Posted: February 20, 2013 in dark, fiction, writing
Tags: , , , , , , ,

FlashFictionFriday Broken Barn and white fence copyright-janet-webb

Thank you to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for all her work and organization. You can visit her site and read through the other Flash Fiction Friday postings at:


For those who are new, Rochelle shares a photo prompt to which several #FridayFictioneers compose a 100-word flash of fiction. Come, gather around the circle, it’s story time. Just don’t ask too many questions.

Here’s my contribution:

Telling Truths

Most towns had one, but none like this.” Waldrip mindfully keyed the pipe hollow, tapped out char dispersing black flecks. “This here’s been leanin’ so since maybe seventy years.”

You still remember ’53?”

I’m not playin’, son.” Waldrip pressed shreds of tobacco into the bowl, wet his lips and inserted the stem. He struck a wooden stick, sucked, then began to exhale ghosts. “I was eleven, we all were. Two celebrated birthdays later that year, two put to dirt, one—God only knows.”

Some say you know more.”

It’s true.” The broken man began…

That’s it. 100 words. However, if you’d like another mouthful….

I come by here often, ever since then. Over all these years, I come. I listen. I can still hear them, you know. Don’t take me a fool, I know they’re gone. But I still hear them. They’re just talking at first. They sound almost alive; the taunts, the dares. Kid stuff. But then those sickening wet thuds. ” Waldrip paused a moment and rubbed his eyes with the pads of his thumb and forefinger. Then he nodded toward the ramshackle structure and continued. “It’s like they’re still in there, praying Jimmy and me will find help and get back before it all goes wrong. See, we got out. Squeezed through a gap in the wall boards. But I didn’t run, I didn’t go for help. I just stood there and looked back through the gap. Stood there and pissed myself ’cause of those sounds from inside. They were just boys, they were clubbed and then hung up like pigs by hooks and chains. You can still see ’em if you go up there. They look rusty but that’s not rust. And I can smell it. Do you know the smell? There’s a scent that gets inside that upper deepest part of your nose, the part closest to your brain. Gets up in there like a fuckin’ crab in one of them hermit shells and latches on. Uses your skull like a house or some shit.”

Did Jimmy get help?”

That he did. He got his father. His mother went for the sheriff and old Mr. Jameson, his farm and all. You know what they found, that’s all part of the public record.”

Yes, Mr. Waldrip. But what is missing from the record is who done it.”

Now that there is the question then, ain’t it.”

Indeed. How about we put this baby to bed?”

Son, if you were smart as you think you are, you’d let this sleeping dog be.”

I’m just seeking the truth, Mr. Waldrip.”

The truth. If you want the truth then why don’t you go on up there and peel back one of them boards. Have a look for yourself.”

Are you trying to scare me, sir?”

Whatcha? Chicken?”

Did you think I’d give you a clean ending?


  1. Yuck!! I liked the descriptions of…him using the pipe. Did you think I’d say “wet sickening thuds?” 🙂


  2. Janet said it quite well. Yuck! This left me feeling all kinds of ick. Well crafted, if highly unsettling.

  3. Sandra says:

    Totally gruesome, and that’s not only the description of the pipe-smoking procedure… Nice one, glad you gave us the second part, if incompletely.

  4. Stomping my foot and demanding a clean ending. Oh well. No use. I swallowed the hook and read the second part. Could either be a Criminal Minds episode or Twilight Zone. Well done as always, JK.

  5. Joe Owens says:

    You have a way of building our expectations. I suppose we cannot expect a clean ending though, it is the way to lure us back next time.

  6. Tom Poet says:

    I read the whole thing…you suckered me in! Great job!


  7. thevixenfiction says:

    What a fantastic voice.. Perfectly crafted…

  8. rgayer55 says:

    I read it all too. It’s an unsettling story, but extremely well told. I can always count on you to leave me hanging. Well done.

  9. Hi J.K.,
    Enjoyed reading the whole tale. But I like the way the first 100 words leaves a lot more to the imagination. ron

  10. yebuccaneer says:

    Ah…that was clever! Strong atmosphere there. It was The Twilight Zone, yes.

  11. Grrrr! I was SO into this story and wham, you shut the door! Left me hanging again! Nice job but my mind is conjuring up all kinds of experiences for the curious young man.

  12. billgncs says:

    ha! You got me! I read all that way too!

  13. kz says:

    this was really great.. the 100 words and the rest of it.. love the voice that you used, felt so real. well done as always

  14. Parul says:

    thanks a lot for going beyond 100 words or I would have kept wondering what was going on.
    though you didn’t give a lot away, the ominous feel became more pronounced in the later part. I am better equipped to draw my conclusions now.
    Very nicely written!

  15. Green Speck says:

    You are an amazing author Sir … your micro-fiction had me wanting for more !!!

  16. Debra Kristi says:

    You sucked me right in and fully immersed me in a sad and gruesome tale. Your voice and use of descriptives is pure art.

  17. Bee says:

    I love the phrase “exhaled ghosts,” excellent metaphor and foreshadowing.

  18. k~ says:

    I like the style you wrote this in, and the dialect you used in the dialogue. Thanks for adding another “mouthful” for us to enjoy.

  19. annisik51 says:

    Something nasty happened and some people died. I liked the ‘exhaling ghosts’ bit.

  20. Gruesome tale, and you had me reading it all to the end 🙂

  21. 40again says:

    I didn’t expect a clean ending, one day you will surprise me. Well written and very unsettling

  22. “began to exhale ghosts”– beautiful image.

  23. Tad says:

    Clean endings are for fairy-tales. I like your prose. The truth is elusive …perhaps the only thing we can count on in the end is our tenacity to delve deeper into the possible. Wonderful take on the prompt. Thanks for sharing.

  24. abraham says:

    I think I should have stopped at 100 words. Gripping!

  25. Sarah Ann says:

    I enjoyed both the long and short version, although I’m not sure enjoyed is the right word. Great story telling.

  26. Pam says:

    Great reading JK! Always a pleasure!

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