Flash fiction: The Beacon




The word had come when she was sleeping. A hammering on the door, loud enough to wake the dead. She was already dressed, only her boots to pull on, the flambeau leaning in a corner. Outside, she ignored the advancing cliff-face of sea-mist, refusing to think about the horrors it must contain.

Three tries to light the flambeau; four agonising minutes for the bonfire to catch. But as the flames surged upwards she saw smoke rising from the neighbouring headland, and the next and the next. And she thought that maybe there was still time for them to be saved.


This is a 100-word story for Friday Fictioneers brought to us by the wonderful writer Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. I didn’t see observatories when I first looked at the picture, so I went with my first impression. The image this week is supplied by the amazing writer, Doug Macilroy. Click here to join in with Friday Fictioneers, or here to read other’s.


This week Dawn Landau’s (a fellow Friday Fictioneer) book group is meeting to discuss my novel, Our Endless Numbered Days, which they’ve been reading. Because of the time difference, I won’t be able to Skype with them, but I have answered their questions by email. If any other book groups are interested in reading Our Endless Numbered Days, I’d be really happy to get involved in the same way. Let me know!

145 thoughts on “Flash fiction: The Beacon

  1. Good story, Claire. I’m sure lighting beacons was standard for people needing help in distant areas before better communications. In the Lord of the Rings trilogy it took place in the third book, The Return of the King. It was very dramatic in the movie. Good description and tension. Well done as always. 🙂 — Suzanne.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Claire,
    Good story. I like the mystery you weave and leave the reader to ponder. “Loud enough to wake the dead” seems a bit cliché, but other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Really good drama — and mystery. Had my total attention from the beginning. And, concerning Marie Gail’s comment about the “loud enough to wake the dead” phrase — just for the sake of looking at it from another perspective — I think it fits perfectly because it adds an ironical, forboding note to the scene in which she is obviously struggling to keep death at bay.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think though that she’s got a point – I could have thought of something else which perhaps referenced the dead or something scary without it being a cliche. Will try harder next time 🙂


  4. Response to threat seems universal, and what we don’t see scares us more than what we see. I, too, love the build-up of tension, and wonder what’s in the mist. The Fog is definitely worth a watch if you don’t mind a bit of horror in movies.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. You bring a tension, an immediate sense of fear here, really strongly in the piece. I get a Lovecraftian feel, like the mists horrors are eldritch & gibbering… Then again, that might just be me 🙂
    Nicely done.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Wonderful story, Claire! The image does indeed look like warning pyres… love where you took this!

    We all loved OEND and will send our thoughts later! It’s been a busy few days. We all particularly loved your answers to our questions– thoughtful, candid and engaging! Thanks so much Claire!

    Liked by 4 people

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  8. Hi Claire, Loved the denouement. That sentence really got me thinking about the creative possibilities. Sea mist is always so eerie.


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  10. Reblogged this on makeyourvoicesmatter and commented:
    Such simple words..which speak so much about the story.Very beautifully expressed.To me the words seem in sync with the springboard of the story.Very inspiring..I would really appreciate if u followed me …my stories are nothings like yours but with what I have I try to provide inspiration to others.I do hope that you are one of them.😆☺👓📚🎭🎲

    Liked by 1 person

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