Friday Fictioneers: Stone Cold Decay


I missed last week, traveling home from Israel–– just too much to get it done! The Jet lag is still whipping me; hence the early entry. This week I’m continuing my last story–– a dystopian gloom prevails, prompted by a photo by C.E. Ayr. I’m curious: who do you think is speaking–– husband or wife? Who was speaking in the other story (if you read it)? Is it the same person? I found it interesting that when I started writing this week, immediately drawn back to the last story… I realized that the narrator was not who I thought they were, and consequently, this voice changed subtly in my head. Please tell me what you think.

Each week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields leads the Fictioneers’ 100-word, flash fiction challenge. To join this wonderfully eclectic group of writers, or read the other stories, please visit Rochelle’s blog Addicted to Purple. As always, I welcome constructive, honest feedback, and I try to read as many as I can, in return.

 

chateau-de-sable-ceayr

Stone Cold Decay

Holding the meager rations we’ve gotten, we make our way back through alleys and streets once filled with vendors and markets, now silent. Occasionally the children still play, but that is less common as sidewalks crumble and mold grows in cracks and on walls. We all know it’s toxic. Playing outside has become a cautionary equation.

I squeeze your hand seeking warmth. Your face tightens, your mouth a thin pale line. I once felt panic, then dread, sensing our drift–– Now, like the toxic walls that surround our town, there can only be calculated contact.

(Word Count 95)

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GIPYHelp Me Reach My Goals!   KAPOW!  The Tales From the Motherland Facebook page recently hit the 2015 goal of 800 likes (which I set after hitting the 700 mark)! I’m going big for the next year and aiming for 1,000!! Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, LeBron James does (yes, for real)! Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. Honest, constructive feedback is always appreciated.

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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.
Aside | This entry was posted in Aging, Diving, Flash fiction, Friday Fictioneers, Honest observations on many things, Life, Love, Musings, Wrting and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to Friday Fictioneers: Stone Cold Decay

  1. What a tense story.. the dread of contact and of playing. Certainly I feel it’s the same person (I have a felling it’s an elderly couple. Their memories are still there, there is a past, but there is no hope for the future… life is about surviving… barely.

    Like

    • Thanks Björn. I had a very different feeling about writing this one. Though I agree that the couple is older, and their time together brings out their sameness (isn’t that so often true!), I felt a difference in gender and emotion. Funny to have photos pull you so. Thanks for sharing your take on this!

      Like

  2. Pingback: Friday Fictioneers: Stone Cold Decay | ugiridharaprasad

  3. Bloggeuse says:

    I was looking for the perfect word to describe this story and I think Björn has it absolutely right – it’s terrifically tense. We’re left wondering what’s happened to bring the narrator to this place, but whatever it is, it’s chilling.

    Like

  4. I want them to fight back and cling to each other for right reasons. You pulled me in with your stories, Dawn.

    Like

  5. d3athlily says:

    Wow. I feel so sad for your pair here. I get a sense that they’re only together now to survive, but nothing more. The image of a decaying city is really well done in the tight word count too. Nice work again!

    Like

    • I love the challenge of the word count, and always find myself a little surprised when there are extra words to play with… I just didn’t feel like I needed to use them this week. I appreciate your feedback; thanks!

      Like

  6. Dawn…recently my life changed in very dramatic way. I have been reflecting some on things large small, like the wonders of a tomato seed and the utter amazement of a dradon fly doing a ballet on the end of my fishin’ pole as I coaxed Mr. Largemouth Bass into partaking of Mr. Plastic Worm on the business end of the line. I want to tell you what an honor it has to have been your blogging buddy over the last few years.

    No…I ain’t dyin’…simply appreciating the positive things in my Life. You are one of them…a kind and gentle Soul.

    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Toby, I’m really touched and honored by your words, sincerely. Somehow, using that word seems to diminish my statement, but know that I use it… sincerely. I have been so lucky to meet some truly excellent people through blogging, and you are certainly amongst them. I don’t know what’s changed–– you have hinted at big things, and I’ve hoped you are ok… but if you ever want to chat, don’t hesitate to email me (tftmotherland@gmail.com) or private message me on FB. I’m happy to “listen,” and connect. Thanks for always being such a steadfast supporter. I’m so glad you ain’t dyin’! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. ceayr says:

    Fortunately, as I cannot recall yesterday, your story stands alone quite wonderfully.
    Full of threat, full of fear, doom-laden.
    Excellent.
    PS no ‘e’ in Ayr!

    Like

    • Ugh! Sorry about that CE… was up WAY too late (damned jet lag has continued to toy with me) and missed that. Fixing it now, as I do know that and should have caught it. Thanks for the inspiration this week, and glad the story stands on its own!

      Like

  8. Like Bjorn, I see them as an elderly couple. Although everyone caught in this situation would probably think the same. They do sound like the couple in your last story. The man seems to have given up and mentally retreated into himself, his own world. Well-written, Dawn. — Suzanne

    Like

  9. Dear Dawn,

    The worst jet lag I ever experienced was the day after I returned from Israel. None going but coming back, ugh.
    With all of the stories, we get each week, I’m glad this gloomy story stands alone. Your words painted a dismal picture of despair. Well done. Now get some rest.

