Sarah Ann Hall

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

#VisDare 16 – Vacant – The Morning After

with 13 comments

Angela at Anonymous Legacy suggested we continue with our stories from last week or reflect this week’s events in this week’s stories. I apologise for doing neither but this was all I could come up with.


150 words – or less.
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(Please – no erotica or graphic violence.)
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As always – thanks for participating!



The Morning After (150 words)

It was months since he’d had a hallucination. After the troughs and peaks while the drugs were adjusted he’d settled into normality. He could even drink within reason, but he’d overdone it last night.

He woke next to the fire; embers faintly warm as his hands hovered above. Dan’s tent glowed orange nearby. Trees rustled, birds sang. Everything was as it should be, except the sea of chairs emerging beneath the mist.

He looked away, pounded his head with his fists. The chairs were still there. He drank some water, went for a pee, came back. The chairs were still there.

He didn’t want to wake Dan, didn’t want to cry. He picked his way through a field of tents. Damn he could be stupid. A field of tents, a sea of chairs. He really did need to quit drinking if he’d already forgotten the best gig of his life.



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Written by Sarah Ann

April 20, 2013 at 10:51 am

13 Responses

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  1. This is a hard subject to write about. I know someone who drank to forget. He stayed in so much pain.

    Very good writing.


    April 20, 2013 at 11:45 am

  2. Sarah this was an excellent take. I think we all have been ‘there’ to the point of not remembering where we were, what we did and sore heads the only clue to the night before. Well Done 🙂


    April 20, 2013 at 12:06 pm

  3. I liked how you turned the chairs into a recurrent hallucination. In the process, your main character went through adjusting drugs so that he could return to some sense of normalcy. And how he awoke, after drinking, to find the chairs were back again. And then his realization that although he was feeling better, he could not afford to drink again. However, I was left yearning to know what that most important “gig” of his life had been.

    At first I thought he’d returned back to the States after a tour of military duty, suffering from some post-traumatic disorder. The use of tents in your story made me wonder if he was still somehow in military service or if he was just camping out somewhere, possibly with friends. The use of the word “gig”, which I associate with music, made me wonder if he had used too many drugs while playing in or with a band.

    So there I’m left. Too much focus on what got him there which has caused me to lose focus on his present dilemma and insight, and the idea of the haunting chairs that are back chasing him.

    The Writers Village

    April 20, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    • Hi Randy. Thanks for the comment and all those new ideas.
      To summarise the backstory: the character has been suffering physical illness (kidney problems with associated urinary infections) resulting in hallucinations. Prescribed drugs get him stabilised, alcohol use should be conservative.
      You were right about the music. The character is waking up at a festival – hence the tents – and it may well be in the States because it’s hardly ever warm enough in the UK to sleep only under the stars, even next to a campfire.
      I hope that adds to your understanding and enjoyment of the story.

      Sarah Ann

      April 21, 2013 at 7:54 pm

  4. Yes, the chairs as a hallucination is a great take.


    April 20, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    • Thank you Maggie. I have to admit I was a bit stumped with the prompt and my other half came up with the idea of the chairs being a hallucination.

      Sarah Ann

      April 21, 2013 at 7:55 pm

  5. Oh yes…missing a gig like that. A few memory lapses in my youth I have experienced, but it sounds more recurring in this case. I love how your told it.

  6. Clever – sometimes what we see really is what’s there, even if other things might not be. Difficult to tell, then, which is illusion…. 🙂

  7. Shrewdly incisive. Gorgeous use of the prompt, both in literal and emotional ways. You can almost hear his desperation to remember what the alcohol and hallucinations chased away…

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