This post if for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) Challenge, run by Priceless Joy. This week’s picture was provided by Ellespeth’s friend. The challenge is that you write a story of 75-175 words inspired by the photo prompt below. Here’s my entry. I hope you like it.
Hanif wasn’t prepared for the deluge of memories as he lifted the tattered photograph from the box. The faces staring out were so eager and young, untainted by the world’s miseries. They’d thought they were prepared for anything. They couldn’t have been more wrong.
Everything had changed after that trip.
“What have you found?”
He shook his head and slipped the picture back into the box as Safiyah sat beside him. “Just a photograph,” he told her. “From a school trip. Nothing important.”
“Really?” He didn’t realise his hands were shaking until hers settled gently over them. “You don’t have to hide things from me, Hani – but I won’t push.”
The whole group had been close, inseparable since their first days of school. It had always been them against the world.
Until Jamal disappeared.
He’d spent the last twenty years trying to forget about the events of those days: the arguments, anger and accusations. The guilt. He wouldn’t tell her anything. How could he?
She’d hate him if she knew he’d killed his best friend.
Word Count: 175
I’d like to think that Hanif didn’t kill Jamal on purpose. I hadn’t planned for him to have done it at all – that final line kind of wrote itself! His name was actually chosen because it means ‘true’ and’upright’ in Arabic and that’s the type of person I intended him to be – a good man haunted by the events of his past. Maybe it could even be that he blames himself when the guilt is not actually his to bear…