About Writing, Life and Writing About Life

I loved the photo prompt for this week’s Friday Fictioneers outing courtesty of Madison Woods. This week’s picture is copyright Jan Morrill and my story appears below, followed by the linky critter. Click on him and you’ll be taken to all the other interpretations this week.



The deserted village perched high above the Mediterranean. Ali peered round Aunt Jen’s unlocked door. Everything was tidy; ready for an absence. Other houses were also bereft, her tentative helloes echoing unanswered.

It had begun with a telephone call. ‘Spiritual Progression’ was all Ali could decipher amongst the jumbled excitement. Worry had her calling back later, then boarding a plane after countless unanswered calls.

The weight of a gaze fell on the back of Ali’s neck. Spinning, she glimpsed – not a person, more a figure painted in light. Her aunt’s throaty chuckle hovered below the limit of hearing. The village wasn’t empty.


I had to cut hard this week to get down to 104 words, so not sure if I lost the sense of the story in the process. Any further suggestions welcomed.


Comments on: "Friday Fictioneeers – Empty" (45)

  1. I liked it. Nice story and well-contained.
    Mine: http://www.madison-woods.com/index-of-stories/101212-2/
    You have already read it, I believe, and I was rather pleased that you have him making it out…not so sure I did that in my head.

  2. “Something’s coming. Something Wonderful!” This put me in mind of the movie 2010. Don’t know why…it just flashed into my head. Intriguing tale, Anne. I really want to know what happened to the village, particularly the aunt.

    • Thanks Rochelle. I had forgotten that movie. Evolving beyond the physical is something that has been suggested many times in both spiritual and sci-fi fiction camps, and I wondered how we would react were that to actually happen, as I envisaged it had here.

  3. Very good, nicely done. I loved the ‘throaty chuckle’ which sounded both pleasant and unpleasant at the same time. Fascinating take on the prompt.

  4. Intriguing take on the prompt. I really like the way you connected the photo to the setting of the story. Very apt. Mine is here: http://readinpleasure.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/fridayfictioneers-i-want-out/

  5. A great story, and well done in the 104 words. Wonderful interpretation of the photo prompt. Evokes various possible scenarios, one of them being a Heaven’s Gate type of cult/suicide, and others more spiritual or more alien. Intriguing!

    • Thanks Jan. I was intending the spiritual interpretation but as I say feared I had lost the clarity in the cutting. Maybe next time I;ll be a rebel and leave it long.

  6. Nicely creepy and paranormal. I like the throaty chuckle, too.

  7. Interesting. This reminded me of John Fowles’s book The Magus.

  8. I really liked the open endedness of this piece, and open to all sorts of interpretations. The only bit that brought made me stop in the middle of the flow of it was ‘The weight of a gaze’, which in itself is a nice phrase, but somehow weight didn’t seem quite right for a being ‘painted in light’.

    • Hi Claire, thanks for stopping by and your comments. I was quite pleased with that phrase, which is perhaps why I didn’t notice that it doesn’t really gel with the painted in light part. I was trying to convey the way you can feel when someone is looking at you – and perhaps I tried too hard 🙂

  9. Hi Anne,
    You painted a haunting word picture and kept the suspense alive until the end. Very well written. Ron

  10. Nicely done, Anne. I felt the ending was really effective and dense with emotion and substance. I really enjoyed it.

  11. Nicely done! “figure painted in light” was my favorite phrase, but there was a nice progression to the whole thing. At first I was confused because I was reading “Ali” as a man’s name, haha, but I got it straightened out pretty quickly.

    • Thanks Brian, you’re not the only one to think it was a man initially. In my longer version I probably introduced her better, but I could have avoided the problem by using a more specific name – I just didn’t think of it. Thanks for visiting.

  12. The empty village reminded me of the movie “The Beach” …. where an entire city (San Francisco, I believe) emptied out after the Atom or Hydrogen bomb went off. While sitting there getting chills I wondered… who was left to do the filming? lol. NIce work.

  13. no, that village is not empty. but it IS interesting! well done.

  14. Very good work Anne!
    I loved this phrase ” The weight of a gaze fell on the back of Ali’s neck.”
    Has it become a ghost town? This got me so interested that I’m going to ponder over it for sometime! 🙂

    • Hi Parul, I’m glad you liked that phrase because I did too! The idea is that the village have evolved together beyond the physical plane (ie turned into beings of light). This would be something wonderful for them, those left behind might not be so happy about it. Thanks for stopping by.

  15. I liked it. I also love the challenge of staying at 100 words.

  16. Goosebumps… liked it. 🙂

  17. I liked this a lot. Many questions…

  18. I really wonder what’s happened here. It sounds sinister, especially the “throaty chuckle.” I also liked the line about feeling the weight of a gaze.

    • Thanks Daniel, it is interesting that you can read it as either sinister or joyful. From my perspective it was sinister for the main character, but joyful for the aunt and other villagers.

  19. The entire village ascended! How cool, and they seem to be having fun with it.

  20. From the stories I have read so far, mine included, no one seems to quite manage 100 words :-). 104, 105, 106…
    maybe I should challenge myself to make the next one exactly 100 🙂

    Nicely written story.

  21. Reminds me of an episode from Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone – and I mean that as a high compliment.

  22. […] I had a try at using this technique in one of my Friday Fictioneers stories, which you can read here. Some (for instance Stephen King in his book On Writing) would say that In Media Res is over-used, […]

  23. […] story. This is one that stayed with me, and decided it wants to be a bigger tale one day. Here is the original story, and below the picture (copyright Jan Morrill) is another snippet somewhat further through the […]

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