Friday Fictioneers: Into The Woods

rtt-new1.jpg* To my fellow Friday Fictioneers, thank you so much for thoughtful comments and kind messages last week, when I was in the hospital. It was an overwhelming experience, and your thoughtfulness meant a great deal. Thanks!

Each week on Friday Fictioneers, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields leads a group of writers from all over the globe, in a flash-fiction challenge. A single photo prompt; a story that has a beginning, middle and end; a goal of 100 words– everyone is welcome to participate. Check it out the details, and the wonderful stories in this week’s collection, here.

I always appreciate feedback, positive or constructive. Please leave a comment, and tell me what you think.

Copyright Douglas M. MacIlroy

Copyright Douglas M. MacIlroy

(98 words)

Jan and Irena huddled in the dark, and cupped their mouths in the frozen air.

“Nie ruszaj,” he mouthed silently.  Don’t move. Forbidden to speak their native Polish in the camps, sometimes the women whispered late at night– the comfort of familiar words, the only beauty.

Jan found the hole in the fence, then slipped a note to Irena in the laundry detail.

“spotkajmy się o północy,  Jan”

So she met him at midnight, terrified but determined. As two blinding lights cut the darkness, she held her breath, and waited to run– back to their child, away from hell.

*In remembrance of those who were lost, and those who survived the Holocaust– May Their memories be for a blessing,

זכר צדיק לברכה

About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
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66 Responses to Friday Fictioneers: Into The Woods

  1. Pingback: Friday Fictioneers: Into The Woods | ugiridharaprasad

  2. This is fantastic Dawn, what great take on this prompt, I enjoyed this very much as i knew a man who survived the camps in WW2. Hope you are feeling better.


  3. Jan Brown says:

    Great story with very suspenseful build. I like that it ends in suspense, too, waiting for the light to pass, hoping not to get caught. Well done!


  4. Mike Lince says:

    You set the scene cleverly with the words in Polish. My eyes raced on to see the translation. I felt the tension immediately as my mind sped up to the pace of the rapidly beating hearts of your characters. Suddenly, the story reached 98 words and I was …
    – Mike


  5. Sandra says:

    A great take on the prompt. The opening sentence puzzled me; you have two people ‘cupping her mouth’ making it sound like there were three people there. But I enjoyed the story, and it was a different take on the photo prompt. Nicely done.


  6. claudia says:

    oh wow… that was really well told… i like where it took you… the holocaust…so many tragical stories that have never been written down…


    • Thanks Claudia and welcome to Tales From the Motherland! I appreciate you taking the time to read my story, and comment. Generally, I’m in there much earlier but I was having trouble with WP all day and didn’t get the prompt. When I saw the photo, all kinds of futuristic stuff came to mind… but as it sat with me, those two lights became bolder and being a Jewish mother, my head went there. We are honored to know some remarkable holocaust survivors, and while there are still many stories left untold, there are so many out there… all heartbreaking, in one way or another. Thanks again from dropping in. Hope you’ll check out some other TFTM posts, and weigh in! 😉


  7. Dear Dawn,

    I’m sorry you had so much trouble getting to my site. You did remember I wasn’t posting until Thursday, right?
    Of course I loved your story, for we must never forget. I’ve written many stories like this one. here are the links to two I wrote in my first month as an FF’r and
    There’ve been quite a few more, and as those who know me will tell you, if I find a Jewish connection in my research, that’s where I’ll go.
    I hope you’re feeling better and staying out of the hospital. 😉




    • I did remember that you were posting later, and actually was chatting with Michael (@Stormy) and waiting for it to come. It was a problem with WP all day for me. Couldn’t add the photo to my story at first, couldn’t get the link (I went looking on your site, and found 48 posts already! arrgh!) and all kinds of other annoyances… still haven’t figured out what’s going on, but being more vigilant in finding posts I subscribe to (none came to my inbox over the past 48 hours). I added a thank you to the FF for all the support they gave, while I was in the hospital. It got dropped from the “final” draft of this post… when I did an edit. Again, on line issues… I have always loved your historical links, etc. and look forward to reading these ones you’ve shared here. I almost added this link to mine:

      Finally, I am out of the hospital and slowly on the mend… thanks for all of your kind words and support. It meant the world, in the thick of it! Shalom! Dawn


  8. A great story.. so happy for that hole… Loved the mixing of Polish into your story.. it adds so much color, and it does indeed look like a watchtower a little.


  9. kz says:

    a great story, filled with suspense. i also liked that you used words in Polish, it was very effective. 🙂


  10. A moving story. There is something horrific about watchtowers. Lest we forget!


  11. Cathy Ulrich says:

    I love where your imagination takes you, Dawn. I wish I were brave enough to write fiction!


