Microfiction: Gone

For Sonya’s three line tales photo prompt.

The photo is ©Wolf Schram


She’d find the place easily enough, he’d said, on account of the big yellow car parked in front of it.

Apart from that, the directions were perfunctory and she didn’t much like the late hour—only time he was available, he’d said—but, as she told her best friend Shana, she did want those boots and that kind of a bargain doesn’t come up every day.

The last person to see her was the bus driver who set her down at the stop nobody ever gets off at, and funnily enough, the yellow car that used to park in the dark street had disappeared too.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

56 thoughts on “Microfiction: Gone”

  1. I laughed so much at Claudia’s comment because that’s so true! And again Jane does it, pulls out suspense in a ridiculously small period of time, showing that maybe after all we do not need to write 900 page tomes though I suspect you could do that also – now I want to know where she is!

    1. You know, I’ve had people ask that of other stories that I’ve left at a point where I imagine no good is happening. While I’ll write quite gleefully the most atrocious horrors in fantasy, I really don’t like writing about real human nastiness. This girl is having a really horrible time. Just take my word for it.

      1. You could just mess with people by NEVER giving them an ending (evil laugh) either way, the ability to conjure the readers interest that fast, should be one many authors learn, as I have read countless books where you really only begin to give a fig 100 pages in. And they, prize winners (makes snorting sound)

      2. We’re always told the art of writing short fiction is nothing like that of novel-writing. But as you say, hooking the reader at the opening of a story is as important in a novel as it is in a three line story.

      3. FYI my friend, I just wrote a poem totally inspired by our last conversation and thus, a poem for you because I knew you’d ‘get it’ even if others did not 🙂 (see what you do?) xoxo I hope you are having a really good weekend xo

      4. You’re so funny! I HAVE! Many years ago. Richard Ankers lives there and I have said I will visit him when I next visit the UK for certain, as I really would like to. I’m sure to find a good part and he has promised me a grueling walk which I really miss living where I do, where there are little places to walk publically and you are liable to be shot! (thank you, thank you but honestly you are the princess of poetry today (and all days) for your gorgeous magnetic poetry I’m deadly serious about printing it out I just adored it)

      5. There is plenty of walking space in Yorkshire. I’ve been lost on the moors several times—not an experience I recommend.
        Print out the poem and put it on a tee shirt if you like. You’ll get some very strange looks 🙂

      6. Really lost? Really? Yikes. I recall being lost once not in Wales but somewhere in France, as a kid, I rather liked it, I think it was a relief! (I’m sure the pleasure wore off after it got cold though)

      7. My mother was map reading, and she couldn’t read a map to save her life. We wandered over hill and dale until past nightfall before we found a road. My mother maintained that somebody had moved the signposts…

      8. I’m of the opinion that those who cannot read maps are the brightest of all – no idea why other than everyone I have known who couldn’t read maps was sublime 😉 (forgot how much I love the word ‘dale’) laughed so hard imagining her saying ‘someone moved the signposts!’ classic!

      9. I will never forget that particular moment. There was hardly any light left. A light drizzle was falling. We’d just walked (on tiptoe) through a field of bullocks and in the bottom of a valley, on a tiny farm road, there was a signpost. It was pointing up the side of a hill. I thought I’d die.

      10. That’s a great answer.
        I also think maybe it’s respect on your part.
        It is perhaps a little cheap to use our parents as our props in our stories.
        I admire those who can create entire worlds without themselves and their experiences in them, I am not sure I can do that very often, but when someone does, I’m awed by how far they can go into alternative worlds without considering themselves and their experiences, that’s true breadth of imagination.

      11. Maybe we add precious people without realising it. I tiptoe around my parents, even though my dad has been dead for twenty years (he was twenty years older than my mother) and my mother for ten. They are still so present, I can’t resign myself to saying, they’ve gone, you can use their characters like the hospital could use their body parts with impunity.

