Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

Friday Fictioneers – The Shrine

with 18 comments

I’ve been meaning to join in with this for ages. Having had a look at what others have written, I don’t think I should stick my neck out. Oh well, too late now.

The below was written in reponse to Madison Wood’s photo prompt for 100-word stories or poems from Friday Fictioneers. Photo by Sandra Crook.



It was years since he had returned home and still the horrors of war played through his mind.

He picked his way down the tangled path towards the shrine, hoping to find some sort of peace.

Branches brushed his face; stones and roots leapt up to trip him, but he fought on.

He climbed neat steps to a clearing larger than he remembered: bindweed rolled to the edges, bushes and boulders in rows. Nature sanitised.

The shrine, old and beautiful, shrank behind modernity: sterility diminishing its healing powers.

He lumbered away, eyes to the ground: lost and broken.



Written by Sarah Ann

September 28, 2012 at 6:47 pm

18 Responses

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  1. I liked it. Nothing wrong with putting you neck out there…”Nature sanitised.” nice line but I think it is spelled sanitized. Good work! Here is mine if you care to take a look….

    Tom Poet

    September 28, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    • Thanks Tom. I think the sanitised/ sanitized is a UK/US thing. We did used to have a ‘keep the z’ campaign but spellchecker didn’t like it.

      Sarah Ann

      September 29, 2012 at 12:14 pm

  2. I think this is a lovely piece of short fiction. I’m so glad you stuck your neck out and shared it. πŸ™‚


    September 28, 2012 at 7:55 pm

  3. Good job on your first attempt! You really capture the mystery of the place. My daughter who has been to Japan says that they would never put up those brick walls on the sides of the structure, and that gave me a bit of inspiration. I love that the one feature of your story is something called “bindweed.” Just right!

    Mine is here:

    Cindy Marsch

    September 28, 2012 at 10:39 pm

  4. Welcome to Friday fictioneers and I really like your take on the photo prompt.
    I am number 44 this week


    September 29, 2012 at 12:25 am

  5. Welcome. You don’t have to feel bad about your piece. How sad that he came looking for peace and healing and there was nothing left to help him.


    September 29, 2012 at 1:02 am

  6. Nicely done Sarah. I really enjoyed this! And welcome to the Fictioneers family! Thank you for doing us all a favor and sticking your neck out! πŸ™‚ Look forward to more of your work in the future!

    John Hardy Bell

    September 29, 2012 at 1:29 am

  7. I’m glad you decided to stick your neck out. Your description of the shrine lost in modernity reminds me of going to historical sites in Seoul, with the ancient shrines in the foreground and skyscrapers in the background. Well done!


    September 29, 2012 at 1:56 am

  8. “…shrank behind modernity…” sad commentary.

    Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

    September 29, 2012 at 2:08 am

  9. Not sure why you didn’t want to join us! It was very well-done!


    September 29, 2012 at 5:28 am

    • Fear of what other people might think of my writing. Sending stories to competitions is safe because often the only response is the cheque being cashed. Writing a novel is safe because it takes so long, and then you give it to friends and family to read. Sometimes I need other people’s affirmation that I can string words together to create a picture. So thanks Scott.

      Sarah Ann

      September 29, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      • You do that well. I would have most of my family as my strongest critics!


        September 29, 2012 at 3:23 pm

  10. Welcome! Nicely done, I felt for him.


    September 29, 2012 at 7:26 am

  11. Thank you everyone for all your positive and encouraging comments. It took so long to refine 100-words that I don’t feel so bad about my never ending novel now. πŸ™‚

    Sarah Ann

    September 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm

  12. if only he’d gotten there sooner.


    September 30, 2012 at 2:54 am

  13. How sad. Making that trip, looking for solace and peace and not finding it. He was lost and broken before he began searching for the shrine and ended up feeling worse. Hope he continues on his journey and finds the peace he seeks.

    Lora Mitchell

    September 30, 2012 at 6:44 am

  14. Dear Sarah,

    Your story was wonderful. Please stick you neck out again. I loved the sentence that ended with…but he fought on. Clearly illustrates the struggle your protagonist is going through.




    October 3, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    • Thank you, Doug.
      I wasn’t sure about the ‘fought on’ – whether it would come across as corny after the war reference.
      And, don’t worry, I’ll be sticking my neck out again – and waiting for my head to be chopped off. πŸ™‚

      Sarah Ann

      October 4, 2012 at 10:44 am

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