FFfAW: Out of the Ashes

This post is for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) Challenge, run by Priceless Joy. This week’s photo prompt was provided by PJ herself. Thank you PJ!  The challenge is that you write a story of 75-175 words inspired by the photo prompt below. I hope you like it.

Photo Prompt: © Priceless Joy
Photo Prompt: © Priceless Joy

Out of the Ashes

Sylvana emerged hesitantly from the treeline, her shaking hands clenched into fists as she stared at the smouldering ruins. It was gone. Tears coursed down her cheeks in endless rivulets. Everything was gone: cottage, livestock, all of their winter stores. And Layton… Layton was…

She was alone again.

The raiders had struck their home while she foraged in the woodland, her skirts cradling the berries that soon lay scattered. She’d heard their shouts, heard a scream that tore at her heart, and she’d hidden among the trees as only someone forest-born could. Time stretched interminably as she huddled, her eyes squeezed closed and hands covering her mouth to silence sobs. Acrid smoke filled the air as the homestead burned. Coarse voices and stomping boots passed nearby and she shivered at hearing their plans for her.

It was almost dark before fear released its grip enough for her to leave the forest’s shelter. Her dream – her happy life – was in ashes.

Scuffing footsteps made her spin, her heart racing as a voice said, “Sylvie?”

Word Count: 173

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42 Comments on “FFfAW: Out of the Ashes

  1. I sure hope that was Layton! Great story Louise! It kept me riveted! I really enjoyed reading it. Thank you for participating in the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers Challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So do I. 🙂 I was tempted to leave it with there just being someone behind her but decided that someone saying her name would be a more hopeful ending. I’m glad you enjoyed it, PJ. I liked your prompt. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s funny (well, not really funny) that when you mention “stomping boots”, I automatically think of Nazis. But with names like Layton and Sylvana, I think more of a futuristic dystopian society. It doesn’t really matter which one it might be. Either is frightening. But your writing is great! You have such an ease in telling a story and capturing my attention.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m happy for you to picture it set in any time you want but I was thinking either historical or fantasy as I wrote it. I quite like the thought of it being a futuristic dystopia, actually… I’m very glad you enjoyed it. 🙂 Thanks for visiting!

      Like

    • I’m glad you like it. 🙂 If it is Layton hopefully they’ll be able to make a fresh start together. Thanks for visiting.

      Like

  3. You really made the story come alive. I could feel her fear and despair. I too hope it was Layton and out of the ashes they build something beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a feeling Layton isn’t… 😉
    Amazing descriptions in this story. Your words took me to a historic scenery.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Ameena. I think you could be right. 🙂 It was a historic or fantasy setting that I’d intended but I decided not to include a specific genre so people could read it as they wished. I’m glad you liked it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great riveting story. I hope that was Layton too calling her name. It’s very sad that her happy little life could be destroyed so brutally.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Michael. I’m glad you like it. 🙂 I’ve actually written quite a few stories now, including this one, that all fit in with something bigger that may someday be completed!

      Like

  6. Very vivid and gripping description of both the scene and the emotions. I gasped out loud at the last line — oh my!

    Liked by 1 person

    • And I think it must be Layton, or at least someone friendly, because he used a nickname — plus we haven’t heard about anyone else, so it’s unlikely to be some random neighbor. Anyway, that’s what I have *my* heart set on. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • You could be right. 🙂 I nearly left it more open, with just a voice speaking from behind her, but thought the use of the nickname would add a nicely hopeful note. Thanks for your insightful comment. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. It is Layton? I hope it is else she’ll be so lonely and devastated. Love your story, can’t stop reading till I reach the end. 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    • It might be Layton. On the other hand, there might be someone else nearby who knows her well enough to call her by a nickname… I’m really glad you enjoyed the read. Thanks for visiting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I am working on a novel but it’s slow going – mainly because I spend so much time on the blog! I’m glad you enjoyed the read. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I liked the hopeful ending. You had a dramatic build-up until the end. It could be a wonderful short story as you’ve left us pondering what is coming next. Well done … good story.
    Isadora 😎

    Like

  9. I really like your story. I thought it more historical fiction, myself. I’m glad it had a more hopeful ending. 🙂

    Like

  10. Great piece! At least someone was calling her name – a nickname too. I hope she knows the person.
    Ellespeth

    Like

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Colette O'Neill... Environmentalist, Author, Publisher, Photographer. Creator of Goddess Permaculture.

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