Friday, 21 October 2011

#RomanticFridayWriters challenge no 24 - My story, 'Whispers.'

Romantic Friday Writers is a blogfest every Friday co-ordinated by myself and Francine Howarth. It is a fun event, showcasing the work of many fine writers of romantic flash fiction or poetry under 400 words. Click on the icon in my sidebar or the link at the end of my post to check out others participating today or join the blogfest yourself. You will be most welcome. We are also found on twitter. We are @RFWER A winner is awarded the recognition of being the week's Featured Writer.

When I considered the theme, Whispers, I thought straightaway of the Brisbane floods and the many tragic stories that unfolded. Here is my story. All expressions and words are in Australian English.

Her heart pounded at the steady drumbeat on the roof. Sunny had never heard rain like it. She was not given to fear but tonight the sounds unnerved her. The whispers of wet leaves blowing on the wind had become a roaring as the galvanized roof took a pummeling.
She thought of Matt. She wished she’d not been so abrupt when he’d rung.
‘Sunny, get out of there!’
‘I’m not leaving my home for some itty-bitty water. I’ve been through worse. We’ve never been flooded.’
‘Don’t be infantile. I might be thousands of kilometers away but it’s looking pretty grim according to the BBC. I can do the math. Our house will be under by metres!’
‘Darling, you’re such a worry wart. It goes with the territory. Nice of you to be so concerned but last time I looked the river was way down. The weather reports never get it right.’
‘You’re so stubborn. Does that go with the territory? I’m sending Josh over.’
‘Don’t waste your time darling. Josh’s already been. I told him I’m staying. I’m a big girl.’
Was that a catch she heard in Matt’s voice as he spoke his final words to her?
‘I love you Sunny. I can’t live without you. Leave for me and the baby if you won’t do it for you.’
She hadn’t listened. Now it was too late.

Sunny pottered around the kitchen fixing a snack, anything to keep her mind off the now raging water. She was afraid to go too near the windows in case they shattered. She could just make out palm trees straining in the gathering gloom, fronds swiping the ground in long wet trails.She sat at the kitchen table rubbing her stomach, whispering to the little soul inside. 
She shivered in the icy coolness. She pulled her parka over her jeans, leaving it unzipped. Baby, you’re so big…
Snack pushed aside, she huddled in her chair, alert to the river sounds. ‘Matt, my darling, I love you,’ she whispered, ‘I’m sorry.’
Crack! A palm tree speared her kitchen window, shattering shards of skittering glass pinged on the tiles. Rain poured in.
‘Help me God,’ she whispered, clutching her stomach.
The phone. 
‘Run!’ Matt shouted down the line. ‘Get the ladder and climb into the roof!’
Water crashed through the kitchen door and swirled around her feet.
She began to climb as the first pain struck.


I hope you enjoyed my story. To read more #RFWer stories go here. 
Word Count: 400
FCA - positive criticism welcomed.



  1. Dear Denise,

    What a story! I'm holding my breath! Please say that she gets rescued. But I'm sure that if this is based on a real flood, that there were many who could not escape.

    You have shown how important good family relationships are for survival in such a catastrophy. She did not believe him. She did not take him seriously. Why was she so stubborn? He was trying to save her life. What a nightmare. And such unthinkable horror for the people who were really flooded.

    You have a knack for transforming real life situations into intriging, well-written stories.

    Excellent writing!

    Best wishes,

    Anna's RFWers' Challenge No. 23-'First Love'

  2. Wow, what a piece! You had me invested from the start.

  3. I'm determined to remain optimistic so in my head she gets rescued by a hunky fireman who she doesn't even notice because she only has eyes for Matt. Then she gives birth safely on the floor of the village hall.

    I think I may care about these characters :-)

  4. Fabulous! This had me from the start. To think of her in labor during the flood on her roof with the rains pouring down and her honey unable to help. It is striking and speaks to all our terrors.

    On a personal note, I was reminded of a time many years ago when we had thunderstorms every day. I lived in a different state at the time. One night, the lightning was so intense I had a panic attack. I was going through some intense personal things and the storm matched my anxiety. When you can bring a reader to the point of reliving their own terrors, that's just good writing. To bad I can't award you the prize.
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

  5. Good tension and description. Nice twist about the baby. Only one word seemed a bit off--Run. You don't need the word "run." The sentence will be stronger without it.

  6. Anna: I'm glad you were into my story. Ah, these women won't always listen. It would be nice if the ending was as you say.

    Isis: Thank you!

    Ann: Glad you were into it sis!

    Sarah: I'm so glad you've extended my story for me, but we don't have villages or village halls over here, ha ha ha. More likely the community hall if she gets rescued.

    Nancy: Don't we all like to hear 'fabulous' about our story. Thanks for sharing your personal story.

    Ruth: Thanks.

    Linda: Thanks for your comment and opinion, but I do like 'run' for this story. Matt would be out of his mind and I could hear him yelling 'Run!' I would too!

    Thanks all for your positive comments. I appreciate them and you all.


  7. Denise, I love it. My job involves a lot of work around the flood aftermath, so it's still uppermost in my mind. Really evocative.

  8. Amie, yes, I was rather distressed to find out the other day that nearly 50% of the flooded homes in Brisbane still haven't been rebuilt. So sad for those people. And so slow...


  9. Hello.
    Oh my goodness...this is so vivid. I can totally feel the tension & the fear. What an intriguing ending too.


    The Sweet Voice Of Love

  10. Denise, your story had me from start to finish, and what a finish! I think you should have this published perhaps as a two part story (so readers can wait for the resolution of the cliffhanger). It's a great short story. Love your subtle yet deep use of 'whispers' too.

    Btw, I left a reply to your comment on my blog.

  11. Brilliantly haunting. Yes, sometimes the wind and the water running down the windows does sound like whispers.

    The tension and emotion in this was gripping. I desperately need to know if she gets rescued.

    So sad that this story could actually have happened to someone in the floods. Great mix of realism and fiction.


  12. Andy: Glad you like it.

    Adura: I might do as you suggest. Perhaps it'll turn up in another challenge.

    Donna: Well, worse things happened. You wouldn't want to know. As I said to Adura, I might write part two...


  13. Oh, wow! What a cliff hanger. This is some gripping story all in 400 words. Brilliantly done, Denise.

    In terms of critique, all I could pick was a run of sentences starting with 'She'. Maybe, you could vary the sentences a bit.

  14. omgosh, so intense for such a short story. Fantastic job!

  15. Kiru: Thanks and for the critique also. Yes, I know, need to see to that.

    Lynda: Thanks for that!


  16. Dear Denise,

    Thank you for your e-mail-letter. I have read it. I appreciate it that you have taken the time to write so much.

    I will reply with an email.

    Best wishes,

  17. A fantastic story Denise, you've captured the reader from the very first word, and tension is around until the last line....great cliffhanger. Excellent read.


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