A Deadly Game – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. It asks us to write a piece of fiction from the photo prompt provided in around 100-150 words – give or take 25 words. It encourages us to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the above link to see what to do. The challenge runs from Tuesday to Tuesday every week.

Here is this week’s prompt, kindly provided by Louise:


And this is my story:

A Deadly Game

Dusk was falling when Nicole heard the first, distant toot of the 7.15 from Edinburgh. The September air was chill and she hugged her slender frame to stop herself from shivering. The station was deserted, and few people ever alighted the train at this remote spot.  She was grateful for that…

The great engine heaved to a halt, a proud warhorse engulfed in billowing steam, its huge brakes screaming displeasure of the controlling rein.

Gripped by fierce determination, Nicole waited for the face to appear at an opened carriage window. Lancasters roared overhead, heading for mainland Europe. Would this cursed war never end?

‘Nicole,’ the man’s voice called.  ‘Be quick, before the whistle blows.  What you got for us?’

The gun with its silencer felt reassuring as she pulled it from her bag and fired, straight at that detested brow. She’d spent months, working undercover for MI6, to gain this traitor’s trust. Passing him false information was a deadly game.

This traitor would betray his country no more…

Word Count: 168

If you’d like to view other entries, click the little blue frog below:

I hate to say it, but I’m very much in danger of becoming a ‘Steam Engine Geek’. I’ve spent a lot of time in recent years visiting heritage railways and museums, mostly to satisfy grandson, Kieran. Between us in the familiy, we have hundreds of train photos. Louise has visited many of these sites too, but her interest lies mostly in photographing the engines for photography’s sake. She’s also very clever at editing photos, and I love what she’d done with this one. I couldn’t help writing something historical for it. The woman on the station is my eldest daughter, Nicola – with somewhat ‘edited’ clothing! Now, she is definitely not a train geek. She always stands with folded arms when she’s bored to tears!

I’ve done my ‘extra information’ as a separate post this week, as it somehow ended up being a bit too long to put here. For anyone interested, you can find it here.

83 thoughts on “A Deadly Game – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

  1. Wonderful story! So many great images and word weaving! Nicola is the woman standing by the train? As always it is a remarkable story Millie! Louise did do a wonderful job with this photo. It has stimulated many people’s muse. Thank you, once again, for participating in the FFfAW challenge!

    1. Thanks PJ. It was going to be quite a
      different ending until I got half way through, and then this idea came to me.I loved this prompt. I hadn’t seen it before it came into my Reader. I wasn’t in Grosmont with them at that time. Nick and I went somewhere else that day.

  2. Perfect. Nice use of an absolute phrase. The only thing that could have been better is to have incorporated an allusion to Anna Karenina ( you can find out about Anna and trains when you’re done with Vanity Fair, naturally).

    1. I remember watching the TV serialisation of Anna Karenina many years ago. I hate to say, I don’t remember much about it. So, I suppose I ought to add that one to my list of TBR! I’ll get to Vanity Fair very soon. Thank you, Prospero.

  3. Very nice!
    Hard to decide if I like Nicole’s or Nicola’s story better. 😉
    After seeing the other color pictures in Louise’s blog I was wondering about the lady in the picture… Now I know!

    1. Ha ha! very clever, Etol. Nicola always wanted to be called Nicole. she thought it sounded very French. She’d probably have a fit if she saw herself in that long dress. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Huma. It’s a bit different -and it started out to be a love story! Then I thought… ‘Nah … I did that last week.’ I’m glad it worked OK. You never know, do you…? 🙂

  4. This was a great tale Millie and I have to say your explanation was equally interesting. Yes Louise is a very clever though I wonder if Nicola enjoyed being referred to as bored with arms crossed…lol

    1. Thank you, Michael! As for Nicola – she won’t know what I said because we’re not going to tell her! She won’t like the clothes she’s wearing in the picture, either! She’s a lovely girl (of 42!) but she’s never too happy when Kieran (her son) drags her around trains. That’s where the rest of us come in. Nicola usually stays at home. 🙂

    1. Thank you for such a lovely comment, Uday. It’s very much appreciated. I’ll be going through other entries later on, so I’ll catch up with your story then.Best wishes, Millie. 🙂

