Sarah Ann Hall

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

Posts Tagged ‘death

OLWG#56 – When Paul Was Five – #amwriting

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He is my response to this week’s New Unofficial On-Line Writer’s Guild Prompts. This was fun to write, but didn’t take 25-minutes at all. It took a while longer and still needs re-editing and tweaking to make it better. Thank you Thom for the prompts that could only go one way for me this week.


When Paul Was Five

Clare decided long in advance that Paul should have a pirate-themed party for his fifth birthday. She collected together suitable detritus from the local charity shops – a squawking purple parrot on a perch, a sailing boat made of matches that was strictly hands-off, and various plastic chests of dubious treasure. With all the props she needed, Claire spent the two weeks leading up to the party making individual hats for the children expected, and hoped there would be no last minute invites as Paul made and broke buccaneers, or pushy parents approached with grappling irons. Paul was tasked with making all the swords, in cardboard of course. He and his father spent the month of weekends prior to the party’s launch decorating each sword hilt to match its owner. Paul was up on piratical law and myth, and there were runic decorations and symbols that had to be attached to explain the power and mastery of his crew in marauding and other plundering pastimes. Various pasta shapes, cotton reels, glitter, dyed string, and lots of paint, were used to make these messages clear.

As far as Clare was concerned, the only thing missing before the day was a pirate-themed magician. True, one wasn’t strictly necessary, but she needed some form of entertainment to keep the excitable little sea rats enraptured to save the tears as flimsy swords collapsed. A clown was not appropriate, balloon benders a bit old hat, and Clare searched long and hard but came up with no one suitable.

She discussed her dilemma at church and Phil, the cousin of the pastor’s wife, volunteered to come along. He had been in the merchant navy years since and had some treasures of his own he said he could bring, as well as photos and tales of tattooed peoples and brain-eaters. Clare was grateful, but pointed out the kids were only five and brain eating wasn’t necessarily appropriate. And could he please steer clear of voodoo and zombie tales. Clare didn’t want to be responsible for twenty families experiencing nightmares in the following weeks.

The day arrived: the kids played and ate, with only two throwing up from overindulgence. They fought and won their battles, cardboard swords starting to droop, leaving pasta and glitter all over the floor, and then they sat down to hear from Filibuster Phil, a man who had been to sea and see, and seen it all. Phil, as well as adopting a new moniker, revelled in his role and regaled them with stories of spotting enemy ships from the crows’ nest, being lashed to the mast to survive humungous storms, visiting islands of painted peoples, and the abilities of shipmates with peg-legs and hooked-hands. The children gaped and gasped in all the right places.

Phil’s last tale was one about the ghosts of Glummer Caves, that stole the breath out of you should you espy them. There was a rumour that if you ever stood inside the cave, a ghost might follow you all your life and use the least expected moment to take your breath. Phil paused before the punchline, his head forward like a stretching tortoise, his arms and legs akimbo like a cartoon scaredy cat, and then he tumbled gently to the floor. The kids loved it, and after a moment’s silence were cheering and crying for more. They carried on hooting, picking up their swords, as half the parents shooed them from the room and the other half picked Phil’s still body from the floor. With the children safely around the food table or in the garden, the first-aiders laid Phil on the floor, administered CPR, called an ambulance. All to no avail.

At school for the next six-months, Paul’s party was the best to have attended, ever. Clare, while not wanting to rush her baby boy to grow up, did look forward to the day he no longer hankered for birthday parties. It had been hard enough trying to keep up with Joneses, but topping the Glummer Ghosts catching up with Filibuster Phil was inconceivable.



This week’s prompts are:

  1. covered with glitter
  2. playing pirates
  3. life can end in the middle of a sentence


Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need.

Have fun


Written by Sarah Ann

June 29, 2018 at 9:34 am

#FridayFictioneers – 21/7/17 – Mothers’ Ruin

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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.

I’m very late to the party this week and have struggled with the below. I showed it to hubby who suggested a couple of minor changes. I don’t think either of us thinks this works. Perhaps I’m trying to squeeze too much in?

With thanks to Rochelle and Kent this week.

© Kent Bonham


Mothers’ Ruin

(Genre: general fiction: 100-words)

Sally smiled as she threw Rick her car keys. He was a sensible boy. It wasn’t his fault his parents had moved to the middle of nowhere during his first year at university. It was only fair they should lend him their car to go to see his friends in town.

Squeal, screech, thud.

That’ll be another bairn flattened, Irina thought, shuffling along. When would the young learn sense? How long before humans and hedgehogs lived in co-existence?

As the sun went down, Irina’s array all arrived home safely.

