Flash fiction: Dogged


Halfway home I turn and see him.

‘Shoo,’ I say, stamping my foot. ‘Don’t follow me, dog.’ Something in the way he looks at me squeezes my insides, loosens my bowels. I turn and walk fast, breaking into a trot, but can’t resist looking back; he’s still there, keeping pace, mouth closed, ears up, relentless. The day is hot, but my blood is cold. I stop and pick up a stone from the path, throw it. When it bounces off the dog’s shoulder he doesn’t even flinch; he just stands there looking at me, with my father’s eyes.


This is a Friday Fictioneers 100-word (or so) story inspired by the picture supplied by the lovely Dawn Q. Landau. 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!


Hurray! After nineteen months of waiting, my novel, Our Endless Numbered Days has been published in the UK (Fig Tree / Penguin) and Canada (House of Anansi). It will be published in the USA on 17th March by Tin House.


76 thoughts on “Flash fiction: Dogged

  1. That last bit is chilling, as you leave us to speculate on what might happen, what secrets there are, to even bring our own feelings and memories to the story. And once again, congratulations on the book. 🙂



  2. Do I need to echo everyone else and say that the last line was literally breathtaking? The fear and anxiety that you built only heightened with that line.


  3. Dear Claire,
    Your story engaged me, and your last line took my breath away. (I’m sitting in the library, and I think I got a glare from another patron when I gasped as I read your ending. As the security guard is on the other end of the room and didn’t noticed, I do believe the both of us are safe from expulsion. 🙂 )

    All my best,
    Marie Gail


  4. Dear Claire,

    There’s so much that can be read into this piece. It seemed to me to be a grieving child. I know after my father passed away I saw him in everything. Of course you brilliantly left it open to interpretation. I’ve come to expect nothing less. Well done.




  5. Dear Claire,

    Your ability to pack a lifetime of mystery into a hundred words is unparalleled. This story haunts me.

    (Congrats on all the great reviews for your novel. Well deserved, I am certain.)




  6. I don’t know what to say, I can only second what others have said before. This evokes so many different emotions… and congrats on your novel.


  7. Very accomplished.
    This is like one of those optical illusions. Scary skull or lovely little girls?
    I’d like to think this could actually be her father (why not?) and the whole spooky feel will therefore take a 360 turn.


  8. This story is creepy. Creepy in the good way: mysterious, mystical, spooky and goose-bumpy. I especially liked that you left this story and the presence of the narrator’s father open to interpretation.


  9. Claire, big kudos and Mazel for the incredible reviews of your new book! You must be floating?! You have worked so hard, and what a wonderful success to enjoy– I can’t wait to read it. It’s high on my list (when I catch up with my book group selections)!

    Interestingly, this dog found us on our way to Machu Picchu and followed us for days. I felt “haunted” by him, and wanted to bring him home. Your story really touched me– beautiful.


  10. I think it would take more than ‘mere’ fear to loosen the bowels, so I would expect this tale to develop into something darker than dark. I’ve downloaded a sample of the Kindle version of your book for now. I add my congratulations to those of the others. 🙂


  11. What a complex, beautifully written, haunting piece. I enjoyed every word, the simplicity and power of image and language. Made me want to read your book(s)!


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