Three Line Tales: Follow – Answer

Three line tales week 11 photo prompt: piano

Photo by Jesse Orrico at Unsplash


There’s a smell of wood in here, of old paper and burning and as I look up I can see why – a book, propped open, a horseshoe shaped mark singed into the left page, its mirror image on the right.

Peering at the circled text, at the cramped letters that clutter the paper like a colony of ants, I can just make out the words – Follow – Answer.

There’s a sketch tucked in the open book – scratchy brown ink, a portrait in profile with a broken nose and a single, hollow eye – and immediately I know the hand that drew it, know the face, know why I’m here.

My finger trails along the piano keys, plays a halting, drunken scale – a chill breeze cools my cheek as the door opens.


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Line Tales. Three Lines, of course, stretching to at least for under my verbose hand. See the rules here to join the fun.



34 thoughts on “Three Line Tales: Follow – Answer

  1. Sometimes your three line tales are perfect, complete in themselves, no elucidation needed.

    Other times, as here, I am left clutching at straws, trying to fathom the mystery that confronts me, pondering the significance of book, singe, pen, message, sketch.

    And then, what is the drunken scale — chromatic, whole tone, pentatonic — that summons the newcomer, and should we be concerned?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha! I didn’t have a clue either, to be honest, Chris. The picture was an enigma to me – why the singe on the page, why the ‘pointing’ pen, why (what I think is) a Bible propped up by the piano when I expected sheet music? It’s a staged pic and a little nonsensical, which made me think there might be a hidden message hidden in there. And you found me out! Not my best shot. I’ve been distracted by CampNaNoWriMo the last couple of weeks and finding it tough to give much time to the blog. Thanks for reading my nonsense and giving it so much thought 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, I didn’t mean to trick you, Lynn! I only was intrigued and wondering what the sequel might or could be, and already my brain was overheating with possibilities!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ha! I was just flattered you’d thought so deeply about something I’d written 🙂 I think I’ll have to cut back on the prompts for the rest of April – they’re great fun but it’s disappointiing not to be able to give them my full attention.
        How’s your writing course going btw?


      3. Speaking as a pianist I’m sooo wondering about the disparate objects in the photo that I’m tempted to add my coda to your perplexing prelude. Give me a short while …

        We looked at short stories in last term’s writing classes (I complete my story on Minnie, the girl with the super power) and this summer we look at (auto)biographical writing — more to come!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well! I spent ten minutes scratching my head and wondering what was going on, and now it turns out you don’t know either. Phew! What a swizz (as they used to say in kids comic books 50 years ago) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know. When I looked at the image nothing sprung to mind. It was a tricky one, although I can think of more tricky possibilities, like a football match, for example…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha! Yes, if there was a football match pic, I’d probably have to resort to a couple bickering in the crowd – I couldn’t actually write anything based on football. Though I do understand the off side rule, which is a start I guess 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. No, no. It’s ‘don’t try to hack bits off the side of an opposing player – at least when the ref’s watching and you run the risk of getting a red card.’ 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Oh! so that’s not allowed – well, how are you supposed to win the stupid game, then?
        I get it – it’s allowed when the ref’s not watching – like that playground game where you creep up on someone who has his back to you, but you have to be motionless when he turns round. Maybe football is fun after all… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yes! And then we can ban the Kardashians, busdrivers who don’t respond to smiles, people who talk at you for an hour-and-a-half and don’t ask a single question about how you are, even though they can see your nose has dropped off while they’ve been making up stories about their neighbours, bankers, reality TV, (not that it makes any difference to me as I haven’t got a TV, but I’m enjoying all this banning,) greetings cards with tacky rhymes, Asda, and begonias. I think we should start with begonias… 🙂
        Oh! -and the angry woman who lives next door to me…
        I saw Dylan Moran last night. He was very funny but I think he may have cast a spell on my brain.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Ah, Dylan Moran! Hubs and I saw him years ago – very good. And he starred in one of the best sitcoms of all time – Black Books – so he’s a good man. I can’t disagree with anything on your list. Totally agree with begonias – if there’s a more worthless plant I’d like to see one. Mind you, I’m not keen on many bedding plants – Bizzy Lizzies, bleurgh! Anything annual – such a waste of resources to then be chucked in the bin when the season’s over. Our Room 101 list will go on for pages 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I’m beginning to think that you and I are the same person. It’s a bit like talking to myself, but a lot more interesting – I always know what my answers will be 🙂
        I’m OK with those annuals that happily self seed, like nasturtiums, (edible and useful) poached egg plants (useful) and a few of the pretties, although most of them tend to breed like rabbits, – without the ears, obviously.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Nice to find someone who wants to rant about the same things I do – makes me feel slightly less like an oddball. Though, of course, there remains the possibility we’re both odd. Mmm. 🙂
        Yes, true – love a nasturtium for that, and have some poached egg plants coming up at the moment and I think I originally sowed them two years ago. And Love in a Mist come back every year in my garden – love them 🙂 Plants with ears? Does that mean they’re listening to us talk about them? Better watch what I say 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      9. I like Love in a Mist, partly because of the way it looks, and partly because of the way it sounds when I say I like it 🙂
        I used to be considered an oddball, but these days people listen to what I’m saying. I think the glazed look intheir eyes is due to extreme concentration.
        Going baack to Begonias – (did I hear you groan?) I’ve suddenly started worrying about the big, blowsy ones that are grown in pots around town every summer; what if those things that look like leaves are ears? It would explain why the plants drop their slippery petals at my feet – they’re trying to kill me, or at least stop me from telling people the truth. I’ll never again point to one and say how much I hate it.:)

        Liked by 1 person

      10. People listen to me these days too – in a very similar fashion. I put it down to the fact my grey hairs prove I have earned decades of wisdom and have pearls of life affirming guidance to impart. That’s what happens as we age, right?
        And you’re right – those leaves are definitely ears. Maybe that’s why the council use so many in their parks and gardens – just another example of Big Brother in action. If you see me in the news and I’ve been arrested for vandalising some flowerbeds – you’ll know why 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      11. You probably won’t be arrested – you’ll just disappear, never to be seen again, buried under a pile of an evil strain of trailing lobelia – that’s what it’s there for. Please be careful 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Beware of the flowers cos’ I’m sure they’re gonna get you, yea-ea-eah. That’s a quote from a John Otway song – he obviously knows a thing or two about botany 🙂
        Here’s another scary thing – I’m pretty sure Montbretia wants to eat us for breakfast 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      13. OH no! I must warn my friend Elaine – she’s got loads of them in her garden.
        Come to think of it, she’s been complaining of pains in her shoulder, and if her arm has been bitten off it’s no wonder 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.