Less than a mile away, Sally’s cottage bathed in blue flashes.


Written by Sarah Ann

July 23, 2017 at 9:45 pm

Mediterranean Summer – #gargleblaster185

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Tacking to starboard, the crew luxuriated in warmth and jollity. Through kissing winds their sail sliced the blue. All around sea met sky, nothing else in sight.



Arms flailed, glasses flew.

As the deck righted, none noticed their red wake.




Written by Sarah Ann

October 29, 2014 at 8:47 pm

A New Home – #gargleblaster159

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After ten years, cobwebs craze the stripped walls. Boxes perch on upturned furniture, each layered with despair.

The kitchen, bright, spacious, the only room completed, is kept perfect in his memory.

Her soul, crushed along with his body, spurns their rotting home.


This is my submission for yeahwrite‘s gargleblaster challenge to write a story in 42-words.


This week’s Ultimate Question:


Have all your clocks stopped?

Written by Sarah Ann

April 28, 2014 at 10:21 pm

#FridayFictioneers – 21/3/14 – As One

with 30 comments

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

Every Friday (or before) the Friday Fictioneers post their 100-word tales. Visit Rochelle’s site for the rules on how to join in and check out the other stories by clicking on the blue guy.



Following on from last week’s attempt to rate the photo in terms of the number/ rapidity of story ideas generated, this was another 4.5. I think my muse is playing hard to get. Still, once the idea came, it wouldn’t let me go. Unfortunately, life and work have intervened since Wednesday, which is why I’m not posting until Sunday evening, but I’m not late until the linky closes….

Many thanks to Rochelle for this week’s photo.



As One

(Genre: Contemporary/ Romantic Fiction, 98-words)

Short of breath, David entered the lift. Legs tired, shoulders aching, his bags of groceries almost dragged the floor, hanging limply from numb fingers.

As he rose, a girl flitted down the stairs, ebony curls skimming her shoulders. A spear of recognition cut. She looked just like his Eliza when they’d met, fifty years before. David shook away the silly thought. He was old now; Eliza was ten years dead.

He followed the girl’s progress. When she turned, Eliza’s eyes smiled up at him. A hand squeezed his heart, and sweet lips caressed his, as they were reunited.


Friday Fictioneers

Written by Sarah Ann

March 23, 2014 at 8:19 pm

Steam-rollered time

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After posting recently about how I seem to always be catching up, life, in the form of a death, has squished time even thinner. Following the recent demise of my aunt I am writing more lists of jobs-to-do than usual and precious little else. The funeral has to be arranged, post has to be sorted, subscriptions cancelled, friends contacted, and family negotiated with. It’s exhausting and my imagination has been boxed away in a cubbyhole, the flaps taped securely. I didn’t want this to happen, but there’s no space for her to flit about and procreate. Hence my WIPs are in the doldrums, my flash fiction is absent, and my reading of blogs non-existent, for which I apologise.

In the midst of this, I attended a talk this week entitled, ‘If we can write, so can you.’ This entailed a member of our local library services asking Essie Fox, Julia Cohen, Scott Andrews and Kate Mayfield a series of questions – where they get their inspiration, who chooses book covers, and others that I have forgotten. The questions were more interesting than I’ve indicated but they faded quickly as the answers given fed each other and made for an entertaining and useful evening. There was a lot I already knew, but my revelation was the fact that I might have finally found my genre – contemporary issue-driven romance. Well, not the romance bit, but contemporary issue-driven definitely fits. So now I read Julia’s book and see if mine is of a similar ilk, and then I look for equivalent books, and then I look for the agents who represent those authors in order to approach them. It’s great to have a plan, but it feels like I’m starting another long process and I see my self-imposed deadlines evaporating.



#FiveSentenceFiction – Flowers – Forever Lily

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Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week Lillie McFerrin posts a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate writes a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.

This week: FLOWERS


Forever Lily

A single calla lily stands in a plain glass vase; a trumpet atop a long stem; tall and elegant; the simple green and white a marked contrast to the turmoil that was her life; the stillness of the church in juxtaposition to the energy she exuded.

Her raucous laugh, her loving and generous nature, her edgy wit, and the constant fear and pain of illness are all gone. Her shining eyes, the shapely legs that extended always from mini-skirts will be seen no more. She will never again cook for her family, pour a drink for a friend, offer a hug or kiss to one she loved.

Everyone leaves the graveside with a bloom and so her favourite flower becomes forever the memory of that last day, and of her.


Lillie McFerrin Writes

Written by Sarah Ann

September 17, 2013 at 7:43 pm

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