FFfAW: The Photograph

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.

Photo prompt - © Ellespeth's Friend
Photo prompt – © Ellespeth’s Friend

The Photograph

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…

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48 thoughts on “FFfAW: The Photograph

  1. I enjoyed the story especially the last line. It made me go back and re-read it two more times, each with different reactions. I just love stories like these so much! Well done!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Wonderful story. I was thinking perhaps he may have been an indirect cause of it. Maybe he felt guilty because it was his friend and not himsel that died. Lots of possibilities here.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! That’s how I see it as well. I’m thinking I may have to write a continuation of this one some time… I’m glad you liked it. 🙂

      Like

    1. I like to think it wasn’t on purpose – an accident of some sort, maybe, that the boys covered up because they felt they’d get in trouble. Thanks for visiting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent story Louise! I am with you, I don’t think he actually killed him, I think he may have done something that caused his friend to die and that it wasn’t anything done on purpose. For example, driving the car that wrecks and kills the passenger. But I can tell he certainly feels the guilt of it! Wonderful story!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. From this line “He didn’t realise his hands were shaking until hers settled gently over them” to the last line, you had me fully hooked into the story. It’s a knockout! You cut me deep with it (plot- and character-wise). I’d be surprised if I don’t remember this story sixty-eight years from now.

    ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! I’m particularly glad you liked the characters. I spent all afternoon trying to write Jamal’s story and couldn’t even get past 40 words. The minute I added Hanif and Safiyah the story practically wrote itself. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My first reaction was, “Whoa!” I was deeply involved in this story; expecting a war remembrance, or suicidal bombing; even old friends dispersed to other lands, etc. Caught off guard at the ending…my gosh! I want to know more. Nice done. Another story that leaves me wanting a continuation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. 🙂 The ending caught me by surprise , as well. I’d intended for Jamal to have been abducted. Hanif announcing he’d killed him was not in my plans!
      I won’t say that a continuation of this isn’t going to happen but it depends on how inspiration takes me. My list of stories to continue is getting rather long! I’m currently trying to decide where to take a certain sci-fi story before I get nudged again 🙂 and Between Levels from Tuesday is screaming at me for attention.
      Thanks for visiting.

      Like

    1. Thank you very much! I’m really flattered you think so. 😀 Especially considering I nearly abandoned this prompt. At 10.00 last night I’d written only 38 words and had no idea where to go with it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This definitely caught me on the line. Very well written and the pace is great too. Maybe his friend’s death was accidental, or he is experiencing delayed guilt?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Within 100 words you tell a powerful story. I think may have dared Jamal to do something as boys will do. Whatever the dare, as a result his friend died. This is the guilt he carries? Just a thought. Great last line!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Louise! You probably know by now that I like to pop by and show my appreciation to you for your continued participation in the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. I look forward to reading your stories each week and I know the others do too. Thank you so much for your continued friendship and loyalty!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, PJ. I enjoy taking part with the challenge and hope to keep on doing so. I’ve been thinking of sending you a few photos as well, if you’re interested…?

      Liked by 1 person

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