Matricide – 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, the standard, and the prompt photo.
The idea, as always, is to write a story of around 100 words based on the picture below, which this week is supplied by David Stewart,

© David Stewart

Click here to hear the author read his words:


My mother was a hero.
I don’t remember her, of course, but I have heard the story countless times.
We lived on the top floor of one of those old apartment blocks where everyone knew everyone.
The fire started far below us.
The stairs were impassable so we used the fire-escape.
Smoke and flames belched from windows
With me in her arms she struggled down the creaking structure.
An overweight neighbour lumbered on two floors down.
The ancient staircase collapsed.
We fell forty feet onto cobbles.
She broke my fall.
I broke her neck.
The family never let me forget.

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66 Responses to Matricide – Friday Fictioneers

  1. That’s a great ending after the setup of the title. I can’t imagine having to live with that burden. Great story.


  2. Damn…that’s sad. I felt the sadness of a child growing up like that. Hurts my heart.


  3. doodletllc says:

    Excellent…love the chomps and bites as the tale clips along…with no winners anywhere.


  4. Colline says:

    Brilliant last lines – and so unexpected.


  5. MythRider says:

    Difficult to hit Like.
    Sorry for your lose and the guilt. It’s the fire’s fault. Not yours.


  6. Oh god, what a sad story. I sadly know some children who could not escape blame for things they couldn’t have done anything about and had no blame in besides. Oy. The cruelty.


  7. Mike says:

    Social distancing needs to be taken to a new level here. Perhaps a pair of ear plugs might be the answer


  8. Oh this is good, very good. Brilliant


  9. plaridel says:

    survivors always have guilt feelings. it comes with the territory.


  10. Aah here we have yet another sordid tale of a bitter, resentful, entitled family. I’ shall just bet if you listen to them, they’ll insist they’re such a wonderfully happy tight.knit bunch, of whom he should be happy(and of course o so unfathomably grateful) to be a part. ..Good story


  11. draliman says:

    Ouch. Loved the last three lines. A very unforgiving family, when they should have been grateful one of them survived.


  12. And thus therapists stay in business. I wish his mother could protect him from her hallowed place. He having to bear the brunt of her decision. I think if she had been spared and the baby had died, they wouldn’t have let her forget either. A family to stay away from, for sure. Great writing!


  13. I really enjoy listening to your stories, C.E.! A tragic one, for sure, not only did he lose his mother but he had to hear ‘how’ over and over from his family who blamed him. A well-woven story as always!


  14. Nobbinmaug says:

    I bet if mom had it to do over again, she would do it exactly the same way.


  15. A wonderful, tragic story. I can imagine the protagonist’s life after so clearly just from the tone and the last line.


  16. Oh… to be the cause even though accidentally is one burden to bear, especially if everyone else is in agreement.


  17. It’s as if the family bear him somehow responsible. A sorry story indeed.


  18. granonine says:

    From the title, I was expecting a story of an evil person murdering his mother. In truth, it is evil people BLAMING a child for killing his mother, when he had no knowledge. How sad life can be.


  19. Sad but enthralling.


  20. Rowena says:

    C.E., I wonder if your neighbours read all these brilliant, but very eerie fictions you post here. You probably drive a Toyota Camry and wear a brown cardigan.
    I really loved this and your usual twist at he end, and again i didn’t see it coming and so emotionally powerful as well.
    Best wishes,


  21. Anita says:

    Sad that mom sacrificed her life. The burly neighbour made matters worse.
    Situations like these play out exactly as they are meant to be…
    The poor survivor., i.e. you, will always continue to remember thanks to unfailing reminders…


  22. pennygadd51 says:

    A very neat telling of a tragic tale – tragic in the original event, and equally tragic in the feelings of guilt fostered in the survivor by their family.


  23. Reena Saxena says:

    Good to know the family survived to recall the horror.


  24. Dear CE,

    Such a tragic tale told in your inimitable matter-of-fact way. Well done.




  25. Tannille says:

    Not if that’s a bittersweet ending or just bitter? Powerful and well put together.


  26. Iain Kelly says:

    I wonder how mother feels about it – happy to have saved her child, or like the family, a bit annoyed.


  27. What an ending to what was already a tragic, beautifully written story.

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos


  28. MrBinks says:

    Wow, this is really powerful and an absolutely perfect example of 100 word story telling.


  29. neilmacdon says:

    Absolve the guilty. Punish the innocent. Nicely told


  30. trishsplace says:

    Oh, how sad. Survivor’s guilt, such a classic hook. Nice work.


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