26 May 2017

Published May 24, 2017 by rochellewisoff

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The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit. 

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

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Genre: Historical Fiction-Book Excerpt

Word Count: 100


            Broken glass, paper and other debris littered the once cheerful apartment. The prophet Jeremiah’s words swirled through Ulrich’s mind like a hollow wind.

            “A voice was heard in Ramah…

            …Rachel weeping for her children…”

            Dim light from his lantern cast macabre shadows on the spattered walls. He gazed at the children’s battered faces and twisted forms. What could reduce men to such bestial acts?

            His stomach shuddered and emptied itself. He wiped his mouth on the back of his sleeve.  “You bloody bastards! Christ died for you and you use Him as an excuse for your bloodletting! Why? Why? Why?”

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 *Note: The title is John 11:35, the shortest verse in the New Testament and reflects Ulrich Dietrich’s beliefs. Ulrich is a Christian gentleman who is outraged that innocent people would be murdered in the name of his Lord.  


101 comments on “26 May 2017

  • How very apt is your story in today’s fractured times. In the backdrop of the Manchester bombing it is a chilling reminder that man, however much he may have progressed, has still not come out of his cave.
    Hope better sense prevails and there is ever lasting peace. Another great write, Rochelle.

    Liked by 2 people

  • Timely reminder, Rochelle. Casting the first stone and all that. The militant religions, of which Christianity is one, have always been able to find an excuse for mass murder in their scriptures. Even Buddhists murder Muslims or at least the variety they despise the most, and they’re supposed to not even kill flies!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Sadly, Rochelle, some people don’t have any sense at all. They’re supposed to be doing these things for an ideology but from what I’ve heard they’re just filled with hate because of their twisted minds. For once, I agree with a term President Trump used, “losers”. Their minds are so warped no one could talk sense to them. They’ve just found a reason to destroy. They even destroy themselves. I just hope the police find the others involved in the bomb making as they say it’s too sophisticated for one person to have made. Good writing. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Suzanne,

      I don’t understand baseless hatred that targets babies. They are ‘losers’ although I would’ve used a much stronger term. Pity they don’t just strap on bombs, stand out in a field by themselves and blow themselves to their 70 virgins.
      Thank you for your thoughtful comments. (I find myself repeating myself 😉 )




  • Unfortunately all religions have those that wish to twist their writings and beliefs to suit their own, usually evil, purpose. A sadly timeless story that shows no sign of changing. It certainly causes one to struggle with faith at these times. An apt and well written piece Rochelle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Iain,

      Sadly, it’s true that through history, there have been the insanely religious nutters who’ve carried out their beliefs with genocide. I have to agree that there doesn’t seem to be a change on the horizon. Thank you for your affirming comments.



      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Josh,

      It could easily have been Kristalnacht or hundreds of other places. In this case, however, it’s from my book and takes place in Kishinev, the scene of the first internationally recognized pogrom. Thank you for contributing the photo. I really didn’t consciously time it.
      Thank you for reading and commenting, too.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Fits so perfectly to what so many in the world are feeling this week. The thoughts of this week’s tear bring us all to our knees in prayer and tears for the murdered children. Leaves us all asking, ‘Why?’ So, very very sad. -sniffles-.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I just couldn’t find anything better than your story this week. It summed everything, every feeling up so perfectly. Shocked, horrified,etc. Pass a thank you for service to your hubby from me. 🙂


  • Wonderful, thought-provoking and timely flash, Rochelle.
    Murderers and criminals in general usually put forward a lame excuse for their actions. They often choose religion, their parents, lack of money, abuse, addiction etc. Yet the perpetrator(s) is the only person who is ultimately responsible for and guilty of his/her actions. We always have a choice. There is no justification for taking a life, except accidentally or in self defence.
    It’s easy for both the criminal and society to look for someone to blame, but it’s not a good idea to oversimplify. It would be absurd to hate all men because a minority batter their wives. All men aren’t wife batterers, although all those who batter wives are men.
    Sorry for the rant, but the Manchester attack has upset us all, understandably.
    I hope you have a peaceful day.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    Powerfully written, as always. You bring us right into the story for us to feel all the pain and hurt such senseless acts of violence cause.

    I know you pick your photo prompts in advance. Sheesh… what were the chances, eh? I am almost sorry this happened (I won’t even say what “this” is as you have read it enough…)

    Lotsa love,


    Liked by 1 person

  • Another great flash fiction! I admire your ability to, in a few words, draw the readers into the story and open up the main character’s feelings.
    I’m also sad for your sake because of the coincidence with this photo prompt and the Manchester tragedy. Responses to that are bound to color our normal stories and comments.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Christine,

      It’s interesting to me how often I’ll post a story two or three weeks ahead (keeps my sanity ;)) and it will be spot on time-wise. Sadly similar situations. Why my excerpt takes place in Kishinev in 1903 in a pogrom aimed at the Jews (Easter weekend), the driving force behind these terrorists is too similar. Religion gone insane. (Hence my title.)
      Thank you for your affirming comments.



