FFfAW: Flutterby

This post is for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) Challenge, run by Priceless Joy. This week’s photo prompt was provided by TJ Paris. Thank you TJ!  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: © T.J. Paris

Photo Prompt: © TJ Paris

Flutterby

Sometimes she forgot that the world kept turning. Her own life had frozen in a single moment of despair. Annabelle gazed out over the bare field, a veil of tears obscuring her view as memories taunted her mind. It seemed only yesterday the place had brimmed with life: brightly coloured wildflowers swarming with insects; long grasses swaying in the breeze. Now the meadow was as empty as her existence.

Only a lone butterfly drifted along the hedgerow.

Nova had always loved to run among the flowers, the tattered wings of her fairy costume trailing behind her as she chased butterflies from blossom to blossom. Her joyous laughter had filled the air. “Mummy look! I’m a flutterby!” she’d called.

Annabelle choked back a sob, trembling fingers swiping away tears. Dark bruises had marred pale flesh. How could she not have known? It was a mother’s job to protect her child – how could she have failed so abysmally?

The butterfly landed on her hand, tattered wings aglow in golden light. “Mummy look! I’m a flutterby!” she heard.

Word Count: 175


I’ve always loved the symbolism of butterflies. Mostly this relates to themes of transformation and movement from one phase of life to the next. They’re also said to symbolise joy and the soul, among a number of other things. This story, however, was mainly inspired by a line on this website that states that in some parts of England the folklore has it that butterflies contain the souls of dead children brought back to life.

The story was also inspired by one of my favourite places to sit and write – the wildflower meadow in the village. This picture was taken in August:

August 5 edited

and this was taken two days ago, on the same walk as yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday picture:sunbeam over meadow edited

It gives a rather different view!


In case anyone didn’t see the note on this week’s MFtS, I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo this year so my blogging will be slowing down over the next few weeks and during November will reduce to only the occasional photography post and writing update. I’ll be working on the first draft of a fantasy novel called ‘Age of the Dragonlords’, an idea that’s been sat in a file on my computer for several years now and really needs writing! If I don’t manage to get to your blog over the next few days, I’m not ignoring you – I’m just distracted by planning out my characters’ exploits. 🙂

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46 thoughts on “FFfAW: Flutterby

  1. I loved the story Louise! “Mommy, I’m a flutterby.” I felt sorry for the mother feeling like she had failed her child upon seeing the ragged edges of her wings. It is a great piece of writing. It certainly engaged me completely! The wildflower picture is really beautiful! I will understand next month that you are very busy and I wish you the best of luck with NaNoWriMo!

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  2. I found your story heart breaking. That poor mother, the flutterbye thing was just so cute, I think that would be a hard memory to forget. Thanks also for the additional info it helped a lot with visualizing it. Great job!

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  3. Mmm, I don’t know how or when she’ll come to forgive herself, but I hope she does. You kept my attention throughout the piece. This subject beats on my heart (especially with the repeated line of “Mummy, look! I’m a flutterby” :’-( ). I had to reread it to take in every word, punctuation, and space. It’s simultaneously too much but not enough, and I love it! Thank you for writing and sharing this with us, even though you broke our hearts ❤

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  4. Oh, I love that bit of folklore and how you used it! Heart-breaking stuff, Louise!

    I’m participating in NaNoWriMo, too. I’m rebelling this year because I have to finish my Scarlett rewrite…

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    • Thank you! I’m glad you liked it. I’ve always been fascinated by symbolism and include elements of it whenever I can. 🙂 Unfortunately the child did meet a tragic end, though I’ll leave the details of that to your imagination.
      The wildflower meadow is a beautiful place that is a new addition to the village. It used to be a farmer’s field but was given to the village just last year to be turned into an area for wildlife. There are benches all around the edge of it and paths through the middle. Just behind it is a little wooded area with a stream running through. It’s my favourite place to go. 🙂

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    • I’m glad you liked it, Norma. I was going to post pictures of the wildflower meadow for the ‘happy place’ weekly photo challenge a few weeks ago but never found the time to put it all together. I was determined to use at least one of the pictures in a post! Thanks for visiting. 🙂

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      • I know sometimes we just have the right picture to share but no time…but then there will be other times. Just keep clicking and enjoying. 🙂

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    • I’ve always felt that emotion is one of the most important things in a story. I remember reading a novel many years ago (I was probably in my early teens) and crying my eyes out when the character’s mother died. I didn’t even like the mother but it had been so well written that I couldn’t help but feel the emotions of the main character. I decided then and there that I wanted to be the sort of author who could create that effect! I’m glad you enjoyed the story, Jessie. 🙂

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      • Speaking of that…I use to wonder how a person could read a book and …cry. One day I found out. I read that certain book that had an unbelieveable hold on my emotions and I sat there crying and feeling foolish along with being happy that I was alone at the time. 🙂

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    • I’m glad you liked it, Aletta. 🙂 And I’ve had a great weekend, thanks – though I spent Saturday (my actual birthday) with a hangover after the night out with my brothers and sister on Friday. They all drink far more regularly than me yet expect me to keep up with them!

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  5. Very sad. Interesting correlation between the daughter’s name, Nova, and that the butterfly’s wings glowing on her hand just before hearing her daughter’s words. Best of luck with your writing next month!!

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