Sarah Ann Hall

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

#FridayFictioneers – 23/8/13 – Untitled

with 30 comments

Every Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo prompt to stimulate and inspire writers to write 100-words of flash fiction or poetry. The Friday Fictioneers then post their stories.

Visit Rochelle’s site for more details of how to join in, and read other stories inspired by the prompt by clicking on the blue guy.


I struggled this week to come up with a story and, once I did, I failed to give it a title. Please make suggestions, assuming, of course, the story makes sense to you. Thanks to Claire Fuller for the photo.


Copyright -Claire Fuller

Copyright -Claire Fuller


Untitled (because The Voice of the Church is just too obvious and boring) (100 words)

I haven’t seen Eleanor for weeks. She’s visited me every Sunday for seventy years. I watched her baptism. One day I‘ll attend her funeral. I wish that weren’t true.

I shouldn’t have favourites but we’ve become friends over the years, spending time together watching the trees in the graveyard grow. I don’t like the thought of losing her.

Eleanor talks to me like an equal. Of all orators, her voice is the sweetest. Of all who’ve knelt before me, her devotions are the most pious.

I pray she’s on holiday and will return soon. If only she’d sent a card.


Go on, be critical, I promise not to cry or shout.

Written by Sarah Ann

August 23, 2013 at 8:26 pm

30 Responses

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  1. This is the church talking of one of its favorite parishioners correct? At least that is what I suss from your possible title. Perhaps adding imagery like leaning on me (walls) would flush it out without the title.

    Or is it meant to be the Pastor speaking? Because the card made me think that. No one would mail a card to a building. 😉 Or perhaps God?

    Then it occurred to me that if Eleanor died she would be buried in the graveyard forever near the church. So if it were the actually church, or spirit of the church they would be together for eternity.

    What about Hallowed for a title?


    August 23, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    • Thanks for the title suggestion. And yes, it is the church speaking to one of its parishioners. I did have a line about fingers running along its stones, and the narrator preferring Eleanor’s caress, but that became the kneeling line. And with the kneeling line I think it can be interpreted as church or pastor speaking, although the pastor would have to be exceedingly old. Thanks for reading and commenting so fully.

      Sarah Ann

      August 25, 2013 at 2:55 pm

      • Yes exceedingly old indeed. Loved the kneeling line and you’re story.


        August 25, 2013 at 3:23 pm

  2. This was nicely done. I understood it. As for a title all I could think of was…….A Sentient Church……eh, I’m not the best with titles. 🙂


    August 23, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    • Thanks Jackie. If I get a title first, I can usually fit a story to it, or the two come together. But if I write a story first, I find it really hard to come up with a title retrospectively. Thanks for yours. 🙂

      Sarah Ann

      August 24, 2013 at 11:47 am

      • I know that feeling as I have come across it myself. I hate when that happens. 🙂


        August 24, 2013 at 4:49 pm

  3. i understand it perfectly well… and ended up wondering if the church might feel that im as big as a loss as eleanor… probably not,but i like the thought 🙂 well done for originality


    August 24, 2013 at 4:44 am

    • Thanks kz. If churches could feel, I think they must feel the lost of every parishioner these days. I had thought of approaching the story more generally – how the church used to resound with voices on a Sunday and now hears barely a few – but it was easier to write, and more intimate, to personalise it.

      Sarah Ann

      August 24, 2013 at 11:51 am

  4. What came to my mind for a title was “Devotion.” I understood it perfectly. Well done!

    The Bumble Files

    August 24, 2013 at 7:11 am

    • Thanks Amy. ‘Devotion’ was another idea, but I only thought it as I added devotion to the tag list so wasn’t sure. Thanks for the suggestion.

      Sarah Ann

      August 24, 2013 at 11:44 am

  5. I’d got Eleanor Rigby in my head as soon as I started this. Enjoyed your story, and a clever idea to write from the POV of the church. Well done.


    August 24, 2013 at 7:20 am

    • Eleanor Rigby came into my head too, hence the name, particularly the lyric ‘.. died in the church and was buried along with her name..’ (The song’s since turned into and earworm.) As for the church’s POV, I seemed to get fixated on it (the church) as subject for a story rather than anything that might have happened in or around it. I seem to be stuck in a literal, rather than imaginary, rut.

      Sarah Ann

      August 24, 2013 at 11:42 am

  6. How about “God as Man”? It’s a lovely piece and you’ve given the narrator such a gentle and generous voice.


    August 24, 2013 at 11:31 am

    • I’m glad the church comes across as gentle and hopefully caring. I wasn’t sure on re-reading that it wasn’t a little over-bearing. Thanks for the title.

      Sarah Ann

      August 24, 2013 at 11:45 am

  7. I’d probably go something simple like, “Missing You”. I liked the story, but found the tone of the last line to be jarring to the rest of it. The joke took me out of the atmosphere created by this gentle ancient building. I like the idea that the building is praying along with the parishioners.


    August 24, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    • Thanks for the title suggestion. I wasn’t sure about the postcard line either – it jarred for me but I didn’t know how else to end. I see that it clashes with the solemnity of what’s gone before – there’s no indication the narrator has a sense of humour. But then, if Eleanor is on holiday, the church (as on of her oldest and dearest friends) expects a postcard like anyone else. Maybe I’ll should have ended at ‘… return soon,’ and rolled over six words for another week.

      Sarah Ann

      August 25, 2013 at 3:03 pm

  8. Dear Sarah Ann,

    Interesting that our stories both had Eleanors. I wrote a short story once called “If these Walls Could Talk” from the POV of a theater. You pulled off yours quite nicely in 100 words.




    August 24, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    • Hi Rochelle, I’ve been meaning to go back and comment on your story about both having Eleanors. I don’t read any of the FF stories until after I’ve written something, or at least know what I plan to do, so it’s a happy coincidence. However, I’ve started to wonder if my church is missing your Eleanor.
      I can imagine your theatre had seen much and had lots to say – how did you fit it into a short story?

      Sarah Ann

      August 25, 2013 at 4:21 pm

  9. Sometimes you just have to go with obvious and boring.

    lingeringvisions by Dawn

    August 25, 2013 at 8:34 am

  10. Dear Sarah Ann,

    Title or no, this was a lovely piece. Call it Sisters.



    Douglas MacIlroy

    August 25, 2013 at 10:10 am

  11. Hi Sarah Ann,
    I liked the voice in this story and the way you gradually revealed who was telling the story. I’d expand Doug’s title just a little and call it Sisters of the Cross. Ron


    August 25, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    • Thank you Ron. As I wrote, the church had a male voice but, as you and Doug have reminded me, it’s mother church, so Sisters of the Cross is a fine title – thank you.

      Sarah Ann

      August 27, 2013 at 6:13 pm

  12. a wonderful story… and a title. Sometimes I like to go cryptic in my title (after all it’s another use of free words)

    maybe just reusing a famous title..

    “For whom the bell tolls”

    Björn Rudberg (brudberg)

    August 25, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    • Ah yes, ask not for whom the bell tolls. That would work. Thank you.

      Sarah Ann

      August 27, 2013 at 6:01 pm

  13. I like the story, but I’m horrible with titles, so I can’t help you out there. Sorry 🙂


    August 26, 2013 at 5:19 am

  14. I like this angle of the prompt. I’m not sure “attend her funeral” fits as much as “be there for her funeral” would, but that also adds a word. I agree with Amy on Devotion, or some form of that thought as a title.


    August 26, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    • Thanks Russell. I agree ‘be there for’ would fit, and sounds better. And I’m sure I could cut a word from somewhere.

      Sarah Ann

      August 27, 2013 at 5:55 pm

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