Friday Fictioneers: A Light In The Window

Unfortunately, I had surgery last week and was not able to get to as many stories as I would have liked. I apologize if you read mine, and I didn’t return the favor. I’ll try to do better this week! As always, a giant thank you to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for her weekly dedication. This week’s photo prompt comes from Dale Rogerson. My story is a reflection of the current epidemic, completely avoidable with modern medicine. It’s easy to forget that measles once killed a million people a year. As always I welcome honest, constructive feedback.


A Light In The Window

Shivering, Trina held her hands before dying embers; the heat barely warmed her icy fingers. She blew the ash in hopes of stoking a flame.

Her brothers and parents were long gone, but she could still see her mother’s tears as Father led her away––

“Come dear, there is nothing else we can do. The measles; we must leave here.”

“Hey Joe! Look at the top floors of the Hubbard building; do you see that light?”

“Don’t be silly; it’s been abandoned for a hundred-and-fifty years! It’s just lights off the snow.”

“Don’t leave me!” Trina cried, year after year.

(Exactly 100 words)

*     *     *

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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.
This entry was posted in Dawn Quyle Landau, Flash fiction, Friday Fictioneers, Honest observations on many things, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Friday Fictioneers: A Light In The Window

  1. Alice Audrey says:

    Could she not chase after them? I get the feeling there is a longer story here.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So good to see you yesterday! Thank you for coming! You should bring some work to RWB and read. 1st Saturday of each month, @ 4 at the Brandywine. Hope to see you again soon. Cheers, Laura!

    Laura Kalpakian Author of The Great Pretenders Facebook // Twitter


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Iain Kelly says:

    Poor Trina, a real sense of despair

    Liked by 1 person

  4. trentpmcd says:

    Something dark about this photo – I just read another ghost story. Anyway, poor thing, I think she need to go to the great beyond.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. neilmacdon says:

    Tina’s voice needs to be louder in a world where malicious fake science convinces parents to endanger their children’s lives and those of other children by refusing vaccination

    Liked by 2 people

  6. granonine says:

    Measles? You know, I lived though measles outbreaks 65 years ago.You felt yucky for a couple of days, but after that it was just waiting for the rash to go away. No one considered it to be life-threatening. Has it changed in some way? Well, all that has nothing to do with your very moving story. Sometimes I get triggered too easily 🙂


    • Throughout the 1950s, at least 400-500 people died of measles (more than 1 p/day), per year, in the US, with 4-5 million infected. While I imagine it was only feeling yucky for you, many others experienced something much worse. The only thing that’s changed is that it has been eradicated for years, and now very foolish people are refusing immunizations, and causing harm to others. It’s infuriating, to me. And your comment has EVERYTHING to do with my story… 😉 Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • granonine says:

        I had no idea measles could be so serious. In my memory, it was just something everybody got when they were kids. Like mumps and chicken pox.

        I don’t have little ones in my family any more–youngest is 9—-and I’m not sure how I feel about the controversy. Clearly, you DO know, and I certainly can respect that. Some of the young women I’ve talked with are appalled at the sheer number of vaccinations their babies get when the babies are so young and vulnerable. Wouldn’t it be safer to wait until they’re at least a year old before putting so many toxins into their systems?

        I fully understand that the dangers have increased with increased immigration of unvaccinated people. Just seems like no matter what we do, it’s like playing Whack-a-Mole. Fix one problem, and several others pop up.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Linda, this is indeed a hot topic. Yes, I do know a lot about it–– I’ve read a lot, we are a medical family (my husband’s a surgeon), and our extended family are in science fields. It’s something I really have researched from many angles.

          There are indeed a lot of vaccinations for babies, and some could wait, that’s true. They don’t all have to be given at such early ages. The word “toxins” is interesting, when you consider how many lives are saved by those toxins. If people really did their research, the diseases themselves (in most cases) are far more risky and catastrophic, and there has NOT been a single SCIENCE BASED (versus antidotal) study that supports autism or other poor outcomes with vaccination.

          It’s true, however, as with all medicine, there are isolated risks. We had a local woman, very young, die last week from routine knee surgery. She had a blood clot, that could not be detected and is a normal risk of any surgery, and died a week after having her ACL repaired. I can assure you, there are more of those deaths than most people know, but knee surgery is quite standard, and folks aren’t deciding to avoid surgery–– despite the inherent risks. There are enormously more complications from surgeries than from any reports of vaccination issues–– until recently, with the rise of illnesses, from NOT having vaccinations.

