Plenty of Open Space – FFfAW

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. It asks that we write a piece of fiction from the given photo prompt in around 100-150 words – give or take 25 words. . 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 at thestorytellersabode:


And this is my story:

Plenty of Open Space

Bernie could never have enjoyed a life of affluence on what they paid him as a gardener, and he’d wanted much more in life than working on some lord’s estate. Looking back, he could see he’d set his sights too high. Tending gardens had been a peaceful job after all, and the fresh air and open space had been good for the soul.

Temptation had just got the better of him and he’d fallen in with the wrong crowd. The robbery had cost him ten years of his life, as well as the girl he’d planned to marry. He’d been on his own after that all right, with no hope of any job after his release.

‘Gov’nor wants t’ see you,’ the prison officer had said, throwing back the cell door. ‘He’s an offer for you…’

Bernie hoed round the flower beds, his memories of his years ‘inside’ fading. He was gardener at the Gov’s big house now, with a regular income and plenty of open space.

But his girl had long since gone.


Word Count: 175

If you’d like to read other entries, or add a story yourself, click on the little blue frog:

47 thoughts on “Plenty of Open Space – FFfAW

    1. Yes, perhaps I should continue the story and see whether Bernie really has learned to be satisfied with what he has. I suppose it could go either way… Thank you Carina! 😀

  1. Wonderful story Millie! I could feel his melancholy through your descriptions. He has lost his fiancé but at least he has a good job – if he doesn’t blow it!

    1. Hi Morgan.Thank you for liking my story! Doing these challenges is a lot of fun and I’m sure you’d really enjoy them. The time-consuming part is reading/commenting on as many other people’s stories as you can. You don’t have to, of course, but it’s a nice thing to do to support the ‘community’. I’ve only recently come back to writing flash, as I’ve been too busy writing my own books, and I did miss it.
      Hope all is well with you two up there (in Hull?). 🙂

      1. I hope your books are going well! I think I’ll participate in a writing challenge soon – or at least, start writing short stories for myself.
        We’re both great thank you :). (And yep, Hull! Good memory). Hope you’ve been well too.

      2. Short stories are a good place to start if you want to write, but flash is even shorter. The communities are made up of people with all levels of writing skills, and it’s great to get feedback. I’ve see lots of writers really improve over the weeks.
        I haven’t been on my blog a lot this year. I’m just about to publish a book of flash fiction pieces and I want to finish Book 3 of my trilogy this year! It should have been finished months ago. Glad things are going well for you both. 🙂

      3. That’s a good point. I’d like to try flash writing. I think I’ll try that this year.
        That’s so exciting. I’ve always wanted to write a book. I’ve been writing short stories since I was super young!

      4. If you have a lot of good short stories, you cold always make them into a book. There are plenty of short story collections on Amazon.

    1. Thanks, Izzy. I suppose we all make mistakes in life, but some mistakes have longer lasting consequences. It will probably take Bernie some time to put what he’s lost behind him completely.

  2. Pretty much back where he started, but with less than he had before. It’s a shame he couldn’t have been satisfied with what he had. Great story!

  3. Great story, Millie. Nicely constructed and a strong pay off. Love the way you’ve managed to cover several decades of Bernie’s life in so few words and the text doesn’t feel clunky for it. Nicely done indeed 🙂

    1. Thank you, Lynn. 🙂 I wasn’t intending to do a story this week, but Louise (my daughter) wouldn’t have been very pleased if I hadn’t responded to her prompt! We all have lots of photos of Heligan, as well as dozens of other wonderful sites in Cornwall. 🙂

      1. Lou tells me you’re from Bristol, so you wouldn’t have too far to go to Cornwall. It’s all rather crazy down there with traffic in the summer holidays, but it wasn’t too bad at the beginning of June when we were there. Did Lou tell you we met up with Ali! That was quite a treat. He really is a nice man. 🙂

      2. No, you’re tight, we’re in the right-ish corner of the country. As you say though, the traffic is hell at this time of year. Such a gorgeous place is surely worth it, even during the summer hols 🙂 And he seemes like a nice man from his comments, how lovely you were able to meet up. The only online friends I’ve met were from a writing group and that was lovely experience, though I’m sure in reality people are often not what we imagine them to be.