      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Courtney,

      I don’t understand a religion that sanctions the murder of innocent children…that murders anyone, for that matter. Although my story takes place Easter weekend 1903 (seemed to be the best time for killing “Christ killers”) it’s current with this week’s travesty, isn’t it? Thank you so much for coming by, Courtney.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Christianity as a religion is so far away and different from the way of Christ and the Apostles. We forget that Christ came to redeem not condemn the world and that He said that the greatest of all commandments was this: Love God, Love your neighbour!
    Thanks Rochelle, beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Trent,

      Unbelievably, the Nazis claimed to be Christians. Then there’s the Inquisition…pogroms in Russia, genocide in Ethiopia and the Sudan. Those who suffer the most are the ones least able to defend themselves. Yep, it’s beyond me, too. Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Who could ever gaze upon young children and believe that their obliteration is an act of religion? These are dark times today, as they were in your story. And as for the 70 virgins… pffft!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Rochelle, you have a deep connection with the energy of the world. It’s uncanny how you picked this photo this week unwittingly, just like you picked the photo the same week it was the photo provider’s birthday! (Was it Dale’s?) Intuition, or something like it. Despite the grim tragedy, I like that this week’s prompt has given us food for thought. Get us thinking about a world without war. The more people thinking of it, the more likely it will become a reality.

    Liked by 1 person

  • A tragic, heartfelt piece of writing, Rochelle. As others have said, sadly little seems to change in the world and people commit the same atroctities over and over. Mankind learns nothing from the suffering of previous generations – I think this is the fact that damns us the most.
    Thank you for your kind words about the Manchester bombing. We forget sometimes that the world is so connected, our own country’s tragedies are shared with every feeling, caring person worldwide. Having lived in the city and grown up nearby I can say that Mancunians are tough, gritty people and the city will thrive again, no matter what is thrown at it.Those poor families and the young lives cut horribly short. Thank you Rochelle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn,

      There’s is so much to say and very little can be said at the same time. The world feels this loss. The spread of these terrorists is frightening. I don’t understand it. If we’ve learned nothing from history it’s that we’ve learned nothing from history.
      Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

  • A bit on the nose, don’t you think, darling? Religion — let’s not talk religion, but let’s just say when it becomes a cause rather than a lifestyle, it becomes dangerous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Helena,

      It’s hard not to bring religion into it when the cause is just that. We can also call it genocide or self-righteous insanity. Dangerous indeed. Thank you for coming by. What a week to return. 😉



      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s sad. I’d consider myself a secular humanist, except humanity doesn’t seem to be worth believing in. You ever read that e.e. Cummings poem “Humanity I love you”? Look it up. It’s been my mindset since I was seventeen and crazy. (ok, the seventeen and crazy but I stole from Bradbury – but truly, if your going to borrow from someone, you could do worse.)
        I’m glad I dropped by. I always enjoy your insights and flattery.

        Liked by 1 person

  • I believe the people who commit atrocities in the name of religion are not religious at all. If they were truly religious they would help their fellow man, not harm them. They can claim any religion they like, but I will never believe them or accept their excuses. Great story, Rochelle. Religious hatred isn’t new as this story illustrates. It’s still with us and growing like a cancer. I hope we find a cure soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  • He gazed at the children’s battered faces and twisted forms
    Oh, Rochelle, this line made me want to cry, wretch, scream. You captured so many feelings in those ten words.
    I spent three hours yesterday pulling weeds. For half that time I said Hail Marys ~ like a mantra. Raised Catholic, but no longer practicing I DO fall back on that prayer when I fail to see light at the end of the tunnel of cruelty.
    Well done, my friend. Lish

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    This is so chilling and heart-rending this piece of writing — extra so because of the coincidence of its timing. The words that come to mind are “when will they ever learn?” from the song “Where have all the Flowers Gone?” According to the Manchester bomber’s sister, it’s possible that he did it in response to the children killed in bombings in Syria. Indeed, when will it ever end.

    Oh for peace and harmony between nations. Not in this lifetime, methinks D:

    All best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Wendy McShortstuff,

    I like that you used my favorite scripture as a title. This line expresses Jesus’ humanity more than any in the Bible. Not only could He tell a story in 100 words–He only needed two.

    I’m not quite there yet,
    Hapless Meal

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Hapless Meal,

      It seemed like the right title. As the Holocaust survivor I interviewed last year said, “Jesus was a Jewish rabbi. He would not approve that such things would be done in his name.” And he did corner the market on telling a story in less than 100 words. Shorter than, “For sale, baby shoes. Never worn.” Thanks for coming by.

      Standing on my step-stool and saying, Shalom,

      Wendy McShortstuff

      Liked by 1 person

  • Very strong. Your descriptions paint too vivid a picture. Too much blood has been spilled in the name of religion, where faith and belief have been distorted.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Querida Rochelle,
    Hace mucho tiempo .. no? La vida tiene tantas curvas.
    Your story is a heartbreaking. You grab us from the beginning. You take us right to the moment he sees the atrocity. When will we be humane again?
    This story resonated with me because of the recent tragedy in London. Children innocently trying to enjoy music. I want to believe we’re more than what we see in the news. It’s the only way to stay hopeful.
    Beun fin de semana, mi amiga. Que la pases bien.
    Isadora 😎
    p.s. no ha visto su primo. Esta bien??? : )

    Liked by 1 person

    • Querida Isadora,

      Demasiado tiempo. 😉 Mi primo esta bien. Simplamente no esta escribiendo. He visto este mañana. I told him you asked about him.

      You might recognize the tweaked scene. Jesús lloró. I believe he did in Kishinev and in Manchester.

      Glad to see you here. Thank you.

      Shalom y abrazos,



  • Great story Rochelle. It was Gandhi who once said “Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary”. Each time the terrorists claim victory for their actions, they lose.

    Liked by 1 person

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