Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not.

#FridayFictioneers – 5/4/13 – The Hanging Tree

with 27 comments

Every Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo prompt to stimulate and inspire writers to write 100-words of flash fiction or poetry. Every Friday (or before ) the Friday Fictioners post their 100-word stories.

Visit Rochelle’s site for the rules on how to join in and check out the other stories by clicking on the blue guy.


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Due to family and work commitments I’m very late this week responding to Scott Vanatter’s photo. I also had editorial input from hubby, so my story has an alternative ending. Please let me/ us know which sits better, and then I’ll let you know whose is whose. Or maybe you’ll know on reading.

 

From Scott Vanatter with permission-Copyright-  Indira

From Scott Vanatter with permission – Copyright – Indira

 

The Hanging Tree (100 words)

We passed the hanging tree everyday on the way to school. It was just a story, one the older kids told to scare the young ones. On summer evenings we’d sit under its canopy and light fires from its cast-off twigs.

When the historians called for it to be chopped down, the elders said it was an ancient oak and should be preserved for future generations. When the skeletons were found in a nearby field, the elders said the tree’s role in law enforcement should be acknowledged.

The tree still stands, but no one sits under its lynching branches anymore.

 

OR

 

We passed the hanging tree everyday on the way to school. It was just a story, one the older kids told to scare the young ones. On summer evenings we’d sit under its canopy and light fires from its cast-off twigs.

When the historians called for it to be chopped down, the elders said it was an ancient oak and should be preserved for future generations. When the skeletons were found in a nearby field, the elders said the tree’s role in law enforcement should be acknowledged.

Today a fence stops us sitting under its lynching branches.

 

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Written by Sarah Ann

April 6, 2013 at 5:57 pm

27 Responses

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  1. Dear Sarah,
    Both versions are good but I think I prefer the second one. It seems stronger to me. Of course that’s my opinion. Others might see it differently. Better late than never.
    Shalom,
    Rochelle

    Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

    April 6, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    • Hi Rochelle,
      Thank you for you comment – it’s really helpful. That’s what’s so great about FF – getting other people’s feedback. I need to leave the story(ies) for a while to get some distance and then re-read. I can see that no 2 has more of an full-stop ending than the other, but it feels more distant.

      Sarah Ann

      April 6, 2013 at 9:03 pm

  2. Both are good, but I prefer the first one, which is a bit more eerie I think. I’d have said you’d written the first one. Glad you got here in the end, though I think everyone’s in the kitchen washing up. 🙂

    Sandra

    April 6, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    • Hi Sandra,
      Yes, mine was the first one. I was trying to get across that the villagers had chosen not to sit under the tree, whereas hubby latched on to the idea of them being prevented from doing so (preservation orders spang to his mind).
      I hope there isn’t too much washing up going on over your weekend. Thank you for the comments. 🙂

      Sarah Ann

      April 6, 2013 at 8:57 pm

  3. I like the ending line of the first one slightly more because as Sandra says, it seems a bit more eerie. However, the second one is more likely what would happen now. My guess is that yours is the first and your husband’s the second–but I have as much chance of being wrong as right. 🙂

    Hope you’re having a good weekend.

    janet

    sustainabilitea

    April 6, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    • Hi Janet. Yep, 1 was mine and 2 was his, and probably for the reasons you suggest. He was looking from the outside (when I read it to him) and what would happen, while I was inside and reacting.
      Weekend going well so far – hope yours is too.

      Sarah Ann

      April 6, 2013 at 8:53 pm

  4. I like the ending in the first story for the same reason as Sandra and Janet say. I did enjoy reading.

    silentlyheardonce

    April 6, 2013 at 8:04 pm

  5. I prefer the first. I am going to say that one was yours…..

    Erinleary

    April 6, 2013 at 11:20 pm

  6. Both are incredibly good, but I prefer the first for the same reason as sandra and sustainabilitea. The end seems a bit more eerie, enigmatic and ends with a pull.

    camgal

    April 7, 2013 at 1:14 am

  7. Sarah, I thought the first one! Looks like I was right. I prefer the first one because it would seem to be a person’s choice not to sit there, and not because of a fence. What a story!

    The Bumble Files

    April 7, 2013 at 1:59 am

  8. Must agree with many others and say that the first one was my favorite. That last line somehow completes the story more.
    –JW

    jumbledwriter

    April 7, 2013 at 9:20 am

    • Many thanks for the comment. It’s good to know that the line in the first completes the story, as in wraps it up. I felt the last line of the second was taking it somewhere else. It is good to learn what others think, like and dislike etc about my stories.

      Sarah Ann

      April 8, 2013 at 9:02 pm

  9. I think the second version fits better, that the tree is now set aside since different folks are arguing over it.

    zookyworld

    April 7, 2013 at 11:36 am

    • Thanks for the comment – it’s good to get everyone’s views. I see what you mean, in that the tree has been taken away from the villagers so is now separte from them. Thanks.

      Sarah Ann

      April 8, 2013 at 8:35 pm

  10. Hi Sarah
    A brilliantly crafted story – I really enjoyed it. I prefer the first ending – choosing not to sit under the tree seems more powerful than being prevented from doing so. Plus, I really like ‘the tree still stands’.

    elappleby

    April 7, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    • I’m glad you appreciated the difference between choosing and being prevented. I tried ‘The tree stands still’ first, but that was ever so slightly ambiguous because it can’t do anything else. Thank you for your lovely comments – I’m blushing and smiling at ‘brilliantly crafted’.

      Sarah Ann

      April 8, 2013 at 8:38 pm

  11. I wanted to carve the names of those who’d been hung into the bark. I liked both. Thanks for sharing.

    JKBradley

    April 7, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    • Oh to have more than 100 words. That idea would be such an addition, or another story. Thank you for sharing it.

      Sarah Ann

      April 8, 2013 at 8:39 pm

  12. The second one is practical and realistic. But for people who prefer creepy endings, the first one is perfect:)

    nightlake

    April 8, 2013 at 9:52 am

    • Thank you. I’ll go with creepy. Practical and realistic can be ever so slightly boring.

      Sarah Ann

      April 8, 2013 at 8:41 pm

  13. I like the first one best. It’s more mysterious and it’s kind of funny that no one will go near it anymore after finding out its history. I also like how the elders think the history should be acknowledged, but the creepiness of the whole thing keeps people away.

    Sheila

    April 9, 2013 at 8:45 pm

  14. Excellent story, well written.
    Both equally valid, but the first gets my vote too.
    As in my tale, people stay away by choice, therein lies the power.

    anelephantcant

    April 9, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    • Thank you. I thought your tree was pushing people around, or letting them down none to gently. But I agree, choice equates to power.

      Sarah Ann Hall

      April 10, 2013 at 1:43 pm


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