Flash fiction: Talking with the dead



I rise early and go down through the forest to your grave. Moss has grown over the stone I placed there and a snail has left a map of its convoluted journey as if it, alone, plans to return.

I sit on the ground, soft and damp with the autumn’s leaves and eat sandwiches. Egg and cress; your favourite. I tell you everything: who she is, how much I love her, why I must leave.

I listen for your arguments and tears, but for the first time I hear nothing, just the mist condensing and dripping from the trees.


Finally this week I’m two words under my 100-word allowance (that should make up a little from last week’s over-spend). Friday Fictioneers is brought to us by the wonderful writer Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, and the picture this week is supplied by the lovely writer, Rachel Bjerke. Click here to join in with Friday Fictioneers, or here to read other people’s.


On Tuesday my novel, Our Endless Numbered Days, was officially published in the US by Tin House.

61 thoughts on “Flash fiction: Talking with the dead

  1. Dear Claire,

    Your title misleads us just a little. Instead of the zombie story I was hoping wasn’t going to happen, you shared a poignant story full of pathos and heartache. Well done.




  2. So much evocative, informative detail has been packed into such a small space; it moves us and leaves us wanting more, yet tells us everything we need to know at the same time. A beautiful tale, skilfully told.

    Many congratulations on the US publication of Our Endless Numbered Days, Claire… you must be almost breathless with excitement!


  3. What a lovely story, Claire. We’ve had many deaths in the family over the past two years, and this sweet story about moving on holds within it my hopes and dreams for all the spouses who have lost their life partners too early. Thanks for sharing this gem.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail


  4. Very beautiful. Sad and reflective as always. I too love the snail image and I’m so glad that the main character gets to carry on living and loving. What else is there? Thank you for your Friday flash fiction treasures. Hope “My Endless Numbered Days” is off to a great start. I’ve just enjoyed the first two chapters. The father is a complicated and horribly delusional figure. Great stuff!!! Best wishes Jax


  5. The image of a snail leaving its own map is a wonderful one in a sad but hopeful story. Well done on the word count, though you might consider inserting ‘time’ as you have two spares. 🙂 I can’t imagine your excitement on having your book published – congratulations yet again.


  6. A very sweet and touching story. It has the feel (as I’m sure it is suppose to) of the struggle of letting go of someone you love and going on with life. A difficult but necessasary part of life. Absolutely beautiful. And.. congratulations!!


  7. I enjoyed tenderness of this sad write … a dead lover … obviously gone for qite a while but never released until this encounter … when he’s finally ready to move on. A beautiful and very effectively write.


  8. Claire, this is just beautiful… you’ve created a sensory piece, with a full and touching story within it. Love it!

    I am LOVING Our Endless Numbered Days! Like your story here, you are really gifted at creating a lush atmosphere– so important to that story! Love it!


  9. Pingback: In the Media: 22nd March 2015 | The Writes of Woman

  10. As with everything you write, there is a perception that is yours and yours alone: “… a snail has left a map of its convoluted journey as if it, alone, plans to return.” Does the snail personify your character’s motivation? I wonder if there is obsession in his returning – to the scene of his crime, it seems. If obsession is part of his flaw. I don’t care if that’s not what you intended. I will steal this device, even if it’s my own! 🙂


  11. Congratulations again, Claire, on the publishing of your book in the U.S. I liked this story. It seems he feels a bit guilty about moving on with his life and imagines his deceased wife is protesting. Well done as always. 🙂 — Suzanne


  12. Claire, this is a beautifully told story of love and moving on. To me, the little details make the story, the things that people notice at times like this. And congratulations on the book. Hopefully I’ll be reading it soon.



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