Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction challenge: Hurry


Lovers by Felix Nussbaum


‘Hurry,’ whispered Con.

His breath was warm in the cold air, salted with Scotch, his whiskers brushed her cheek, a spider’s leg tickle that made her itch.

‘I dont understand why now. And why the oast house?’ Her voice was a child’s whine, tired and tetchy from a day at play. She hated it.

‘We don’t decide the where and why, Sian. They tell us and we jump.’

His arm pressed her tight to his side, as if he was afraid she’d stumble on the cobbles – or run.

Then the brewery was ahead of them – gate thrown back wide on sagging hinges – and the air grew thick with the green scent of hops, of woodsmoke, of bricks baked to rock by years in the kiln. Sian suddenly wanted home and the fire and Ma darning socks, eyes straining in the light of a single oil lamp.

A figure emerged from the shadow of the oast house. A tall man, cap pulled down low. The clouds fled, the moon shone full, bouncing off a pattern of metal loops, a pole cradled in the man’s arms.


‘Forgive me Ma,’ whispered Sian as she was led inside.


Written for Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge. Use the well chosen painting as the springboard for a story. See here to join in and to read the other tales.


15 thoughts on “Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction challenge: Hurry

  1. Very sensual! I wonder what illicit organization they belonged to? Did you intentionally create false trails, like the names, that could be Irish and Welsh, the scotch on his breath, and the oast houses that I associate with Kent? Very clever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks su much Jane.
      The names were intentional, a hint at a minority group living within and fighting against a larger ethnic body that are oppressing them. I guess I had in mind a paramilitary organisation and their new recruit has been drawn in through her gentleman friend. I liked the idea of the oast house because I’m sort of drawn to industrial premises (mills, hatmakers, sweat shops) as settings for stories and such a bucolic setting as a venue for insurrection appealed. I have a whole idea for a murder mystery set in a tannery which might be written up one day 🙂


      1. Absolutely. I know novel and short story writing are totally different disciplines but I do think the flash fiction I’ve written has helped my writing become more streamlined for longer projects too, searching for the right words rather than just throwing down a rough approximation of what I mean. All good 🙂


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