The Twenty-First Birthday

I’ve decided to take part in Ermilia’s Picture it and Write Challenge. This is a weekly writing challenge in which participants are asked to write a paragraph of fiction or a poem in response to the photo prompt given. It can be in a different language, as long as a translation is provided. The challenge is organised by Ermisenda Alvarez, the author of Ermiliablog.

This is this the photo prompt for this week . . .


. . . and here is my first contribution to the challenge:

Whenever he gazed into a mirror, he saw him; statue-still at his side and staring back. When he turned away, so did the image. Enrico was not afraid, just confused as to why this had started happening. His twin had died before their fifth birthday. Now, Enrico’s twenty-first loomed.

Enrico had never come to terms with the events of that day. He and Miguel had wandered off to the river with their little fishing nets. Miguel had lost his footing and plummeted into the water. Panicked, Enrico had fled for help, but by the time Papa reached the river, it was too late. No one had blamed Enrico for what happened – yet he had always blamed himself. If only he’d tried to pull Miguel out of the water before running for Papa…

He reached out to touch the mirror and his brother’s fingers reached out to meet his. As the frisson of reunion surged through him, Enrico saw the accident through his twin’s eyes: his head smashing against the river-rock that had killed him. Miguel had already been dead before he slumped into the water. Understanding swept through Enrico. Miguel didn’t want him to suffer misplaced guilt any longer.

‘Enjoy your life as a man, brother,’ was the last message Enrico received as the image faded into nothingness.

pictureitandwrite2copy-1 (1)

About milliethom

I am a reader and writer of historical fiction with a keen interest in the Earth's history and all it involves, both physically and socially. I like nothing better than to be outdoors, especially in faraway places, and baking is something I do when my eyes need respite from my computer screen.
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13 Responses to The Twenty-First Birthday

  1. Incredibly Poignant………

  2. Wow! What a great story. I love it.

  3. elizabeth stokkebye says:

    sounds like a great idea!

  4. elizabeth stokkebye says:

    and now, I read your image driven story as well – well done!

  5. Oh Danny Boy says:

    Very well written.


    • milliethom says:

      Thank you, Danny. Your compliment is well appreciated. It spurs me on to do more of these challenges. They’re really good practice in cutting out unnecessary detail, aren’t they?

  6. Great piece of writing!

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you for that, Tony! Have you tried any of these writing challenges yourself? Right now, I’m in great danger of becoming addicted to them. I should be writing my book!

  7. Another great story! I love it 🙂

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you again, Heena. This challenge seemed to allow a few more words to be played with. I missed the instruction ‘paragraph’ to start with and wrote a much longer piece, with dialogue in it. Obviously, I had to seriously edit! I really enjoyed working on it, though.

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