19 April 2013

Published April 17, 2013 by rochellewisoff


As always, writers are encouraged to be as innovative as possible with the prompt and 100 word constraints. 

Henry David Thoreau said it best.

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”



Write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and end. (No one will be ostracized for going over or under the word count.)


Make every word count.


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Wasp nest

Copyright-Janet Webb

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100


When little more than a babe, I happened upon a nest of hornets in the churchyard. After a sennight of swelling, fever and Mother’s prayers, I was recovered.  

 “This child’s destiny from Almighty God is fraught with purpose,” cried Elder Martin. 

As I grew to womanhood, nothing more was said of my destiny. 

A fortnight ago I strolled with Elizabeth Martin and tripped upon another hornet’s nest. She perished from their relentless stings. Only a tiny welt arose upon my hand. 

Red-hot flames sear my ankles. I scream and plead for mercy whilst Elder Martin shouts.

“Witch! Behold thy destiny!”


 *Sennight-Old English word for a space of seven nights and days. 


131 comments on “19 April 2013

  • Ah! How ironic that the miraculous recovery leads to her being accused of being a witch. It’s strange (and sad) that some people who look for supernatural power see everything as evil. By the way, I like your use of sennight and fortnight. They’re due for a revival of usage. 🙂


  • A heart-warming story. Well, foot-warming. It was filled with visual detail, which I enjoy. Also, I like your shift in verb tense to distinguish past events from the wicked burning at the stake. Well done.


  • Can anyone say immunity? First she was declared to have destiny and then when convenient and the wind blew different she changed to being accused. Sounds political to me! A nice story Rochelle!


  • Everyone is sure witty and perceptive this morning. I believe it’s a wasps nest. We have had enough in our patio and backyard to recognize one. Their sting is very painful. Just one will have you in sheer agony so you portray the facts well. Too bad the elder of the two Martins didn’t receive the stings


  • Just to lay at rest any speculation, it is a wasps’ nest and nasty stings they have, too! Fortunately, I found this one empty. 🙂

    Rochelle, your historical fiction always shines and this shines a light on a period of history that was a terrible time in so many places. I love the subtlety of having her friend’s father be the one to denounce her and I’m sure that in addition to his belief in witches, his hatred was fueled by the fact that his daughter died and she did not.



  • this is a great tale of people fearing and condemning what they do not understand. it both saddens and angers me that many innocent lives were taken because of people’s ignorance… and “Elders” like that Martin always makes my blood boil. so brilliantly told .. 🙂


  • So Creative, Rochelle! You’ve set this up very nicely indeed and then walloped us with that ending. And even with so few words, you’ve managed to capture the horrific emotions involved — on both sides — and make them very real. Excellent writing!


  • Glad you wrote about the hornet’s nest because I first thought sea sponge too. But then I clearly knew it was a hornet’s nest after seeing it in your story. My brain can’t reach back that far into history but your story was great!


  • Great take on the prompt Rochelle, and informative too. I recognised the photo; a wasp nested behind the glass of the wing mirror on my car. I carried him/her and the family across Europe and back before I sold the car with residential rights intact. 😉


  • A great story on a great prompt Rochelle 🙂 If i remember correctly I have read one another story by you on historical fiction. You inspire me to try my hand on it as well one of these days ! 🙂


    • Dear Shreyank,
      I think if you go back and read some of my earlier stories you might find more historical fiction. It’s my favorite genre. It’s a wonderful way to learn about the past. Thank you for your comments.


  • An imaginative take on the wasp’s nest photo. I think you captured the Salem time period with your language and mood. I admit, I had to look up “sennight” before I discovered that you had graciously added a definition of it. Good story!


  • Now you’ve got me wondering if I ever realised it was called a fortnight because it’s fourteen days…
    A great telling of a tragic story, even if I did need the comments to point our the subtle details to me. Sadly there are still ‘Elder Martin’s about, and unfortunately we seem not to have learnt not to let them get to a position of power.


  • If I wasn’t Native American I believe me and my ancestors would have been accused of witchcraft. Really good story and I love that you used the words that made the story come to life in those times (sennight).


    • Dear Jackie,
      No doubt…instead (not my ancestors) the white men just drove your ancestors off their land and murdered their babies. Are you 100%? Just interested.
      In any case, I’m happy you liked my story.


  • I like the new word and the unexpected twist. I think Elder Martin was fulfilling his own destiny instead of the other way around.

    With all the warnings not to open the door…well I wasn’t going to anyway, but it is nice to be looked out for. Too bad that the misinterpretation of healing caused undo ‘justice’.


    • Dear Jules,
      Afraid there was a lot of ignorance at that time. I’d think a true Christian would’ve seen her not reacting to the hornet stings as divine intervention. But then the fact that the elder’s daughter died from the stings didn’t help matters.
      Thanks for your kind comments.


  • Dear Rochelle
    Strong story.
    It reminds me of the tales of what happened to the Lancashire witches in the 1600’s.
    I was born in the county and so read lots of stories. There used to be a shop in a village near Pendle Hill that did a roaring trade at Hallowe’en selling witches on broomsticks, all made out of twigs, people used to buy them and then burn them during the evening celebrations.
    (You can read more about the Pendle Witches here http://www.pendlewitches.co.uk/ )


    • Dear Dee,
      Thank you so much for sharing the link. Of course the Salem witch trials were the same ilk of people so it’s not surprising these things happened on both sides of the pond. Fascinatingly grisly history.


  • Hi Rochelle
    A brilliant tale – I love ‘sennight’ – it’s logical too as we still have fortnight from fourteen nights. And we still have plenty of ignorance in this world, though it no longer leads to being burnt at the stake.


  • This takes me back to school, when we studied The Crucible. This is a powerful story, very realistic characterisation and motivations, and the use of the old language is beautiful.


    • Dear Neen,
      Thank you so much. I started a year ago when Madison Woods, the founder of FF, was still at the helm. I was hooked from the first. It’s amazing what this exercise in brevity has done for all my writing.


  • Like every other week you educate me not just of some history but also a new word – sennight!
    I am sitting out this week.. Wasn’t up to the challenge of the prompt, but am very much around and about 🙂


  • Terrifying! And more than likely, anyone who had doubts about Elder Martin’s decisions was afraid to say so in public for fear of his revenge. You give us descriptions that are horrific in themselves – flames licking the narrator’s ankles – and that force us to picture the worse horrors to come. Very effective.


    • Dear Linda,
      Again, welcome to Friday Fictioneers. I, too. am glad we don’t have to worry about being burned at the stake. On the other hand there are plenty of other worries. Thank you for your kind words.


  • Wow, that puts me in mind of the Salem witch trials. I loved the way the Pastor was there at the beginning of her life and at the end. I guess if she burned to death she was innocent? Great story Rochelle.


  • Dear Rochelle,

    Your stories consistently challenge the mind and take us to places we might not otherwise visit. That’s the mark of an author to be read and reckoned with. I’m thinking that when you were young you were stung by several good storytellers in various forms and, fortunately for us, never recovered. There is no way to build immunity and no cure. The only balm to those wounds is to become an author yourself and fill bookshelves round the world with your writing. You’ve stung me more than once this past year and this story, like all the others, left a beauty of a welt.




  • Cool and so spooky. I was watching a historical drama about the time when King Henry VIII ruled England. All the people who died for their beliefs is staggering. Then I also think of the Salem Witch Trials. I think we sometimes forget just how important laws protecting freedom of religion are.


  • How well you captured one of the darkest aspects of human nature. Witch-hunting may not today involve flames (still does, in some places, though!) but it’s still as deadly. Black humour at its best for me. Ann


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