      12. More beautiful lines from you (do I write to you because your responses are little poems in their own right? Perhaps?) – ‘we add precious people without realizing it.’ How very true. and ‘you can use their characters like the hospital could use their body parts with impunity’ you don’t know how to just be ordinary do you? I am seriously thinking you need to write poems on these also. The latter especially that’s genius and so very true. You are too young to have lost both parents and I am truly sorry but believe as you do that they are gone but never gone and always there.

      13. I wasn’t ready for either of them to go, though I am glad I never saw them get old and infirm. I wrote one poem about my mother, and one about my dad. I’ll look them out one day and see if there’s anything more to add.

      14. I agree because seeing someone you love suffer and get old and infirm is awful surely, though their dying earlier than we would ever wish, is extremely hard to live with. It is good you have your family because that is the succor in such a situation.

      15. This is true. I am not a proponent of living massive long lives – some people are so scared of dying and not living 200 years and I don’t really understand or empathize. It seems a little greedy given the short life spans of say, a butterfly. I think on the whole we have a good duration unless cut down prematurely and we should appreciate it more rather than trying to extend life to ridiculous proportions.

      16. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said ‘used to be forty’ because now since people arrogantly assume they will live a long time they feel they have the right to age slower, be immature for longer, and then regress into immaturity once more when retired because ‘the world owes them’ now I realize that’s a very jaded account and not true of many, but of those we refer to it is. I knew a couple of women who were in their mid eighties and honestly it shocked me how immature they were. You’d think it would be ‘sweet’ that they were childish but it wasn’t it was weird, like they had purposely regressed and delighted in being the bitchy school girls they may once have been again. One was always making off color jokes that were really gross (even if you couldn’t imagine an eighty five year old capable of shocking your sensibilities) and the other was just irreverent, something I usually appreciate but in her case, it was an unkind irreverence, like the world be dammed. Neither had kids so absolutely no reason to care about the future. It seemed really awful and my view of the wisdom of age was wrecked! I truly believe some of us only act well when threatened, I suppose that’s why religion worked for a time. Now what will reign us in? I long for the wise sages like my grandmother who really did get wiser with age and was a huge inspiring force. Her kind are no more.

      17. I can’t understand it either. It’s an unnatural phenomenon. Old people should be wiser, have the answers to get themselves out of tight situations to make up for not having youthful reflexes. If they get soft in the head as well as helpless and fat, what use are they to anyone?

      18. Some old people are just so shitty. But then, so are many young ones. I wonder of there’s been a survey done to see if the awful young people turn into those terrible cranky old people.

      19. I think you are a breath of fresh air, a candid woman. Now that rivals one of my favorite books My Brilliant Career, which was also a very good film (Australian)

      20. That’s okay you have probably read more books than most people ever will – a good replacement for the mostly disappointing experience of film watching for every ‘masterpiece’ a plethora of over-blown/hyped mistakes

      21. At least if you pick up a book and find you don’t like it, you can put it down. If you’re stuck in a cinema and hate the film, you either sit it out or make a fuss to leave. Either way you fume all the way home on the bus about the wasted time.

      22. Exactly. I did walk out of a few films and nowadays they’re expensive … I get most of my books out of the library as I have found many MFA authors are predictable and shallow and I take a lot back without finishing them so rather library than purchase and regret

      23. Just read your latest magnetic poetry and AM ASTOUNDED! WOW you did such an incredible job of that. I want to print those words out and put them on a tshirt or my fridge or my arm in a tattoo. Simply superb.

      24. Ah my friend, but you do. Sometimes the muse or inspiration is far more to credit than the author, and that you continually inspire writers, is a credit you shall keep

      25. Strange for those who believe in God, makes sense to me. I deride myself because I believe in Ghosts but not God and that one really doesn’t make sense!

  2. I write a lot of flash just as you do, Jane – leaving just BEFORE the horror begins. You quite rightly don’t have to spell out what’s happening, you’ve given us enough clues to work it out for ourselves. Very nicely done

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