Flash Fiction 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:
Twelve-year-old Charlie braced himself against the biting February wind, scouring the beach as he walked. Dad would wallop him if he didn’t find any coal washed up on the morning’s tide. Mum needed whatever he fetched to supplement the spindly sticks they collected.
The shiny object suddenly caught Charlie’s eye, just nestling amongst the colourful pebbles.
‘You’ve found it!’ a girlish voice squealed as he picked it up. ‘Mum was heartbroken when she lost it yesterday. She’s had it for twenty years. See, the date she got it’s on the back: nineteen fourteen. And you found it…’
Charlie scrutinised the expensive-looking watch. Dad’d be pleased to have it to sell – but furious if he learnt Charlie’d just given it away.
‘Finders keepers,’ he retorted. ‘That makes it mine!’
The girl’s tears flowed and he thrust her the watch. Dad had always called him ‘Softie’…
Eighty-two-year-old Alice laid the flowers on Charlie’s grave, fingering her mother’s watch. Memories of the day she’d met her Softie were never too far away, and she’d meet him again, very soon.
Word Count: 176
If you’d like to read other entries, or add a story yourself, click on the little blue frog:
My story about collecting lumps of coal on the beach may seem far-fetched to many people, but that’s just what many poor families had to do in earlier times. I was basing the story on my dad’s early life in the seaside town of Southport in Lancashire (a very sandy beach, with sand dunes – and not the pebbly beach in Louise’s photo, which I’ll leave her to talk about). He was born in 1922, and times were hard.
The coal would mostly have been carried down in the rivers from the Lancashire coalfield and out into the Irish Sea. The incoming tide would then wash some of it up onto the beach – where poor families made good use of it.
How Charlie and Alice met in this story was not how my mum and dad (Millie and Thomas) met. At the time when my dad was collecting coal on the beach, my mum was happily growing up eighteen miles away, in Liverpool – until the heavy bombing of that city during WW2 took her to Southport. My home town.