The Message ~ @pursoot #IARTG #WritingCommunity #WritingPrompts #FlashFiction

Hey everyone. I haven’t participated in Soooz Burke’s weekly flash fiction challenge in a while. Today, the muse cooperated. If you don’t know about this delightful event click here to visit Soooz and learn more about it.

This week’s challenge was based on this photo promt:

My story today relates to an upcoming release, House of Sorrow, planned for late December. I don’t often write in first person, but couldn’t see writing this flash fiction piece otherwise.


The weather is cold and blustery today. Rather fitting, considering I’ve spent the last two hours reminiscing about life in Madeira. I remembered the good times and anguished over the bad ones. Especially one cold, dark February night.

I watch as my neighbor Abbey walks to her car. She’s a nice young woman—always friendly and seems to show genuine concern for my well-being. But I’ve shut her out, like everyone else in my life. It’s easier to let people believe I’m still mourning my husband’s death, even though it’s been almost thirty-seven years.

People call me eccentric. Reclusive. The woman in black. You see, I always wear dark colors. That’s okay. Let them think what they want. Most would think I’m crazy if I told them the truth of why I chose to stay in this house and isolate myself from the rest of the world.

Oh, I had a choice. There wasn’t any reason I couldn’t have remained here and stayed an active member of the community. But over the months and years following Lee’s death, I retreated into my own little world. And because of that, I’m convinced I saved other wives from a life of sorrow.

But I will not live forever. I’m eighty-two years old. My health is failing. I moved into a downstairs room a few months ago because I can no longer navigate the stairs. If only I could climb them today. My journal is still in my old bedroom.

I used to write in it often. If anyone reads it after I’m gone, they’ll find a bit of history because I didn’t limit my scribbling to personal feelings. I wrote about the times—Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, the first moon landing, things like Woodstock, the Manson murders, and the Vietnam war.

And even though times were troubled during the late 1960s, what I wouldn’t give to go back. To live that era again. To make different choices. If I had, Lee might be alive today. Or at least, his life wouldn’t have been cut short.

I need the journal. The urge to record one last entry is strong. I don’t feel I can wait any longer. But I can’t risk falling. If I was injured, Tim would remove me from this house and place me in a nursing home. No, I need to stay here as long as possible.

Write it down, Ruth.

How can I without the journal? I supposed I could wait until the housekeeper comes tomorrow.

Don’t wait. Do it today.

The sense of urgency is overwhelming. To write the things I wanted to say but never did. There’s a message I need to convey. Something I should have already done. I won’t wait. But without the journal, I’ll have to find another way.


I hope you enjoyed my contribution. Be sure to check in the following weeks to learn more about Ruth, see the book cover reveal, and the release date for House of Sorrow.

36 comments

  1. This is such a great take on the prompt, Joan. It’s great to see you taking part again. I now need to know what Ruth wants so desperately to say. Can’t wait for House of Sorrow. I am about to share this on my site. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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