Flash Fiction: Rice would be Nice


‘We’re out of potatoes,’ my mother said, in a voice I wanted to mend.

I dragged my father’s garden spade (he’d taken the fork) to the vegetable patch. It hadn’t rained for months; his brassicas had gone to seed and his onions were flowering.

I jabbed at the ground, remembering the pale, earthy potatoes my father had let me find, like golden treasure hidden in the dark. I knelt and scrabbled, stuck my hands in the soil, my fingers discovering only a wet, rotten mess.

‘Rice,’ I said to my mother. ‘Rice would be nice.’


This is a 100-word story inspired by the picture above. This week, my mind decided to go in the opposite direction to the picture: gardens and heat, despite my best intentions. Thanks to Emmy L Gant for the picture, and to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for leading the Friday Fictioneers. Click here to join in, or here to read other people’s stories.


It’s been a little over a year since my debut novel, Our Endless Numbered Days was published by Penguin. I wrote a blog post about the good and the not so good things that have happened since then.

53 thoughts on “Flash Fiction: Rice would be Nice

  1. Funny how a simple, non-related phrase gives you the back story. “he’d taken the fork” lets the reader know that it’s not a bereavement we’re reading about here. Very well done, Claire.


  2. Oh superb phrase ‘in a voice I wanted to mend’ … agree with Sandra that ‘he’d taken the fork’ is fab succinct but meaningful back story – although of course I’m contemplating what dark fate involving said fork has occured😉


  3. Whoa! The memories that story brought. We had a drought when I was 13 and Mom had planted potatoes. They baked black in the ground. She always made me dig them. No wonder!
    Fine work, Claire!


  4. Claire, this is lovely. The sense of many things ended or ending is palpable. I could see not only a garden curling and withering into itself, but a girl witnessing the same thing happening to her mother. I love the line (as many of us do, it turns out!), “in a voice I wanted to mend.” I love how much you say with so little.
    Thank you.


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