  12. AR Neal says:

    Sadly beautiful…


  13. jwdwrites says:

    When I rea your story I was convinced you were Polish, then the Hebrew at the end had me thinking Polish Jew, you story was so plausible I was amazed to read you looked them up! The suspension of disbelief is so much easier when the writing is of this quality. Well done 🙂


  14. liz young says:

    I hope they made it. You had me on their side in less than 100 words,


  15. Dawn, very well done story. I almost went with a sci-fi watchtower story. Your story feels very authentic, suspenseful and heavy. So much to capture in your short space. Glad you’re feeling better, too!


    • Thanks, Amy. It feels good to be up and around… not 100%, but much better! I thought to go futuristic as well. The Eiffel Tower didn’t really feel real, as the image seems very fantasy, modernistic with all the lights. The Holocaust story came to me, as those 2 spot lights stared at me. 😉 Thanks for taking the time.


  16. Ye Pirate says:

    Superbly crafted, down to the tiniest details, A tense set of moments, and well-paced. The writing is so good that I will go a step further and be a little tougher – the topic and atmosphere, and research was top notch, but the theme, though one that must be repeated, is also not new. Would they possibly be speaking Yiddish? Does that matter? No, I don’t think it does, just a thought. I wonder if I would start with their names or just simply “They”. Now, back to the theme. Crucial, tense, real, must be revisited, but what if they had been made gypsies, or Roma, who quietly were also there, with 2 million perished. They shouldn’t have been made anything of course, just a thought about looking from a new angle, and keeping the Hebrew at the end. Enjoyed as is, and only thoughts, not suggestions, for a real writer. If you have time for a challenge that explore try our weekly haibun challenge, though I fear our prompts this week were not very good ones!


    • Ye Pirate says:

      Oh dear, I meant to link the LIGO HAIBUN portal, on the left, just click there straight away. Apologies.


    • Wow, thanks Pirate! I appreciate all the thoughtful detail and consideration. They might speak Yiddish, but most Polish prisoners spoke their native language. I did think of leaving out the names, in the front end, but it read better to me with those up front. Now, I might reconsider again… I did not choose Roma, gypsies, Russian, etc as these particular characters, with their specific nationality, came to me of their own volition. I opted not to spin it in my own head too much. I think this theme, has indeed been used a lot, but with 100 words, I wasn’t feeling adventurous enough to wander too far afield. This link: came up when I was translating, and I fell into the story of a mother and father, separated in the camp… but fleeing to find their child.

      Thank you SO much for your kind feedback and your thoughtful analysis. It’s being a part of this amazing group that makes this so addictive and exciting each week! I will check out you link and challenge. Thanks. 🙂


  17. EagleAye says:

    It’s shocking what families had to do to stay together in those awful times. I hope their tales are never forgotten. Wonderful job on this chilling reminder.


  18. Adam Ickes says:

    This is wonderful. You were right about us taking similar paths. Only yours is more terrifying having been based on reality. Mine is set in a future that may or may not happen, thus there is the knowing that it is merely fiction to ease the mind. I hope your characters found a better fate than mine though.


  19. draliman says:

    This was a very powerful piece of writing, especially as it was based on the terrible events surrounding the Holocaust.
    I hope the couple in your story found their way back to their child. I imagine most never did.


  20. Excellent use of the prompt as a guard tower and very affecting post. Thanks, Dawn!


  21. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Dawn,

    You dare me?

    I thought this story was grand for all the reasons listed by all the other commenters who were moved, like I was, by your words.




  22. Steve Lakey says:

    Hope you’re feeling better, Dawn. This poignant story is a fitting tribute to the bravery of those oppressed, and the resilient nature of the human spirit. I hope they are reunited with their child.


  23. helenmidgley says:

    Hauntingly beautiful 🙂


  24. This is very well done.


  25. plaridel says:

    i’d been to the auschwitz and birkenau concentration camps and it was a very emotional experience. never again should the human race allow it to happen.


  26. mike olley says:

    I’ve read this several times now. Snatched moments. The senseless oppression. The power of hope. I’m holding my breath as I write this, waiting for the lights to pass. Powerful stuff, Dawn.

    (I’m glad you are recovering. I hope you get up to full speed soon.)


  27. I visited Austrawietz ( poor spelling). With even what little was left, it bothered me immensely to see it. Good story. Keep the memories alive.


  28. Wow, intense in so few words. My scheduled trip to Auschwitz got cancelled years ago and I never got round to it since but would love to. I cried buckets at the innocence of ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’…



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