Flash Fiction: The Proposal


‘Henry,’ he said. ‘Please.’
‘Henry,’ she replied, but silently she said, ‘Doctor Berrisford,’ thinking about all the people he’d touched, and the parts of them he’d seen that no one else ever had.
‘We know each other well enough now, don’t we?’ When he smiled she could imagine the boy he once must have been.
‘Jean,’ she said. ‘Or Jeanie. Whichever you prefer.’
‘Jeanie,’ he said, taking her hand. She waited, not knowing quite for what or how these things were done.
The outside door opened and the wind swept in Julius. Jean pulled her hand out from Doctor Berrisford’s.


This is a 100-word piece of flash fiction, inspired by the photo above (provided by JS Brand). Apologies that it’s more of a scene than a story, but I’m thinking about characters for my fourth book, and this name just seemed to work. It’s a Friday Fictioneers story, a world-wide group of writers looked after by Rochelle Wisoff-fields. Anyone can write something and join in. Click here for more information.


I’ve been away from Friday Fictioneers for a while, but I have been busy. I met fellow FF, Neil MacDonald, and had the pleasure of judging the Farnham Short Story competition for his writing group. He interviewed me about my writing, here. And, the paperback of my second novel, Swimming Lessons, has been published by Tin House in the US, and Penguin in the UK.

Short story: A surprise for Dr Matthews


“Sit still Ricky.” The boy burrowed his face into his mother’s neck.
“How long has he been complaining of the pain?” Asked Dr Matthews.
“Oh, he never complains.”
“A stoic little boy, eh?” Mother and child looked blank. The doctor coughed. “Well, let’s take a look, shall we?”
“He says it feels like butterflies or…”
“If you could just hold him tight,” the doctor interrupted. He turned on his otoscope and shone the instrument into Ricky’s ear. There were the usual spirals but then near the eardrum Dr Matthews saw a light and just in front, shadows, dancing.
“…or angels,” said his mother.


I sent this picture to my friend Sarah this week, simply because I liked it, and she said it reminded her of the inside of an ear. She also suggested other things, but they’re probably too rude to print. So, ear it was.

This piece of writing is part of the Friday Fictioneers writing group. Each week writers from around the world attempt to write 100 words (or so) starting with a picture, this week from Jennifer Pendergast.

I’d love to receive comments and constructive criticism. Click here to read other people’s stories inspired by this picture or to join in, with the group hosted by Rochelle Wishoff-Fields.