4 October2013

Published October 2, 2013 by rochellewisoff


Madison got married

This is NOT the prompt! This is Friday Fictioneers creator Madison Woods on her wedding day, Sunday, September 22. A hearty congratulations to the happy couple. 


Now back to our regularly scheduled program. 😉

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 a few words over the count.)


Make every word count.


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Copyright - E.A. Wicklund

Copyright – E.A. Wicklund

get the InLinkz code

Genre: Literary Fiction

Word Count: 99


“You’ll see, dear, in the end you’re all better off without me. I can’t…” Marie stopped typing and swallowed four sleeping pills.

 “Mommy, whatcha writing?” Her seven-year-old son climbed onto her lap. “Can I read it?”

“No!” She minimized the document screen. “Go back to bed.”

“Uh-uh. I’m scared. I dreamed they put you in a big box and buried it. Daddy cried.”

“It was just a bad dream.”


“I can’t—”

“…you won’t die.”

“You pathetic fool,” whispered the voices. “Just do it!”

“I can’t.” She swept the bottle beside the keyboard into the wastebasket. “I promise.”


107 comments on “4 October2013

  • This would have been a much harder story to stomach had she swallowed the entire bottle before the kid showed up. Perhaps now she’ll take a good hard look at her life and get things in order.


    • Dear Adam,

      Indeed, it would’ve been a different story if she’d already swallowed the entire bottle. One day Marie will reflect on this dark time and take joy in her life. Perhaps as she’s sitting at her son’s college graduation. 😉

      Thanks for commenting.




  • A fortuitous intervention, although I would think that she would have the sense to do this while no one was around! However, there wouldn’t have been the same touching story then. 🙂 As for the next step/s, I agree with Adam. Hopefully she’ll get some help and move on.



    • Dear Janet,

      Actually she did choose a time when no one else was around. Everyone had gone to bed. But perhaps subconsciously she wanted to be found out before it was too late. I believe she’ll get help. 😉




  • This story makes me feel so bad for all the people who have to live with a mental illness. Tomorrow those voices will still be there making her life a nightmare. As usual. this is far more than a 100 word story. You always give us the heart of the story every week. And I like Carrie’s comment that kids do have a sixth sense.


    • Dear Linda,

      Yep. One night’s intervention isn’t going to silence those voices. It takes a lot of work to find their roots and then declaw them. But I know Marie will get through it. 😉




  • The pacing of the dialogue is wonderful — any critique I would have (such as it is) would just be that I can’t relate the tale back to the picture very well, but I supposed the voices could be like the cacophony of seagulls.


    • Dear Helena,

      Glad you liked the story. Now allow me to explain how I arrived at it from the seagulls prompt. 😉 At first, and maybe second, glance it doesn’t seem to fit, right? I saw past the birds themselves and saw conflict. I suppose it could’ve been a conflict on the beach or at sea, but this is where my my mind went. Anyway, that’s my process in a nutshell.




  • Thank goodness, Rochelle. You set this up, then knocked it down perfectly. I wouldn’t have wanted that to end the other way. If only everyone had such a compelling angel on their metaphorical shoulder.


    • Dear Jen,

      I’ve often found my children to be my angels, even after a day of cleaning spilled grape juice from a beige carpet, strained bananas from my hair, etc etc. No doubt you’ll find your little Sebastian has his own halo.
      Thank you for your comments that mean so much to me.




  • I’m so glad the child won this duel. Well done. The stakes were high in this one. My birthday is on Friday, Oct. 4. I think I neglected to tell you…that’s something I would do. Anyway, I’m glad you had a happy ending!


  • Quite dark and heart-wrenching – what will happen in the future? Maybe she will leave the note on the computer and the pills in the waste basket as a cry for help to her husband? Or will she just try again? What has driven her to it?
    I’m worried about the little family now! Very well written.


    • Dear Draliman,

      I guess the ball’s in Marie’s court. It’s my hope that she’ll get help. As a writer I’m most pleased that you’re emotionally invested enough to be worried. Thank you.




  • Your story shows the great power of a child, and I hope that power causes the mom in the story to get help beyond a bottle of sleeping pills. It was masterful how you ended the first line — of her typing — with “I can’t” and then brought back to it in the last line. Maybe she can turn that around to “I can.”


  • This is just a story, but it did touch a lot of nerves, because those voices can get at you anytime, even if it is your own voice telling you to give up, or get out, and they are loud enough, they drown out the pleas of your own children. However, not to dwell on this, I liked your use of the phrase, “I can’t…” first to say I can’t promise, and next to say, I can’t do this to my child…


  • This was a wonderfully written story, with such a great arc! Way to go in only 100 words. The mother made the right choice, and I hope this is the last time she has to make it.
    And I loved the title, it was so appropriate.


  • Hi Rochelle,
    Like Helena, I was looking for the tie to the prompt, but felt it was rooted in the title ‘Duel’. It felt, to me at least, like the two birds were waging a war for her sanity. Sort of like the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other from old cartoons. In any case, it worked for me that way. Great story telling and I really appreciate how you take the prompt to a different level. I tend to react superficially and that is where Istay with it.


    • Dear Erin,

      You’re either very perceptive or you’ve learned how my mind works. ;). You’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head. In any case, I’m pleased the story worked for you. Thank you for your kind words. I think one day, you’ll be ready to take it to new levels and I wouldn’t sell yourself short, I’ve read some good things from you.




  • Dear Wandean,
    This reminds me of the story of the Indian chief with two wolves fighting in his brain (good vs. evil) and his response to the question “who wins?” The answer, of course, is the one you feed the most. At least the wolf is staved off for the time being.


  • I remember feeling that way a time or two in my life. Such a good story my dear. I’m glad she didn’t continue with her plan. It is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Life is to be lived, even if we feel it isn’t. It is so difficult to get those voice to quiet themselves sometimes. They say so many false things. We must remember that we are good. We are okay.Thank you Rochelle.

    Love, Renee


    • Dear Renee,

      They say to write what you know, right? I’ve felt this way, too and come dangerously close to acting on it. I’m glad I didn’t. I would’ve deprived myself of so many delightful pen pals. 😉

      I’m happy you didn’t listen to the voices either. Thank you for dropping by.




  • Ooh, I know those voices! They’re always there, telling us how unworthy we are! The hairs are standing up on the back of my neck. But then there are the other voices, the ones who on this occasion spoke through her son. This story is scary because so true. Magnificent writing, Rochelle. Truly. Ann


    • Dear Honie,

      “Nice painting”…reminds me of some of the drawings I did during a time of great depression. Happily I’m there no longer.

      Your comment touched me. As for explaining it to a child…hard place to navigate. 😉




  • Well, Lady, this was one unique take on the prompt! And very well done! It does look as though the seagulls are dueling. But your story also led to thoughts of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven.” He was battling with his addiction in the form of a bird; she was battling with the spirit of suicide: both were dueling for their very life. Quite a feat writing something that puts you into Poe’s category!


  • Hi Rockstar – Thanks for posting this lovely photo of Madison on her wedding day. She’s radiant. She emailed another photo on her Ozark site. Just as gorgeous.    Now…where in the devil has Lora been?  My laptop died on me a few weeks ago.. I’m waiting for Columbus Day sales to purchase another. In the meantime, I’m using a Computer Room.   Hope all is well on your end.   Hugs, Lora    


    • Dear Lora,

      Madison has been the wind beneath my wings many times this past year with her technical and emotional support. So I’m really happy to be able to share her happiness with the group she created. 😉
      Yes, where indeed have you been? Hope you can join us again soon.




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