  5. This is a beautiful story and I’d like to read it again and again. Though, it’s a repetition but yes wonderful word weaving here 🙂
    Louise is your daughter? Am I right? She’s brilliant in editing photographs and I enjoyed reading her stories 🙂

    1. Thank you for the very kind words, Madeeha. It was going to be a love story until I changed my mind half way through. I did a love story last week. 🙂 And yes, Lou is my second daughter – the fourth of six children. Nicola is the eldest, and only other girl. We’re so outnumbered by males! Lou has loved photography since she got her first little camera as a little girl We can’t move without being photograhed! She writes beautifully, too. Now I’ve babbled on a bit too long. Best wishes to you. Millie. 🙂

  6. I always wonder how you keep your story short while keeping your story interesting. All I can can say is your writing is truly brilliant. I always end up having some sorts of dreams after reading your stories Millie. This is a nice story which keeps me dreaming all day 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. Thank you, Khloe! What a lovely comment. I did a love story last week, so this is a little different. 🙂 The prompt was from Louise (my daughter) and I loved the way she edited it. It seemed to shout of the 1940s – 50s. The woman in the photo is my eldest daughter, Nicola, with very edited clothing! I was born in the 1940s and remember the 50s so well. I grew up with steam trains, and travelled on them a lot. They are magnificent things! 🙂

      1. You’re most welcome😊. I love how you make it different compared to the love story last week. Oh wow! You guys are so talented !! She did an amazing job on editing👍🏻 Wow it is wonderful to travel on them I’m sure! 😉

      2. Yes, it’s lovely to ride on these old trains again. It takes me back to my childhood, when I travelled on them everyday to get to school. Thank you for your lovely comments again, Khloe. 🙂

  7. Lovely story. You built the scene so well in my mind’s eye, but can’t help feeling it was a shame you had to fit it in so few words, I think it would have been great to read it a short story seeing more of the man himself and of Nicole’s thoughts/emotions. Definitely glad you didn’t go for love story 🙂

      1. I think I’d need to live to at least a hundred at that rate! Funnily enough,Bekki, I could probably thingk of a few stories about a female James Bond in wartime. 🙂

      2. No sure that’s my sort of thing. And between you and me I’m reassessing the whole fiction writing thing.

      3. Well, I’d be very interested to see just how you reassess it, Bekki, but I imagine it’s not something you’d post about along with all the craft-work and creativity posts you do. On the other hand, you do offer lots of advice about making progress and attaining goals. Would your reassessment come under that heading? What genre do you write, if you don’t mind me asking? (No need to answer, if you’d rather not. I’m not trying to pressure you.) Have a great Tuesday! 🙂

      4. Hi Millie, of late I’ve been writing, mostly historical for children, but I’ve written all sorts for magazines – fiction and non fiction. As you’ve probably spotted from my site I have written two coaching related books and one about using NLP in the craft of writing, but no, I’m not thinking of goals stuff 🙂 The reassessment is far more about earning some money being more crafty and not writing 🙂 So I suspect I will be blogging about it, but not until I know exactly what it is I’m doing!

      5. I knew you’d written for magazines, Bekki, and that you had your coaching books. I didn’t even know you had a particular interest in historical fiction, let alone wrote it. Is it fiction or non-fiction? I suppose earning money is most people’s goal, whether they write, paint or do other ‘crafty’ things. (Why does that phrase sound silly?) Anyway, I’ll be interested to find out how things work out for you. 🙂

      6. Fiction, but as I say, I’m stepping away – at least for now. I wouldn’t say earning money is my top goal – I’d be doing something else if it was! I think money always comes into it, both from a feeding/clothing yourself etc point of view and also because it’s so hard to step away from society valuing us more if we earn money!

      7. That last point is so true. My too daughters rear up big time at that aspect of modern society. It’s a sad side of modern life in many cultures in the world. I’ve often considered writing non-fiction, but am fixated on fiction for now. I hope whatever you do, is productive and satisfying in every way you’d like it to be.

    1. Thank you, Ali.It’s funny you should mention the deserted station. I originally had, ‘She wanted no audience for what she had to do’, following that statement. I removed it due to word count, then decided it probably worked better without it anyway. 🙂

  8. Aha! A very talented tale. I couldn’t resist reading the wealth of info you’ve added. I too have fond memories of the ‘steam era’. I used to rush from one side of the bridge to the other to catch the steam and when I was feeling naughty I would put pennies on the rails and then run down to find the squashed and deformed pieces afterwards. I guess you could say I’m lucky to be here today 😉
    Well done Millie!

