Friday Fictioneers: Through the narrow window of the sky

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

When the house and her parents became too much to bear, when the tide was neither out nor in, Molly would run to the beach and the ruined pier.

She’d counted the perfect distance from the rusted beams, one foot in front of the other, toe to toe – nine feet.

Standing just there, with the beams cutting off the endless sky above, snapping short the sand below, she could pretend.

Pretend barrage balloons weren’t jostling the clouds, that barbed wire didn’t loop back and forth amid the dunes and marram grass.

Pretend Charlie was home, safe.

***

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the lovely pic (this week supplied by the very talented writer Sandra Cook), write a story and join the fun. See here to find out how.

During the Second World War, many of England’s lovely beaches were strewn with barbed wire to combat an invasion from the sea. Fortunately, such an invasion never occurred, but still, that sight in itself must have been disturbing for residents, a sign that we were vulnerable, that only the narrow strip of the Channel stood between us and possible defeat.

For a child’s perspective from the time, see here.

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38 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers: Through the narrow window of the sky

    1. Have you based any stories in the pill boxes? I bet you’re tempted! There are strange concrete buildings along part of the A6 out of Buxton, where my mum lives. Pill box like but some are more decorative, they climb the valley, almost overwhelmed by saplings and ivy. Always been fascinated by them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh wow! Would I like to get around them with the camera. And I can see why you say Mayan-looking. I love that grey (complete with bird splatters) and the slightly angled-back shapes.
        Thanks for the link. Appreciated.

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      2. I think past builders and those commissioning buildings saw the decoration as adding to the prestige and importance of a building – they were there to impress, even if it was only a pump house. Now, it’s seen as frivolous on functional buildings and might actually detract from them being taken seriously

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Wonderful, Lynn, just wonderful. The contrast between the child’s pretence and the ugliness of war is stark, and then you hammer it home with the reality of Charlie’s vulnerability. And all in such beautiful language! ‘Jostling the clouds’ is particularly impressive.

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  2. You really are mistress of the miniature, Lynn, as all the above comments attest—not just the setting of scene with unexpected denouement but also the powerful evocation of mood and environment, along with getting inside the heads of diverse people. It’s a talent for empathy that I admire and envy in equal measure. Marvellous.

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      1. I could almost copy and paste this on virtually every bit of flash fiction you do (it’s alright, I won’t embarrass you doing that!) because, frankly, each one is a gem, Lynn. I always look forward to them and am never disappointed!

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  3. Beautiful descriptions Lynn. There’s always something so utterly incongruous about seeing barbed wire and (I imagine) barrage balloons on beaches. Well done, sorry to be so late.

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    1. No apology necessary! Thanks for reading my (very late!) entry. Yes, it must have looked so peculiar, barbed wire on our lovely beaches. There for a good reason, but perhaps more frightening for the lovely setting. Thank you Sandra

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    1. Thank you so much Suzanne. Yes, it must have been a surreal and disturbing sight for locals. Knowing that the government felt we were so under threat from invasion that the wire was necessary … Very worrying. Thank you for reading

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    1. Thanks so much, Gabi. Can’t imagine how frightening it was to live through those times, that low level anxiety at the back of your mind, even when the day brought no tragedy. On top of that was the fact many people were working at least two jobs and it’s no wonder it’s said the war left behind high levels of mental health disorders https://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/10584595/World-War-2-left-toxic-legacy-of-ill-health-and-depression.html

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      1. Yeah. Thanks for the link. I’ve watched a documentary last week about WW2, the attacks, the battles, the crimes–something I hadn’t seen summarized in this way, it was a good documentary and filled me, once again, with anger, shame, and more anger. Frankly, I don’t understand why the allies didn’t flatten Germany, made it a huge national park… it wouldn’t have been undeserved.

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