FFfAW: Delicate Brushstrokes

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

Photo Prompt: © Graham Lawrence
Photo Prompt: © Graham Lawrence

Delicate Brushstrokes

“Elsie?” Frances’ tremulous voice broke through Elsie’s absorption. She turned to face her friend, blinking in the early afternoon light as she tore her gaze from her painting.

“Hmm?” she replied absently. Hadn’t it just been morning…? Her sluggish thoughts meandered as if she was emerging from the depths of sleep.

“This… I don’t remember painting this. Why did I paint this?”


“This!” Frances lifted her board. Rather than the other woman’s usual bold flowers two fairies danced upon the stretched paper, elegant forms captured in delicate brushstrokes. “And look.” She pointed at Elsie’s own picture.

Tiny winged figures peeked from behind vibrant blooms. Elsie stared in shock. She hadn’t painted fairies since she was a child! Whilst she’d always been able to lose herself for hours as she painted, this – this was different. She couldn’t remember a single moment of it.

As they packed away their paints and easels Elsie couldn’t resist peering into the flowerbeds, hoping to catch a glimpse of… something.

A hint of tinkling laughter carried on the breeze.

Word Count: 175

I’m curious as to whether anyone has worked out the reason for the name choices this week… If you haven’t, follow this link!

I apologise to anyone whose posts I didn’t manage to get around to last week. I discovered a new author – Lindsay Buroker, who writes some great fantasy novels set in a steampunk world – and found it rather hard to stop reading! A week later and I’m  on book 6 of the series with several more still to read. Despite the urge to abandon my blog in order to bury my nose in a book, I will try to visit everyone this week.



55 Comments on “FFfAW: Delicate Brushstrokes

  1. Are you kidding, PJ? The faeries had everything to do with the paintings! A fun read this week Louise. Can you tell us anything more about the novels you’re so caught up in? I could use a good fantasy lately. I’ve been reading a book about the Holocaust and a second one about United States history- the stuff not found in textbooks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it, Emilio. 🙂 That sounds like some rather heavy reading you’ve been doing lately! The series I’m reading, which is much lighter, is called ‘The Emperor’s Edge’ by Lindsay Buroker (that’s also the title of the first book). They’re otherworld, high fantasy set in a world in the midst of an industrial revolution, creating a very steampunk feel. The lead character is a female law enforcer who gets caught up in imperial scheming when she’s asked to hunt down an assassin. I’m not usually a fan of female leads as they’re so often over the top (Mary-Sues) but she’s a really well crafted character. I’ve found the books to be real page-turners.


      • I went on Amazon and the first book is offered for free as an ebook. I’ll give it a try!

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s why I bought it! It was a suggested read with some of the other books I’d purchased. 🙂 I hope you enjoy it.


    • Thanks, Maria. I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂 From what I’ve read, many of the recent fairy sightings have described them as being quite nasty little things (which is also how most of the old folklore describes them). I’m not sure I’d really want an encounter with them!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well I hope I’d be spared from the nasty little ones if ever I get to see them. A playful but kind fairy would be a better choice. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. i believed in fairies as a child and in some ways I still do (only they’re called angels now). I wonder if your main character is named for the Pope visiting the U.S. this week? Just a guess. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not the Pope, no. Frances and Elsie were the names of the two girls who photographed the Cottingley fairies. 🙂 Thanks for visiting.


  3. I thinker the winged little tinker and the other little mischiefs are only sent to worry harmless artists at work. A great response Louise 🙂


  4. Very cute! It is interesting how the fairies still have an effect on her life all these years later. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Mandi. 🙂 I’m glad you like it. The original Elsie and Frances died in the eighties – although these two may be them reborn! Maybe the fairies remember their their old friends.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Those are some very tricksy fairies you have in that garden — I love hearing about their antics! But hm, do they realize that their images are caught in the paintings, or do they think they’ve snuck off scot-free once again?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Before I read your comment above which answered the question, I had a niggling thought that this was a reference to the famous Cottingley Fairies. I enjoyed this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it, Francesca. I’ve always been fascinated by the story of the Cottingley Fairies and couldn’t resist the reference. 🙂


  7. Hahaha, I love this . I can already envision the fairies giggling in a corner at the shock on Elsie and Francie’s joke. 😀


  8. Oh I loved this one, Louise! I’d like a spell of fairy dust myself some days. Great dialogue and sense of the two characters. You evoked so much in these few words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Ellespeth. 🙂 I’m particularly glad you like the dialogue – it’s the area of writing that I’ve always felt less confident with.


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