothy was meant to be promising God that if Alex lived then she would become a nun! And he does live, and her name gets changed to Sister Mercy.

      Yes, Our Endless Numbered Days will be available as an ebook. Let me know if you get it and what you think.



  2. Dorothy’s moment of premonition made me first think something was happening to her – an aneurysm or stroke, perhaps. The a-ha moment…she had done something worthy of a lifetime of atonement? Very subtly crafted. Enjoyed it greatly.


  3. Claire, this has happened inumberable times in the history of the world, although we don’t always promise to become nuns. Perfectly penned. Congrats on the great reviews. Hopefully it won’t be too long until I can judge for myself. 🙂



  4. The story is solid and well told. 🙂
    So, she goes from doing good things for those close to her, to doing good deeds for strangers? I imagine the karma is equivalent, yet I am strangely underwhelmed.


  5. Dear Claire, Lovely, touching and moving story. I don’t think God would hold her to the promise if they were truly in love and meant to be together. She should talk to the head of the church. Well done on so many fronts. Excellent – just excellent! Nan 🙂


  6. Dear Claire,

    This reminds me a little of The End of an Affair, a twice made movie, the last with Ralph Fiennes. However the woman in the story didn’t promise to become a nun. I had no problem understanding the story. Very well done as always.




    • Clever, Rochelle! That’s exactly what I was thinking of. I thought the picture looked like an explosion so I did a bit of research around that and came up With the End of the Affair. I don’t remember either film, but that was the inspiration.


  7. She should have just offered to just do good on Thursday and Mondays between, say, 3PM and 6PM.
    Becoming a nun seems pretty extreme – and, besides, what if she can’t live up to it?
    Maybe she can cut another deal. What do you say?


  8. I really liked this story. The subject is so universal; I don’t believe there are many among us who, in times of great stress/trauma like the one in your story, haven’t made a promise to God or to ourselves or to whatever we hold dear that we’ll do something if our prayer is answered. I feel sorry for her, but I like that Dorothy kept her promise.


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