Home – Friday Fictioneers

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by the wonderful Rochelle, the undisputed master of what I call Sound Bite Fiction.
She sets the weekly challenge, and the standard.
This week’s prompt comes courtesy of
Dale Rogerson, and makes me think of happy families.
The idea, as always, is to write a story of around 100 words based on this picture, below.

© Dale Rogerson


Click here to hear the author read this 1-minute story:

Home

Sometimes I pause outside, just for a moment.
Through the window I can see my wife and children, doing the things that families do.
I see them laughing, clowning around, having fun.
They look happy.
I feel a surprisingly warm glow inside.
Because I know they are not always like this.
Sometimes they are sad.
My wife, especially, reflects on what has happened, on what might have been.
I turn my key, step inside.
The laughter stops.
The kids slip silently away to their rooms.
My wife smiles bravely, as she always does.
‘How was your day, dear?’ she asks.

About ceayr

A Scot who has discovered Paradise in a small town he calls Medville on the Côte d'Azur, C.E. Ayr has spent a large part of his life in the West of Scotland and a large part elsewhere. His first job was selling programmes at his local football club and he has since tried 73 other career paths, the longest being in IT, with varying degrees of success. He is somewhat nomadic, fairly irresponsible and, according to his darling daughter, a bit random.
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77 Responses to Home – Friday Fictioneers

  1. This is so heartbreaking.
    A touching story.

    Like

  2. Very nicely told CE – a heavy subject approached with a light touch. What has he done to be the cause if the tension? Can he make amends? The fact he recognises his culpability and still has love for his family suggests there may be a happy ending somewhere down the road.

    Like

  3. I like the perspective from his POV. AS others have said, it seems as if he is the cause of tension and fear in the home, as the kids slip away quietly. I wonder why he feels surprised at the warm glow on seeing his family happy? Does he not usually feel tenderness towards them? Warm, cosy family with a twist at the end. Nicely done!

    Like

  4. LucciaGray says:

    Chilling. It seems to me that he’s the cause of their sadness, but he can’t help himself… sad.

    Like

  5. I sense he knows he’s the cause of his families sadness, but wonder if he really cares.

    Like

  6. Jelli says:

    Excellente! Loved it C,e,! I can just picture the father looking in the window at his family. 🙂

    Like

  7. rgayer55 says:

    Daddy’s home! Let the fun end and the tension begin.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. mjlstories says:

    Interesting to read all the interpretations. Not clear to me who is the victim and of what. A chilling ambiguous piece and a stunning lingering read.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So many stories behind this… I hope it’s not domestic abuse.

    Like

  10. Perhaps he requires some serious counselling. And our empathies. Brilliant writing Ceayr.

    Like

  11. Lynn Love says:

    That’s chilling C. The man seeing almost from outside himself, realising his presence is the cause of his famiy’s sadness. Gripping and disturbing

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Rowena says:

    Firstly, CE this was exceptionally well written and spooky mysterious. Haunting, Indeed, at first I though he was a ghost, especially after reading Michael’s piece set at Pendle Hill.
    Sometimes, it is easy to forget the complexities of humans and that our heroes aren’t all good and our villains aren’t all bad. Well, if we are seeking authenticity when developing our characters, they shouldn’t be. I personally feel this guy has redeeming qualities and deserves the benefit of the doubt. He might have had a rough childhood himself. He might’ve lost his job and he’s feeling his back up against the wall and his family are bearing the brunt of his frustration. Perhaps, he grew up in an orphanage and doesn’t know what it means to be part of a family and interact properly, but I certainly get the sense that he wants to be part of their world.He wants to make things right but he’s trapped in somethin such as childhood abuse.
    Well done!
    xx Rowena

    Like

    • ceayr says:

      Thank you, Rowena. You are evidently a kind and forgiving lady, and I am not convinced the narrator deserves your empathy. But your interpretation is as valid as any, given that you have only 100 words to work with.
      I am happy and amazed to have generated so much emotion.
      Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rowena says:

        I think your character has just enough insight to work on the situation and there’s some hope here, but he’s going to need to start small and prepare for a long road to regain the trust of his children. His wife, to me, seems like she might understand why he is the way he is and is hanging in there but only just.
        The ambiguity you’ve generated here really is a triumph!

        Like

  13. Anna Rymer says:

    Oh this is an amazing piece of writing. It’s not often we sit inside the perpetrator’s head and it left me recoiling and disgusted that I was there for even a moment. I used to work in a women’s refuge and no time was wasted on considering the viewpoint of the violent men or their reasons for the abuse. All our energies were put into rebuilding the usually broken women and children who arrived at the door. There is no justification for such systematic abuse – although I do appreciate rehabilitation and support for offenders is important in our society too – in my opionion their actions can never be condoned or understood. Thank you for a brilliant piece. It’s amazing what can be achieved in those few words – it was absolutely chilling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anna Rymer says:

      Having listened to you read it and also reading some of the comments, all kinds of other scenarios are running through my head. Perhaps. it is something more subtle than abuse, as Penny suggests below. Perhaps he does deserve my understanding. This makes the piece all the more impressive though!

