FFfAW: The Red Boat

This post is for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) Challenge, run by Priceless Joy. This week’s photo prompt was provided by me! 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: © 2015 The Storyteller's Abode
Photo Prompt: © 2015 The Storyteller’s Abode

The Red Boat

The storm appeared without warning. Wind and rain whipped the tranquil lake whilst clouds darkened afternoon into early dusk. Tom watched from the restaurant, his aged eyes casting a faded patina over the once familiar view. Gnarled fingers trembled against the warm ceramic of his teacup.

“Did you see that?” A woman pointed to the water.

A scarlet flash caught his gaze. The noise of the restaurant faded as memory beguiled him.

The red boat had been their pride and joy: a ramshackle vessel revived through youthful enthusiasm. “We’ll have adventures,” twelve year-old Robbie had announced. Nine year-old Tommy followed in his wake.

Their joyful summer ended with the storm…

He remembered clinging to the mast, the boat tossing wildly. He remembered churning fear as water closed over his head. He’d been pulled to safety. Robbie had not.

“There’s a boat out there!” the woman was saying.

Tom closed his eyes. His brother’s voice rang in his ears, clearer than it had been in decades. “Come on, Tommy, we’ll have adventures!”

He followed in his brother’s wake.

Word Count: 175

You’d think that with the photo prompt having come from me this week I’d have found the story easier to write. I’d hoped to have this posted yesterday. That obviously didn’t happen!

In case anyone is curious, the photograph was taken on a boat on Lake Windermere in the Lake District, UK.



35 thoughts on “FFfAW: The Red Boat

  1. Oh, how sad. He passed away remembering his brother and the adventures they were going to have together. Very heart wrenching. Excellent story Louise! Very nice word smithing and keeping the reader completely attentive. Thank you so much for the beautiful photo prompt and for participating in FFfAW challenge!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m happy you got that he died at the end. I was worried that I hadn’t made it clear -I had to cut out nearly 90 words to fit the word limit! I’m very glad that you liked both the story and the prompt. I’ll have to start looking through my photo archives to see what else I can find to send you… 🙂 Thanks for visiting.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes, I felt like it was very clear that he died at the end. Great story and prompt! Yes, find more photos but find some that are colorful. I have been going through pixabay to find colorful prompt photos. The prompt photos I have are all somewhat dull so I was going to mix them with colorful photos from pixabay.

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    1. He’s a very old man by this time. He’s lived a good, long life and is ready to see what comes next. 🙂 I’m glad you like the picture. It was taken a year or so ago on holiday in the Lake District. We had a boat trip across Lake Windermere and I took the opportunity to snap some photographs. My family have been known to complain that I spend most of the holiday looking through a camera!

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      1. That’s a very recent development! But my mum doesn’t usually complain – she just gives a look! The main complainant has generally been my sister. 🙂

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  2. Excellent story. Although very sad. I think I have read about three stories where one brother died. Our siblings are our first friends, and we live them even we don’t like them, so I think that can make them the hardest loss of all.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. One of the first other ones I read after I posted this had a brother die in a boating accident! I know I would hate to lose any of my siblings, no matter how much we all fall out. I’m glad you enjoyed the story. Thanks for visiting. 🙂

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  3. Very nicely crafted. This line really stood out for me”his aged eyes casting a faded patina over the once familiar view.” I just love that. I also love that he is drinking tea and not coffee! But he is probably in the UK, as a tea drinker (read: non-coffee drinker) in America I am a bit of a rare bird.


    1. That line was nearly cut from the story several times when I was editing down to the word limit. I was determined to keep it if I possibly could! I’m very glad you liked it. 🙂 As for tea – people who don’t drink it in England are the oddity, though coffee is very popular nowadays as well. I think Tom in the story is quite an old fashioned fellow… I can’t really picture him sitting with a cup of coffee. Thanks for visiting.

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  4. My problem has always been that I read a lot but don’t really slow down to get the nuances. So I did miss that he died at the end. And now, after reading the comments it seems so clear! Still, I enjoyed the story and loved the words you used; whilst, gnarled, patina, beguiled. I loved this.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can sometimes be a little too subtle with my nuances – especially when I’m working to a word limit. I’ve written a few stories now with elements that have been completely missed by readers! I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Graham. 🙂 I actually really struggled with the writing of this one – I just couldn’t get it right! I’m glad you liked the finished version.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. At least he had a long life. On the other hand, I bet it was hard to go one without his brother… I like the sighting of the boat, which, in context, made me think of Hades crossing the Styx. Lovely writing, Louise!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Sonya. 🙂 I think he probably felt the loss of his brother throughout his long life. I’m glad you like the sighting of the boat – there was definitely something slightly supernatural going on!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have been following many blogs and reading a lot of stories here. What makes your stories different is the use of varied kind of words as you have used in this story.
        Though it sound odd but I would love to know about any trick in remembering them 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m afraid I don’t really have any tricks I can share, other than possibly writing down and looking up the meaning of any word you don’t already know. I’ve always had a large vocabulary. My parents never believed in using baby language just because we were young – if we didn’t understand a word, they explained it to us. I’ve also always read a lot so I’ve picked up a lot that way. I always used to keep a dictionary near at hand when I was younger!

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