    Baruch Ha’ba’ah and Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Rochelle. I definitely find coming back MUCH harder. I hardly struggled at all going there, but it’s now been a week, and while I’m mostly adjusted, I still feel myself vacillate. Ugh. I’m glad this stands alone too… I don’t have an expectation that anyone will read the other again, but wondered if readers recall a difference. Leaving the link is simply to make it easy, if anyone wants to compare. 😉 I appreciate your candid feedback… yes, gloomy. Dawn

      Like

  10. Sandra says:

    It stands alone for me, even though I do recall last week’s prequel. Well done, both for the story and for putting in an appearance also.

    Like

  11. Graham Lawrence says:

    Aha. Calculated contact … very expressive.

    Like

  12. athling2001 says:

    Good story. I love the sentence – ‘Playing outside has become a cautionary equation.’ So nice. One of those sentences that give me chills it’s so good.

    Like

  13. Cathy Ulrich says:

    Definitely dystopian, Dawn. (Say that five times fast! 🙂 ) It does feels like the same narrator. And the same situation. I do like your series FFs. I wonder what next week might bring?

    Like

    • I love the weekly challenge, Cathy, and always regret when I don’t get a story written. The ones I skip, tend to stick in my head… nudging me. Ugh! Thanks for always taking the time to share your thoughts. xox

      Like

  14. gahlearner says:

    It reads like the same narrator, the woman, to me, too. Great dystopian setting of the scene, there is room for a lot more story. 🙂

    Like

    • Thanks so much gah! I wont say what I was thinking, as I’m enjoying the views of my FF buds, but I do feel like this story is worming its way into my thoughts… perhaps waiting for something more. 😉 Thanks for the encouragement!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. This story left me feeling cold a desolate ~ a sign of a truly well-written tale, especially in 95 words

    Liked by 1 person

  16. plaridel says:

    it seems like a scene straight from an area in the middle east devastated by war. could they still live in hope? i wonder.

    Like

  17. I do not remember last week’s story..yours or mine. lol I felt this was a mother and child. Perhaps I have been single so long that I don’t think in terms of coupledom anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Martin Flux says:

    Hmm. While I’m pretty sure that with the previous one I felt like it was narrated by a woman, this one I’m not that sure. I’d say a man, but maybe only because I had read your introduction before I started reading. One way of the other, I like the story. Even more than the previous one, I would say.

    Like

  19. I’d say female as well. But I’m going to go against the grain and say not so old. Much internal and external strife here. Hope you continue

    Liked by 1 person

  20. `I think these two will drift further and further apart as the world decays, almost becoming strangers. No warmth to be found in the world or between them.

    Like

    • I do think people cling together in adversity, but so true that it often pull people apart. Thanks for your feedback, Perry; I know this is a long way off your playful views. I should work on some lighter work. 😉

      Like

  21. Vinay Leo R. says:

    This can be standalone too, I guess. I mean, it felt right at home in this era too, with a more metaphoric “toxic walls”. Brilliant.

    Like

  22. You’ve given voices to those without!

    Like

  23. Oh I really like this. From the wording…”cautionary equation” , “calculated contact”, to the sense of tension and loss the character displays. Nicely done. I think this is the wife speaking.

    Like

  24. liz young says:

    There’s a post-Apocalyptic feeling to this, and it made me shiver.

    Like

  25. Dale says:

    It does stand alone (though I admit I had to go back and re-read the first part) and is just as desolate. I think the voice could be either hers or his!

    Like

  26. I definitely get the dystopian tone, as for the speaker I couldn’t tell if it was male or female. I did get that it was a couple, not that they were elderly, whose relationship is being distance like/because of the toxic environment.

    Like

  27. Amy Reese says:

    I remember your last story because it was really powerful and it was based on my photo! But I reread it anyway. I think the voice in this story sounds more male. Maybe because it’s more detached emotionally or objective. Great job, Dawn. And welcome back!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Alice Audrey says:

    You certainly get the toxicity across. As to who the narrator is, I’m totally lost. I was kind of vague about it last time, too, but didn’t really feel that it mattered. So who are they in your head?

    Like

  29. Margaret says:

    The expectation is that people will draw closer together in times of disaster, but your story shows a different effect – that perhaps we can withdraw into ourselves, behind some sort of emotional barricade. I love how you’ve used images of decay and danger. Very unusual. I took the narrator to be a woman.

    Like

  30. rgayer55 says:

    Perhaps a weekend at the Playboy Mansion would cheer them up. The line about the calculated dread speaks volumes about their relationship. It reminded me of the lyrics from an old Porter Wagoner/Dolly Parton song, “Holding on to Nothing.”

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I was chilled and moved by your story, and left wondering about all sorts of scenarios. SInce I didn’t read the previous one, I wondered about the “calculated contact,” and the mold growing in cracks and walls. What is this ghost town? Who are these ghost people? Why is the narrator (I presume she is a woman) reaching out to the man, whose face “tightens” and whose mouth becomes a “pale, thin line”?
    Was it a war? A nuclear disaster? A betrayal?
    The head swirls.
    Thank you for a very intriguing story!

    Like

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