FFfAW: Silent Companion

This post is for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) Challenge, run by Priceless Joy. This week’s photo prompt is from Pixabay. 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 - from Pixabay

Photo prompt from Pixabay

Silent Companion

“You see, Eric,” Martha explained, placing a new slide under the microscope, “phytopathogenic fungi are parasitic, secreting enzymes to break down the tissues of their host upon which they then feed.”

Eric didn’t respond. He never did, letting her ramble freely. That’s why she liked having him there. She could talk as much as she wished without fear of belittlement or abuse. He couldn’t silence her.

After all, he was merely a collection of bones now, strung together with wire. His voice had bled out with a knife slashed throat on a fear filled night eight years earlier. She’d buried his body deep in the garden and left it to decompose for over a year until loneliness had driven her to gather his bones.

In death he could be the partner he’d never been in life.

“An endophytic fungus, however, supports the plant with which symbiosis is developed, extending hyphae through the intercellular spaces to strengthen it against herbivorous attention, environmental stresses and the like. They’re the best type, don’t you think?”

Eric didn’t respond.

Word Count: 175


I hope the ‘science-speak’ didn’t put anyone off! I also hope it’s accurate – I am by no means an expert. 😀 In case anyone’s curious, this is the type of thing Martha might have been looking at under her microscope – the hyphae (the squiggly dark lines) of an endophytic fungi extending through the spaces between the cells of a long-leafed plant.

Neotyphodium coenophialum

By Nick Hill [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Blue-stained serpentine Neotyphodium coenophialum mycelia inhabiting the intercellular spaces of tall fescue leaf sheath tissue. Magnified 400x.

 If you’d like to know more about fungi for any reason you can check out these sites that I used as reference:
Wikipedia
WiseGeek
The Free Dictionary

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36 thoughts on “FFfAW: Silent Companion

    • I always find the different interpretations people have quite fascinating. 🙂 I think maybe I was a little too subtle with a few of the hints in this one. Everyone seems to be reading it differently! I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hahaha! She found the perfect way to ensure his companionship with his “undivided attention” without him interrupting her. LOL! Great story Louise – very creative! Also, the scientific “speak” is very interesting but way over my head! The slide is pretty and interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Creepy. The science misleads you. You think she is this nice lab tech and then you learn she killed her old boyfriend and buried his body. Then, she dug up his bones and has them on display in her lab — that is pretty psychopathish. Great job writing it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • She’ll definitely have a very peaceful life with him as her companion (at least until somebody starts asking questions about Eric’s whereabouts…) but at least she won’t be lonely. 🙂 I’m glad you liked it, Michael.

      Like

  3. “In death he could be the partner he’d never been in life.”
    This is brilliant. The whole thing is brilliant. The science speak is perfect, well I can’t attest to the accuracy of it, but her speaking like that to the bones and the juxtaposition of the different fungi to their relationship – it’s all just brilliant. Brava.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much! I’m very glad you liked it – especially the science speak. I wasn’t sure that anyone would understand it – either the words or the symbolic nature of the fungi relationships! It’s reassuring to know somebody caught it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That was brilliant! I started to laugh out loud when I realized who Eric was and then my laugh was abruptly halted as soon as I read his throat was slashed…What a marvelous story!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How do you fit so many emotional jerks into such a short space?! Love it, I went from amusement to sympathy (wait, she knew the guy?) to horror (wait, she *killed* the guy??) to sympathetic horror (wait, was he abusive?) to confused horror (okay, I don’t know what happened, but that is MESSED UP). Love it!

    Like

    • Thanks for the visit, Werrf. 🙂 I like to try and stuff as much into my flashes as I can – so much so that many of the nuances go over the heads of readers if I’m not careful. Sometimes I can be a little too subtle! I’m happy that you caught that he was abusive. Many people seem to have missed that one. I’m really glad you enjoyed the story.

      Like

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