      3. That’s very true. Many people are different in real life than how they seem ‘on paper’. But Ali is just as nice and friendly as he sounds. I have several blogging friends I’d love to meet up with, but places like New Zealand and the U.S. are not just a drive away. But, one day I’ll get out to see Ineke (Scapydo) in NZ (so I suppose I ought to start saving up! Lol). 🙂

      4. That’s the joy and also the downside to being part of an international community – the likelihood of meeting some people is pretty low. But we have fun in our virtual home, so we shouldn’t complain 🙂

  4. Great story! After ten years Bernie is back to the gardening, but this time with a different appreciation of the open space, and, alas, sans girlfriend. Wonderful 🙂

    1. Hi Az! I haven’t been completely off my blog for a while now, although most of the posts I’ve done over the last few months have been about places we’ve visited. I’ve recently been getting back into flash fiction, but so far, doing only one a week. The third book of my trilogy is coming along very well now, although I took time off from writing it to get my book of flash fiction finished. I hope to have that on Amazon in a week or so.
      I hope all is well with you. Have you had time away from your blog, too? I’ve been out all day today, but will visit your blog in the next day or so. Lovely to hear from you again. 🙂

      1. Hi Millie, you have been busy! I haven’t been in the blog for a while, have been busy writing short stories, some of which I finally got around to posting yesterday. As much as I love the old flashies, I’ve been trying to work myself up to bigger projects, trying to finish some of the stories which have been collecting dust in the scrivener folder for a while 😉 stay in touch!

      2. Hello again, Az. Well, I’ve been busy writing more flash pieces for my book – at the expense of getting on with my trilogy. (Probably not a good idea!) I enjoyed writing the stories, though. I didn’t want the Flash Fiction book (called ‘A Dash of Flash’) to be made up entirely of stories previously published on my blog.
        I knew you hadn’t been on your blog, and wondered whether you were writing, too. I noticed you’d posted some longer stories now, and I’ll read a couple as soon as can. It’s a good idea to take time off sometimes to develop your writing in other ways. Once you get used to longer stories, you might even be able to extend one into a novel. I’m really going to have to get cracking with mine now. It should have been finished months ago. Talk again soon… 🙂

    1. Yes, this story isn’t the most cheerful thing I’ve ever written. 🙂 I started out to write something quite different but, somehow, it evolved into this. I’ll think happy thoughts next week. 😀

  5. oh, my kind of story! It left me wanting to know more. I found you through Louise! I too write stories or try! 🙂 and historical posts as well. I love to travel when I can! Glad to meet you!

    1. Thank you so much! And thank you, also, for following me. Louise has said so much about your photography posts and I know she loves your blog. I already know that you love travelling – she’s mentioned your wonderful holidays. I adore Scotland, too, and have been up to the Highlands many times. I’ll be sure to check out your stories, too. Are you intending to write a novel, one day?
      I do a lot of posts about places we’ve visited, but I’m no photographer. My husband (Lou’s dad, of course) and I just take what we can when we’re away and hope they’ll be of some use! We’re hoping to go to Iceland in September, so I’ll post about that, eventually. Lovely to meet you, too. 🙂

      1. all travel photos are wonderful as are yours. I will be spending some time to peruse your blog too. I love the highlands -and Ireland – both branches of family!! I’m flattered that Louise has mentioned my blog to you! Thank you so much for popping over!!

      1. Hello again, Joan. I’ve just popped over to read your story, and noticed I can’t comment. Is that right, or have I looked in the wrong place (which would be typical of me!)?

    1. Thanks, Chioma. Don’t worry about being late. I’m the world’s worst (or perhaps it’s the world’s best) at being late with comments.
      I’m fine, just busy with my writing. I’m just about to get my flash fiction book on Amazon (once it’s formatted) and I’m getting on quite well now with Book 3 of my trilogy. Doing the two books at once was a bit chaotic, though. (Bad idea, altogether – but I’m glad it’s done now. )
      I hope all is well down there in London, too. 🙂

      1. Oh wow thats’s a lot to take on at once.
        Well done.
        We’re doing just great thankfully.

        Look forward to reading all your books, hopefully rectify that by christmas.

      2. Chioma, that’s a wonderful thing to say, but I wouldn’t expect you to read all three of my books. Just being you blogging friend has been lovely – even though I’ve been away from my blog a lot this year. If you’d like to read one of them, the flash fiction book – which should be on Amazon soon – is the shortest (also the cheapest). I don’t think you have too much time on your hands. Few young mums do. ❤ 🙂

    1. Thanks, Jason. Still waiting for my book to be returned by the designer who is formatting it for me. I’m not sure why it’s taking so long, other than he’s been on holiday! Lol He did all the covers for my books and is usually very quick! I know his business is booming, so I suppose I might be in a queue. I’ll contact you as soon as I can. 🙂

    1. Hi, Amanda. I hope you had a great holiday! I know you’ve been off your blog for a while. (I’ve been on-and-off mine all year!) I’ve done three flash stories in the last few weeks, but I won’t be doing one very week. I just haven’t the time.
      If you’re posting again, I’ll pop over as soon as I can. 🙂

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