Flash Fiction: Feral


I set down the saucer of milk in the corner of the barn and scuffed around in the straw, calling and blowing little kisses. Every day I’d visited the kittens, pressing each soft face against mine and sighing.

Cara had sighed too. ‘They’re not your babies, Frances. They’re feral cats and in a month they’ll be yowling, and scratching and copulating.’

Now she stood in the doorway, the sleeves of her shirt sodden.
‘Have you been to the lake?’ I said.
She held out a sack, the dead-weight at the bottom dripping water on the concrete floor.
‘You’re too old for playing mother,’ she said.


This is a Friday Fictioneers story of 100-words or so, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, and this week the picture is provided by Piya Singh. Click here to join in or here to read other people’s.


I had some great news yesterday. One of my short stories, A Quiet Tidy Man, has been shortlisted for the Royal Academy / Pin Drop short story prize. The winner will be announced at a ceremony later in June at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, where the story will be read by the actress Juliet Stevenson. More information.


62 thoughts on “Flash Fiction: Feral

  1. The kittens were, of course, just a device to show us the relationship between the two women. Frances. soft-hearted and sentimental, Cara tough and practical. Will their relationship survive Cara’s brutality? Congratulations on the short-listing

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A great story, Claire. Fantastic how you summed up their relationship in so few words.That Cara’s the toughest of cookies. Beautifully succinct. And very well done on the shortlisting – that’s a fantastic achievement. And what a great actress to have involved, too – she has a glorious voice, perfect for readings.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So Cara drowned the cats? If so why did she bring them back i.e. not just chuck them in the lake with a brick? Oh, and congrats on the shortlisting – we have a genuine star in our FF firmament.

    Liked by 1 person

    • She did. I did think about her bringing them back – most people would chuck them in the lake (well, perhaps most people wouldn’t kill the cats in the first place) – but her bringing them back makes her even more of a different sort of person I think. And thanks for the congratulations. I am very excited.


  4. If I were Frances I’d hate Cara with a vengeance now. I know kitten were drowned frequently in the past, before vet visits and ‘fixing’ became the rule, but that was usually done to newborns. These were older and Frances loved them. Cara killed them. I don’t know how that can be forgiven. Another great snippet about these characters. And congrats on the shortlisting.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The picture immediately made me think of Our Endless Numbered Days – which I absolutely loved by the way – I even saw a copy in a charity shop the other day, which in my opinion means you’ve made it! So good, they want to pass it on! I was good and bought mine at full price though 🙂
    Loved the characters in this story, brilliantly written as always. So pleased for all your successes – you deserve them. Keep it up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much El, and so pleased you enjoyed OEND. I’m very happy to that it’s made it to a charity shop – it’ll haven another reader hopefully. I just wish charity shops would encourage people who buy their books to leave reviews, and then everyone wins. And glad you liked this story.


  6. You painted a great picture of their personalities in such few words, I really liked the story. Congrats on being shortlisted, would love to meet Juliet Stephenson I’ve long been a fan of hers.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congrats on the shortlisting!
    It’s funny… With this picture I kept thinking of your book (even though the house was made of wood)
    Then you go and write this! You packed so much into 100 words. Fabulous!


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