Wednesday 5 June 2019

Combined #WEPff/IWSG post - My favorite genre, Women's Fiction - "CAGED BIRD" JUNE CHALLENGE - MY #FF, MEMORIES

Hi everyone!
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Alex's awesome co-hosts for the June 5 posting of the IWSG are Diane Burton, Kim Lajevardi, Sylvia Ney, Sarah Foster, Jennifer Hawes, and Madeline Mora-Summonte! 

Please visit if you can!

It's time for the June WEP/IWSG challenge. One of the changes to WEP, other than L.G. Keltner has taken over as host, is that posting can be any time from the first of the month to the third Wednesday of the month.  So I thought, why not combine the two? So ... the June 5 IWSG question:

Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

I'm an eclectic reader and writer, but one of my favorite genres is Women's Fiction, a pretty bleh name, since many 'women's fiction' writers claim over 40% of their readers are men (Jodi Picoult). I like WF as it delves into women's issues and foregrounds women. Unlike Romance, WF can contain a romance, but it's not the main focus and there doesn't have to be a happy-ever-after.  

Like everyone, I have hot-button issues - domestic violence, abuse of women and children - sexual and otherwise, inequitable salaries and promotion opportunities ... you know, just life. Not saying men don't have their issues ...

One of my WF novels which I hope hits the shelves this year has within the storyline - domestic violence, patriarchy, a woman fighting for independence, fighting to be strong. Hmm. Does she reach her goal? Of course it contains a hot romantic element. It is set in Paris after all.

So ... my flash fiction for the WEP prompt CAGED BIRD has the nasty whiff of one of my hot-button issues (boil, boil, boil, rant, rant, rant). My little caged bird is in a metaphoric prison shared by too many women. I hope you enjoy reading, although you may not like the subject matter. 



She was a fool to leave Paris. 

The city where she feels safe.

She was a fool to come back.


Here holds too many memories, too many secrets.

Memories and secrets she can no longer ignore.

She must deal with them or she’ll never reach her potential.

There. In front of her. The beach house, its timbers broken and exposed. Since she escaped, years of relentless tides have eaten away its foundations. It now teeters on the edge of the dunes, on its knees in the sand, ready to surrender to a king tide.

Today the ocean holds no threat like it did that night many years ago. Its gentle waves lap the sand, leaving a trail of silvery froth and grit. Gazing at the peaceful sea, she almost forgets why she ran away from her memories for so long. But the mind holds onto things, remembers things best forgotten, overwhelms in the early morning hours when the body is most vulnerable.

Confronted with the crumbling house, her mind searches its dark recesses, unearthing hidden secrets which she thought buried. Through the years, in her silent moments when the busyness of life paused, it spoke so softly in the gentlest of whispers, as it tried to speak to her of its memories. Then there were other times when her pain rushed to the surface without warning, hurtling through her like a runaway train, threatening to derail her altogether.

She cries, falls to her knees in the wet sand. She no longer wants to carry that heavy sharp stone of hurt which has kept her caged like a helpless bird. 

She no longer wants to be a prisoner to painful memories.

Memories of her last terrible night in the house threaten to drown her in a tidal wave of hurt.


On the night she died to her old life, the wind roared, the rain poured, the waves crashed. The Pacific swirled, rose and fell in a dance of wave and tide. Then the winds calmed, the moon rose and sat outside her window, bathing her in light.

She’d been asleep, tossing and turning like the tide as she did every night. She’d opened her eyes and watched the moonlight creep across her bed like a lover’s soft caress. The sheets tangled and folded over the bed like waves. Kicking off the covers, she threw herself across the bed like a beached whale.

The moon’s light overlooked the angry welts criss-crossing her legs. The welts throbbed, but she had no ointments to ease the pain. But the pain she felt inside at her father’s betrayal was worse than any belting.  There were no ointments to soothe that sharp pain.

The crashing waves heralded high tide. Soon the water would rise to just below her window. The relentless pummeling against the house posts, thump, thwack, thump, thwack, thumpthwack, mimicked the sound and rhythm of her father’s belt as it cut her tender flesh while her mother cowed in the corner, praying. For her husband’s soul? For her daughter’s pain? Why didn’t she do something? Anything … But her mother was as helpless as she.

Father would not be denied his will. She was her father’s daughter. She would never give in. She would not marry the boy from Afghanistan her father chose for her. She would marry the man she loved.

There was a big storm earlier in the night and now the rain starts again. Relentless. Like her father’s demands. He locked her in her room until you come to your senses were his words. She hasn’t been able to communicate with Ahmed since she was imprisoned, but she was not afraid. She would escape her cage. She and Ahmet would be together. As God willed.

She knew Ahmet waited for her beyond the dunes. It was her hope. Her belief.

She wrapped her hand in the end of her sheet and smashed the locked window, thankful the pelting rain muffled the sound of breaking glass. Falling from the window, she was thankful she did not cut herself on the jagged edges. The black night sucked her in. She swam for her life in the treacherous waters, her robe tangled around her knees, threatening to drag her under. Water filled her mouth and nose. Waves slapped her face but fell more gently than her father's hands. She fought the urge to surrender to the elements. No. She has waited too long for freedom. What was this water compared to the joy that lay ahead, a new life with her love? Her name meant ‘Heart’s Wish.’ She would have her wish.

A new life in Paris. With Ahmet.

Her bare feet found sand at last. Running out of the water, she held her sopping robe in her hands and sprinted toward the trees.

‘Emma Dil.’ Ahmed whispered her name from his place on the dunes where he later told her he’d made a shelter and watched her window for many days.

Ahmed held her in his safe arms.

She was home.


Ahmed watches her now from the top of the dunes, next to the crumbling wreck that had been her home when her family first arrived from Afghanistan. Before it became her prison. A few long strides and he is by her side. He gently lifts her from the sand. Cradles her. Rocks her like a baby while she cries in his arms.

Her tears are healing.

She will be whole again.

‘My brave girl,’ he whispers.

Over her shoulder the house groans and lurches, falls into the sea. Its timbers break up like skittles. The tide reaches out its greedy hand and sucks it under the waves.



My main reason for surrendering the hosting of WEP is that I need more time to sort my stories/books for publishing. I have plenty. I am collating a series of short stories from various genres written over my 9 years with RFW and WEP challenges. Most have grown from the 400 word days of RFW and the current 1,000 word limit for WEP to between 2,000 and 4,000 words. The above story may be included in one of my collections, so please comment on how to improve it. As it's a PRESENT/PAST/PRESENT it's easy to make mistakes of tense. 

Thank you!!!!


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