    1. Ah, so now the truth comes out! So many kids of our generation did the same sort of things, and most lived to tell the tale. Trains weren’t the high speed ones of today, nor did we have electrified lines, so the danger was definitely less.But tricks like that were still enough to give most mums a heart attack! You should write your Memoirs, Graham. 🙂

      1. I certainly have a lot to say but want to concentrate on my short story and develop my book before attempting anything else. On the other hand I have so much fun writing that it might be a shame not to add it to the list!

      2. Memoirs from the 50s and 60s are doing very well at the moment. I’ve been tempted to do one myself, once I’ve finished Book 3 of my trilogy. I’ve seen a few for sale on Amazon and in bookstores. Short stories are a good way to start, but writing them is a completely different ball game to writing a novel. Shorts are good for practising the basic punctuation and grammar, and so on. And WP is a great place to be for feedback.

    1. My ‘spy daughter’ has no idea that this photo has been used – or discussed! She hates her photo being taken even more than I do … and she’s so very pretty! Lou and I daren’t tell her. Unfortunately, Kieran (her son) often has a look on our blogs, so I’m expecting fireworks before long!
      Do you know that if I wasn’t still stuck in the 9th century, I could probably write a continuation of this! Thank you, snowsomewhere. 😀

  9. Great story, Millie. While reading, I envisioned Nicole throwing herself onto the tracks. I much prefer your ending!

    1. Yes, I imagine the story could have been construed that way. And that’s
      what makes it all so much fun! We all interpret things in different ways. Thank you, Emilio! My ending is still, perhaps, gruesome to some, though not without motive. 🙂

  10. Great story, Millie! And, Louise certainly did a really nice job with the photo. Nicole’s months of undercover work paid off well. Thankfully there are people like her, that will put their life in danger for their country. Great idea of putting your daughter’s picture in the photo…it looks like she was there when the photo was taken! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Jessie. Nicola was always in the photo. Lou just edited her clothes, to make them look more in keeping with the time period of the photo. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Nicola in a long dress and cardigan. She really does fold her arms when she’s bored, though. That part was real enough. 🙂

  11. I found myself going wow over the picture, Louise did a marvelous capture and editing of the picture.
    When I started reading the story, I automatically thought she was going to meet her lover, and then I saw M15 and knew you totally got me! The traitor is down and hopefully the war is coming to an end. Great story

    1. Thank you, Ameena. 🙂 The picture worked well as a prompt for lots of us this week. Nicole was going to meet her lover until I changed my mind half way through the story! I thought I’d have a bit of intrigue this week. 🙂

  12. Oh yikes! I used to work with a woman named Nicole…ya just can’t trust women named Nicole 😛

    On the other hand, this traitor got what he deserved in a surprising ending. Another great piece, Millie.


    1. I’d check that woman out very carefully, if I were you – especially her bag. You never know what she could be carrying round in there. Thank you for liking my story, Ellespeth. 🙂

  13. What a story! I love how you write about the steam engine – I can tell that you are very familiar with them. The photograph is great and splendidly edited. The dress looks very authentic. A perfect illustration to a perfect story.

    1. That’s such a lovely comment, Inese. Thank you so much for that. Lou will be really pleased to have a compliment about her photo from a photogragher like you. And thank you for liking my story. I wanted something a little different for this one. It was a real surprise when I saw that PJ had picked one of Louise’s photos for this week’s prompt.

    1. Louise will be chuffed you said that. 🙂 She’s liked taking photos since she was about seven, and has never lost interest. She rarely goes anywhere without her camera. Thank you for liking my story, too. I don’t know when I’ll get back to flash fiction writing. Once I get home from Malta I really am going to concentrate on my book. I’ll still be doing odd history and travel posts, though. I’ve got lots to write up from all the outings we’ve had over the summer. I’ll still continue with my WOW posts, too. So I’ll still be around for a chat now and then. 😀

      1. That’s good you won’t be abandoning WP entirely. At the same time I’m also happy that you’ll be working on your book…that’s (very) important too. Wish you all the best with it Millie. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.