      Like

      • ceayr says:

        First of all I am very happy with your words of praise, Anna. Thank you for that, sincerely appreciated.
        Secondly I am less happy that I have struck such a nerve. While I obviously want to cause a reaction, I do not like to cause distress.
        Your comments are all very valid, and I am hugely impressed by how you worked through your immediate revulsion to try to understand the narrator.
        Because of what you have said, taken with some of the other comments, I plan to revisit this story after a period of contemplation.
        Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Anna Rymer says:

          I do feel strongly about the subject but I’m not distressed by it – so please don’t worry about that. I think Art, in whatever form it comes in, has a place to make us uncomfortable and offer perspectives we might not be accustomed to. I think this is a very powerful piece – you hit on something here… in my opinion anyway. I think you should definitely consider submitting for publication in other places. It really works as a piece of flash fiction as is. Although it would be interesting to see how you can develop it, I wonder if it might lose something in the process of writing more? It’s worth seeing though.
          Sorry for being so vocal! I really ‘enjoyed’ (well appreciated) this piece 😃

          Like

          • ceayr says:

            Please don’t ever apologise for being vocal here, it is just great to get this sort of reaction to such a short piece. I agree that art should provoke, of course, you are absolutely right about that.
            I often consider developing these limited word challenges, and sometimes I do, but I am not sure I have the courage to extend this. I will let it percolate, see what happens.
            Thank you again.

            Liked by 1 person

  14. Scary, grim, and excellent.

    Like

  15. What a sorry situation. He clearly knows he;’s doing wrong but is unable to do anything about it.

    Like

  16. Moon says:

    I am imagining him to be a man who has very violent outbursts of rage , once in a while . His family lives in terror of sudden re-surfacing of his ugly emotion and hence keep their interaction to a minimum . It looks like he is totally incapable of controlling it when it attacks him.Though, of course, my assumptions may be wrong.
    Superb storytelling.

    Like

    • ceayr says:

      Fascinating analysis, Moon, and a very valid possibility. We know that these situations exist too often, for too many reasons.
      Thank you for your kind words.

      Like

  17. subroto says:

    Starts so bright and cheery and then goes on to a pretty dark place. Nicely done.

    Like

  18. A poignant reminder of reality for so many behind closed doors. Things aren’t always what they seem and there exists a lot of complicated brokenness within families. Thank you for this well written, thought provoking piece!

    Like

  19. Susan says:

    You left a lot up to the imagination. Wonderful as always

    Like

  20. michael1148humphris says:

    I can only echo the other comment, you left me wondering,

    Like

  21. pennygadd51 says:

    Very well written indeed. A beautiful balance between telling us too little and stimulating our imagination. I have a feeling that he wants to be part of a loving, normal family, but something is stopping him. It’s more subtle than straightforward abuse, I fancy.

    Like

  22. Oh, that’s quite scary. I initially thought he might be dead, but the reality was obviously worse than that.

    Like

  23. Anita says:

    He needs to ask himself- is he the reason of their behaviour-change?
    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    Like

    • ceayr says:

      My first smile in these comments!
      Thank you, Anita, I am way beyond Valentine’s stuff, but you made my day.
      And your point is very valid, though I suspect he knows the answer.

      Like

  24. James says:

    Seems like Hubby/Daddy has been bad. His wife understands the need for forgiveness and redemption but the kids haven’t come that far.

    Like

  25. granonine says:

    Oh, my. Conjures up all sorts of possibilities.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Iain Kelly says:

    All the more grim because of his self-awareness of the situation, and it seems his reluctance to change. Expertly written.

    Like

  27. Left open for interpretation and whatever the reason for the change as his key turns in the lock.

    Like

  28. This was wonderful, and all the better for being unexplained. Beautifully written, and I felt so sad for him.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Varad says:

    Brilliant narration, CE. Seems like he’s not in control of himself.

    Like

  30. Aw, this was heartbreaking. There’s so much going on within this family that I want (need!) to know more about them. Well told.

    Like

  31. Sandra says:

    I’m reading this as domestic abuse. And the idea that the perpetrator could observe and enjoy the happiness that exists before he makes an entrance is totally chilling. Well done.

    Like

  32. Dear CE,

    Sad situation…to dwell in what might have been. Perhaps a counseling session or two might help. Nicely done…good scene setup.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

  33. neilmacdon says:

    That’s grim but beautifully painted

    Like

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