Sarah Ann Hall

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

#FridayFictioneers – 1/8/14 – Above and Below

with 40 comments

Every Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo prompt to inspire writers to write 100-words of flash fiction or poetry.

At any point during the following week, the Friday Fictioneers post their 100-word tales. Read the other stories by clicking below.


The first thing that came to mind when looking at Rochelle’s photo was the crossed patch of earth on the left and the idea of it being a target. And that was it. I couldn’t get any further. A walk early this morning gave me the below – this is an observational piece. As stories go, this is the middle – I don’t know how we got here, or what happens next – I’ve failed on the requirement for a beginning and an end. And it doesn’t work without the photo, so, all-in-all, not a great effort.



Copyright - Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Copyright – Rochelle Wisoff-Fields 


Above and Below

(Genre: General fiction; 100-words)


Rubber soles thump the sun-baked path, grass rustles his trouser legs, seed heads snap against his knees. The plaintive pee-o-wee of the buzzard rises over the keys jangling in his pocket.


Target acquired.’


Pausing to breathe in the still morning, the birds crowd him – shrill laughter overhead, rapid fire trilling from the long grass, chitchat back and forth in the branches, a miserable crow crowing.


Missiles locked.’


On the horizon, at the edge of his hearing, jetliners carrying holidaymakers moan. Close by, a cricket wakes his fellows, chirruping crescendos.


Launch initiated.’


Senses heightened, soul invigorated, he walks on.


‘Missiles away.’



Friday Fictioneers


Written by Sarah Ann

August 2, 2014 at 5:15 pm

40 Responses

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  1. i noticed that X spot as well, Sarah…i like the way you wrote this…leaving the imagination to wonder. this piece in a way reminds me of Steinbeck’s writing. i like the detailed observations, Sarah.


    August 2, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    • Thank you. Being mentioned in the same sentence as Steinbeck – feeling very puffed up now. 🙂

      Sarah Ann

      August 5, 2014 at 12:48 pm

  2. Terrific attention to detail here – an exercise in audibility, the story told in sound. And I’m hoping it’s not what I think it is… Well done Sarah, great piece of writing.


    August 2, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    • Hi Sandra. I don’t think it’s a target strike on my walker, but who knows? Many thanks for the read and the comment – high praise indeed coming from you and much appreciated.

      Sarah Ann

      August 5, 2014 at 12:49 pm

  3. I agree with Sandra. Great piece and details. I could feel the tension, the rustle of grass against his trousers, the birds and the miserable crow crowing. I love that. Nice. Success!

    Amy Reese

    August 2, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    • 🙂 I wondered about the crow crowing, but they do tend to sound miserable. I didn’t notice I was putting any tension in, so good to know you felt some.

      Sarah Ann

      August 5, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      • Maybe it’s the crow. They’re are always so intense to me, impending doom and all. 🙂

        Amy Reese

        August 5, 2014 at 10:13 pm

  4. That is so creepy. I love how you use the birds to set the peaceful mood AND foreshadow at the same time.


    August 2, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    • Thanks for your comment. You’ve identified something I hadn’t seen with the foreshadowing, but I’m not very good at analysing my own stuff.

      Sarah Ann

      August 5, 2014 at 12:51 pm

  5. Ah! I too saw the X — but didn’t know how to incorporate it into my story. ;(
    But you did this so well — it’s a wonderful read that keeps pulling you deeper and deeper.

    Blog It Or Lose It

    August 3, 2014 at 6:58 am

  6. I love the contrast you’ve written in, nature all quiet(ish!) and serene, unaware of the massive destruction headed its way.


    August 3, 2014 at 7:21 am

    • We always consider nature to be quiet, but we just have to stop and listen. I’ve taken the same walk everyday this week at different times and the noise and activity is greatest when the sun’s out (maybe obviously), and earlier in the day. It’s as if all the birds are up at dawn and need a nap by half ten.

