FFfAW: Seven PM

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Photo Prompt

Seven PM

Edmund stood on the shoreline. Waiting. It was something he was good at.

As a child he’d waited for his father, watching the ticking clock. At seven pm, daily, the man would hear the governess’ report, granting him a fragment of his time: a smile, a question, a word of praise… if the report was fair. On days when he’d displeased the woman, the attention would be far less pleasant: a reprimand, a strike of the cane, a reminder of their family name.

He glanced at the watch. Not much longer, now.

Over the years, his resentment had grown. The gift of a pocket-watch on his sixteenth birthday had epitomised every wasted moment. His anger had exploded at the sight of the timepiece. The heavy gift-box had become an instrument of death as he’d swung it at his father’s head. The chain had wrapped easily around his fleeing governess’ throat.

As the watch indicated seven pm, he placed it neatly onto the stones of the beach – a monument to a wasted life.

And he walked into the sea.

Word Count: 175

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This post is for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, a flash fiction challenge run by Priceless Joy that asks us to write a story of 100-175 words based on the provided photo prompt. This week’s picture was provided by me.

For anyone that’s interested, the watch in the picture is actually a necklace that belongs to my sister. It’s a lot smaller than it looks in the photo – less than two centimeters in diameter. She bought it in Whitby when we were on holiday there a few years ago. I couldn’t resist borrowing it for a few photographs when we were sitting on the beach later that day.

I hope you enjoyed the story. It’s rather darker than most I write so I’d love to know what people think of it. It was originally meant to be the background for a ghost story, but unfortunately I couldn’t fit the whole thing into the word limit. This one had to be chiselled out of a much larger piece. That does mean, of course, that I now have another 350 word story ready for inclusion in a flash fiction collection. Yay!

30 thoughts on “FFfAW: Seven PM

  1. What a great story, even though it is very different than you normally write! I can’t blame him for resenting his father and the governess but it is so sad that he “went off the deep end” at the end, killing his father and governess and then himself. Excellent story, Louise! I had to laugh when I found out this is actually a necklace and not a watch. It sure looks like a pocket watch!

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  2. Great story! That Edmund was one angry man. I think he would have been a bit “off” even without his rather strict upbringing.

    I thought it looked a little tiny to be a watch. And here was I thinking that Whitby was a made up place for ITV’s “Heartbeat” 🙂

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    • Thanks, Ali. He might have been, though his upbringing definitely didn’t help matters! Whitby is a lovely seaside town, though the main reason we visited was for the North York Moors Steam Railway that runs from there. One of the towns the trains stop at is Goathland, which is where they filmed Heartbeat. It’s still better known to many people as Aidensfield!

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    • Thanks, Antonia. I always write the story I want to tell first, regardless of word count, and then chop out any unnecessary words. It’s amazing how much you can actually fit in! Admittedly,there was a lot of story cut out this time that I would have liked to have left… I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

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    • I’m glad you liked it, Emilio. The longer story probably won’t be posted on my blog, though. I’m putting together a collection of flash fiction and short stories for on Amazon, and I’ll probably save for inclusion in that. I want several pieces in it that haven’t been read by anyone before. Thanks for visiting. 🙂

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  3. Wow poor guy. You feel for him because of his background. On the other hand, he’s made really poor decisions, because of his own choices and his background. Too bad he has no one to depend on and is about to waste the remainder of his life. Sad one Louise but well written 🙂

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  4. Wonderful story. Such a sad life for Edmund and the pain he must have felt that led him to the murder of the governess and his father, and then take it to the extreme by taking his own life.

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  5. some things just bring up the bad memories looking at it and we want to be rid of it and anything associated with it………..sad the way it ended but i think it was the best way for him….beautifully written and paced story….another good one Louise…Gina

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  6. Love it, Louise, though I always do love a darker tale 🙂 Rings true to me – it’s only after decades of small, slow hurts that some people finally snap. The violence often triggered by something seemingly innocuous. Great tale 🙂

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