          As for the spread of this, it has little to NOTHING to do with immigrants. The dangers stem from Americans themselves, and often Americans abroad. Ironically, most other countries offer and use vaccinations. It is a very American thing to feel so entitled to question science, that folks would keep their children unvaccinated and then send them to public schools (vs homeschooling, and not risking others). Immigrants are not the people CHOOSING not to vaccinate, and most poorer nations recognize how important it is; they have watched their children die of preventable illnesses. It’s predominantly younger parents in the US and religious groups who are choosing to not vaccinate, and that is where the deaths and risks have come in. Of course, this movement exists in other places too, but is not as common as it is right here in the states. It’s so easy to blame immigrants for so many things (I’m not saying you do), but that is another topic, and equally complicated, I think.
          Finally, as for your childhood memories of measles, it may be that you recall more people having them because the vaccine didn’t come until 1963, but it was never a simple or unrisky illness. We often remember our childhoods thru’ rose colored glasses, I think. 😉 Quite the dialogue from a 100 word essay!

          Liked by 2 people

          • granonine says:

            It’s been an interesting and informative discussion. I appreciate your taking the time to share your knowledge with me.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Adding my 2 cent’s worth for what it’s worth. German measles, or as we used to call them, the three day measles aren’t so devastating…unless your in your first trimester of pregnancy. Then they’re devastating to the unborn. The other measles we referred to as the “2-week measles.” I missed the latter part of kindergarten with those. And because the disease affected the eyes, one had to be kept in a dark room. Complications can occur with those and did back then. A school friend of mine nearly died from them.
            If a simple vaccination can prevent this, then pleeeeease….!!!
            My three sons had the MMR shots as babies. They aren’t autistic and never had the measles or the mumps. In fact the only childhood disease they had was chicken pox. At least my two older boys did. Their brother wasn’t born yet. He never had them but, at his mother’s noodging had the shot a couple of years ago.

            Liked by 1 person

            • There was a great piece in Chicago recently, about a guy in his 30s who ends up horribly sick and at the hospital. He called his parents to confirm that he’d been vaccinated, only to find out he never had been… yes, measles. He was in isolation and VERY sick for months!

              Liked by 1 person

  7. I hope you are recovering well. Poor Trina. She was abandoned in life and now exists in a cycle of despair. A well written sad story!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dear Dawn,

    I could go on and on and on about how I feel about this subject. I’m both saddened and angered, if not incredulous. It never occurred to me to not have my children vaccinated. So many lives endangered by ignorance. It seems we took a similar route this week…at least when it comes to vaccination. 😉 Well done.

    I hope this comment finds you on the mend.

    Shalom and Hag Samayach,


    Liked by 1 person

  9. ceayr says:

    A ghost with cold hands, all the better for haunting!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dale says:

    So much sadness…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Abhijit Ray says:

    Trina is stuck in the city abandoned due to measles epidemic!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. gahlearner says:

    The poor child. Such a sad story. I feel like Rochelle, the current ‘discussion’ makes me really mad. And I hope you are well.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Margaret says:

    I like how you structured this – the two viewpoints works well to reveal the full story. Poor Trina.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I hope you’re feeling better, Dawn. This is so sad. I remember when measles almost emptied classrooms. I had two different kinds before there was a vaccine. I never doubted getting my children immunized. It’s a shame what’s happening these days. People who haven’t lived through it just don’t understand. I hope they learn quickly. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 2 people

    • it’s really horrifying to me; so many people taking other people’s health for granted. I’m with you, Suzanne! And yes, I’m on the mend. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m so glad to hear you’re feeling better, Dawn. If you’re ever not well I understand you not being able to read the stories. Don’t worry. In the 1960s, I caught the mumps as an adult from a child in the class where I was doing my student teaching. It was no fun. If there was a vaccine I’d never heard about one. Take care. 🙂 — Suzanne

        Liked by 1 person

  15. michael1148humphris says:

    A great story which has led to interesting debate, I am old enough to remember fever hospitals, dreadful. Sadly today’s parents have no memories of such places and do not realise what great benifts vaccines have brought humanity.
    I am now thinking about writing something about fever hospitals

    Liked by 2 people


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