      Sarah Ann

      August 5, 2014 at 12:54 pm

  7. This is a different take and almost an experimental format. Great job.


    August 3, 2014 at 7:21 am

  8. The silence before always is a stronger way to tell the story than the havoc afterwards.

    • Because words aren’t enough to describe the noise, fear, pain – our imaginations can do it all so much better.

      Sarah Ann

      August 5, 2014 at 12:55 pm

  9. Great contrast between nature’s sweetness and man’s violence.


    August 3, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    • Thank you. Since I wrote the blackberry bush at the end of the walk has ripened and each time I pass there’s the delightful smell of cooking blackberries, as well as the hum of the bees/ wasps inside getting drunk.

      Sarah Ann

      August 5, 2014 at 12:56 pm

  10. Very descriptive with an onomatopoeic quality too it. And yet a contrast is provided with the implied sinister happenings afoot. Nicely done.


    August 3, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    • Thank you. Good to know the onomatopoeia worked – I was going for that with rustle and snap.

      Sarah Ann

      August 5, 2014 at 1:04 pm

  11. Dear Sarah Ann, You write so well, very good descriptions and timing and I love it all! Nan 🙂

    Nan Falkner

    August 3, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    • Good to know the timing works. Thank you. I did start with the ‘Target acquired line,’ but as I concentrated on the walker, I felt he needed to come first. I hoped I chopped it up so the reader could imagine the events happening simultaneously.

      Sarah Ann

      August 5, 2014 at 1:00 pm

  12. Dear Sarah Ann,

    Great contrast between the peace and the horror that’s to come.

    Well done.




    August 4, 2014 at 12:07 am

    • Thank you. And after evoking such horror, I must say shalom to you too.

      Sarah Ann

      August 5, 2014 at 1:09 pm

  13. This is a lovely piece – no apologies required.


    August 4, 2014 at 12:50 am

  14. It was great that you incorporated the most obvious part of the picture into your story.
    The picture begged it – and as far as I can tell you were about the only one who did so.
    good going. Randy

    The Writer's Village

    August 4, 2014 at 3:11 am

    • Thanks, Randy. It’s obviously my contrary nature that causes me to focus on these things. To me it looked like a helicopter landing spot, which seemed an odd thing to photograph from a plane window.

      Sarah Ann

      August 5, 2014 at 1:06 pm

  15. This is wonderful … the tension builds and nature carries on regardless. As Alicia said, no apology required!

    • Thanks Joanna. Nature will strive and survive whatever we throw at her. Maybe we need to take a bit more notice.

      Sarah Ann

      August 5, 2014 at 1:08 pm

  16. Good take on the prompt. Very relevant story


    August 4, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    • Thanks, but I wish it couldn’t be construed as relevant, especially this week being the centenary of the start of WW1.

      Sarah Ann

      August 5, 2014 at 1:11 pm

  17. I think you undersold this one in the intro, Sarah Ann. I think it does have a begining and an end, the details of which are left to the imagination of the reader–which is a great place for them to be. I really liked it.


    August 4, 2014 at 10:26 pm

  18. I think this works even without a technical beginning and end. It’s a vivid snapshot that allows us to imagine the before and after. Oh, and I like how you focused on a less-obvious part of the photo!


    August 5, 2014 at 6:32 am

    • Thanks Janna. I used to be annoyed by stories that left me wondering – I like tidy endings. But I’m growting to appreciate the ones that leave me questioning as I read more. Stories and books I finish and think ‘what was the point of that then?’ still piss me off though. 😉

      Sarah Ann

      August 5, 2014 at 1:20 pm

  19. Sarah Ann, There’s nothing much left to be said. It was a very good story of contrasts. The peaceful sounds of nature are in contrast to man’s preparing to cause destruction. Your description is excellent. Well written. 🙂 —Susan


    August 5, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    • Thank you, Susan. I’m glad you were able to hear the peace before the storm. This was definitely a piece for the ear rather than the eye.

      Sarah Ann

      August 8, 2014 at 7:43 pm

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