Sarah Ann Hall

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

Trifecta: Week 63 – My Brother Joe

with 19 comments

After getting nowhere with the previous two week’s one-word prompts, I have thought harder and managed to come up with something for this week’s Trifecta Writing Challege. I’m not sure it works. It sort of peters out and goes nowhere.


The challenge:

To write a creative response using the given word, which must be included.

The response must be between 33 and 333 words and must use the 3rd definition of the given word.

Trifecta is open to everyone.  Please join us.

The prompt:

1: a trodden way
2: a track specially constructed for a particular use
3a : course, route
b : a way of life, conduct, or thought


My Brother Joe (250 words)

Joe came for lunch every Sunday.

‘I followed him just like you said, Grandpa. He went through the woods and into the house with the rainbows. Grandpa, why do you worry so much about him?’

‘He’s different from us, son. When he was born there was something about him, something to be wary of. And now, well –’

Grandpa was never able to tell me why Joe was different. Every week he came for lunch, every week I followed him home. Joe was ten years older than me. When our parents died, he went to live with his friends; I went to live with Grandpa.

‘He’s not doing anything wrong living there. Is he?’

‘He’s not doing much right.’

‘Why are you so hard on him, Grandpa?’

He frowned, as if he didn’t understand the question.

‘It’s just not right.’

Every time we saw Joe, I had more questions.

‘Have you ever been inside the rainbow house, Grandpa?’

‘I have. Once. I’ll never go in again. Neither will you.’

‘Why do we never visit Joe, Grandpa?’

‘He’s chosen his path in life. I’ll not have you go the same way.’

I was too young to understand about cults and communes; too young to understand the wound I inflicted that day. My enquiring mind would be the death of me. Or Grandpa.

‘So why do I follow him?’

‘To make sure he gets there safely.’

I was too young to understand the loss he felt, the failure at saving only me.



Written by Sarah Ann

February 7, 2013 at 5:58 pm

19 Responses

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  1. Excellent story. I really feel for the Grandpa.


    February 7, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    • That’s odd. I hadn’t given much thought to how he felt. Thanks for pulling me up and making me think about it now.

      Sarah Ann

      February 8, 2013 at 8:40 pm

  2. Must have been hard for all concerned-the narrator for not understanding ,his grandpa for not being able to explain along with the pain of not being able to hold Joe & for Joe as well(he must have had some love for his family to return every Sunday).Guess this “rainbow house” is a Hippy commune?Very lucidly written-loved it!:-)


    February 7, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    • Thank you for your lovely comments. I’m not sure if it’s a hippy commune or something more insidious and the rainbows are there to make it look less threatening.

      Sarah Ann

      February 8, 2013 at 8:42 pm

      • :-)That is a nice thought-trying to make it look less threatening


        February 9, 2013 at 8:47 am

  3. You are too hard on yourself! It doesn’t peter out and go nowhere – you took it to a logical conclusion. I think you did a nice job 🙂

    • Thank you. I can live with logical conclusion. I suspect, because I didn’t choose the ending, I didn’t have any control over it so worried. Sometimes I need to let go and trust the stories to tell themselves.

      Sarah Ann

      February 8, 2013 at 8:44 pm

  4. brilliant. each character going through something, each not fully able to express what they’re feeling.. such a complex situation… the failure at saving only me – great ending.


    February 8, 2013 at 12:50 am

    • Thanks kz for commenting. Writing from the grandson’s point of view I hadn’t really seen each character being unable to express themselves. Thank you for the new POV.

      Sarah Ann

      February 9, 2013 at 2:22 pm

  5. Very thought-provoking. So much in so few words. Well done!

    Bee (@LivingOffScript)

    February 8, 2013 at 1:33 am

  6. I don’t think the ending peters out. I think it’s rather good. The whole piece is good. (:


    February 8, 2013 at 5:49 am

    • Thank you. I’m very good at accepting other’s views on my work, so thanks for yours!

      Sarah Ann

      February 9, 2013 at 2:18 pm

  7. The last line delivered a punch of sadness. I thought the story worked quite well.


    February 8, 2013 at 6:28 am

  8. This story developed really well, from a kind of magical mystery to a practical twist at the end. Well done.


    February 8, 2013 at 8:21 am

    • Thanks, Sandra. I’m glad you can see the story developing. It was a series of disjointed ideas so I’m pleased it pulled itself together

      Sarah Ann

      February 9, 2013 at 2:20 pm

  9. This story speaks volumes to me as a father…very good take, I must say..


    February 9, 2013 at 9:38 am

    • Thank you for your lovely comments. As I’m not a parent I’m glad it was able to touch you.

      Sarah Ann

      February 9, 2013 at 2:21 pm

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