17 January 2014

Published January 15, 2014 by rochellewisoff


May it be a good year, filled with prosperity, happiness and publication dreams fulfilled. 


Henry David Thoreau said it best.

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

In 2014, as in 2013, writers are encouraged to be as innovative as possible with the prompt and 100 word constraints.


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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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word count: 98


            When I was young, my mother deflected my questions about her time in Auschwitz.

            “What’s past is past. Be happy.”

            “Are you happy, Mom?”

            “Don’t ask.”

            I hounded her until she told me more than I was prepared to hear. For years her pain and bitterness clenched my heart.

            “Promise me, Rivka,” she whispered from her deathbed.

          In the stillness of dawn I scatter her ashes in the Sola River near the camp. As they swirl and sink beneath the water to join those of the beloved grandparents I never met, I feel her fingers release my heart.

123 comments on “17 January 2014

    • Dear Lala,

      The strength of survivors I’ve known never ceases to amaze me. The indomitable human spirit is a wonder to behold. Thank you for commenting. And I agree, Erin’s photo is wonderful. I’m looking forward to great stories this week. 😉




    • Dear Indira,

      I have an acquaintance who is the child of survivors. I thought of him in writing this. Unfortunately, he hasn’t found peace or closure. I don’t believe it’s an experience anyone can forget. What I don’t understand is how they remain sane.

      Thank you for your sweet comments.




  • You hint at so much more story, but keep the narrator firmly in place. I’d have liked to go deeper into her feelings and those of the mother too – this is one of those stories where 100 words just doesn’t seem enough.


  • Oh,this was heart breaking and an intense portrayal of the underlying agony! Rochelle you are a master story teller!Missed FF and writing and am so glad to be back,too and once again wish you and your loved ones a very Happy New year!Loads of love 🙂


  • I am glad that Rivka’s heart finally has some degree of freedom after carrying the burden of her mothers’ ordeals. And I’m glad her mother is finally at peace as well. Amazing that you can present us with an entire lifetime’s story in just 100 words.


  • always a beautiful story from you, but i liked this one a lot. every word just seems to be so perfectly in place. even the title says a lot. i absolutely loved the last line.


  • The title intrigues me: the mother chooses to have her ashes spread with her parents rather than a husband (or the father of the narrator)–is the title a hint to other horrors her mother suffered as a young girl in a concentration camp? Good story, Rochelle.


    • Dear VB,

      The title has more to do with the burden that’s been handed down from generation to generation. It seems that the children of survivors have the same unforgiveness/bitterness as their parents.
      Thank you for coming by and commenting.




    • Dear Patti,

      It does concern me that with the passing of that generation that it could be forgotten. And there are those who claim that it never happened, despite the evidence the Nazi’s so systematically left behind.

      Thank you for your comments.




    • Dear Alexandria,

      Thank you for your sweet words. As for joining…any time. It’s a challenge to stuff a whole story into 100 word package but once you get it down, it’s hard to stop. I was addicted from my first one in April 2012.




    • Dear Eric,

      I’m pleased that you liked my story. I’d hoped that it wouldn’t feel as dark as some that I’ve written. Nor do I want to become a “one note” with Holocaust stories. On the other hand, it’s a subject that’s up close and personal to me. So when the muse strikes, I will write.

      Thank you for your sweet words.




    • Dear Ali,

      I was particularly happy with that line, too. Is it okay for me to say that? I will often come back to this particular historical subject. I guess you could say it’s ingrained in me. As that generation is fast becoming a memory, I fear it’s too easy now to forget than ever.

      Anyway…thank you for commenting. Glad you liked it.




  • How is it that you can make the hair on my arms stand up, bring a tear to my eye, make the blood rush to my head with great emotion, …..and do it in 100 words? Not once, but story after story. I am married to a master. I bow to you, and envy your amazing talent.


  • Dear Rochelle,

    Your tale has the feel of a once jagged rock that has tumbled through long years down the river from mountain to sea. Its smooth beauty masks the work required to shape it, but to the discerning eye, many stories can be read there.

    Another stone for your journey.

    It is happening now.




    • Dear Plaridel,

      Fortunately, many survivors have told their experiences. We have their memories in writing many times over. But there were and are those that found them too horrible to speak of, particularly to their children.

      I’ve never been to Auschwitz but I did get to travel to Israel land Yad V’Shem, the holocaust museum. Many tears for me. Quite a few of the people in photos of those who perished looked like they might have been my own relatives.

      thank you for commenting,




  • There needs to be a button that says “Love the writing, the content broke my heart” — specifically for you, darling, because you do it so well.


  • Difficult to imagine that time in history, when the devil revealed itself in the guise of Hitler. Since then it seems, evil continues to ebb and flow in all manner of men. Keeping them in check is the responsibility of those who believe that good always triumphs in the end. hugs for reminding us of our duty…


    • Dear Millie,

      I’ve also heard it called the spirit of Amalek…first recorded in Haman in the book of Esther and manifest many times over….Hitler was one…Stalin also had a plan to rid the world of the “Jewish problem.” Thankfully death thwarted him. Of course the list could go on.

      I suppose my contribution is a small one in writing stories to keep the memories alive. But who knows when we’ll be called upon to do more?

      Thanks for commenting.

      Shalom and hugs,



    • Dear Joanna,

      Tiny tales. I like that. Could be a good book title as my publisher’s interested in putting my flashes into book form.

      Thank you for your comments on my story. Glad you liked it. As all know it’s a subject near and dear to my heart so I hope my stories don’t become tedious.




  • Dear Dr. Feelgood (perhaps I misnamed you this week),
    Once again you make history personal by assigning names, faces, and feelings to those who lived through such a horrible experience. It touched my heart. – Bill


  • Quite a poignant story you told, Rochelle…and a testament as to how that time in history affects people even today. This is my first time here. I’ve done other prompts with Flash writing before and always have enjoyed the challenge. Hope to visit you again.


    • Dear Gayle,

      Thanks for your comments and welcome. I came in as the new kid on the block in April 2012 and inherited Madison Wood’s baby by October. Haven’t missed a week since…hardcore flash fiction addict here.

      So welcome! I hope to see you again.




  • The subject is one that I have personal knowledge of. For that reason, the most expressive and essential part is the first half. The central duo of sentences is a structural marvel of which the first one is the embodiment of truth as both salvation and damnation.

    Two sad thumbs up and shalom, Tay.


  • Rochelle, I’m way behind on my Fictioneer reading this week but I wanted to read this before the next batch gets posted. I loved this piece. There is so much emotion and history and significance is such a small area. You distill a story well.


  • Very poignant. And it’s true that some people don’t speak of horrors they’ve gone through. Others don’t stop (like my grandfather). I don’t understand the title, though. Obviously, I’m missing something. I don’t believe in that strange and shallow idea that if something bad happens to someone, they somehow deserved it! I don’t believe you meant that either.


    • Dear Ann,

      Was your grandfather a camp survivor?

      The title implies that the curse is passed from generation to generation, certainly not that it was anything deserved. The children of camp survivors tend to have emotional problems that stem from their parents’ experience. I know of one such man who has carried his parents’ bitterness. I hope and pray that one day he’ll also find closure.

      I hope that clarifies it a bit.

      Thanks for commenting,




      • Thanks for the clarification. I can see that. No, my grandfather was a soldier in the Great War. Spent a lot of time in the French trenches. He lost his beloved younger brother only a month from the end of the war. His experiences coloured his life. He was angry and bitter and talked about his experiences as I was growing up and so his distress lives on in me, but not his bitterness. 🙂


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