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fenced off tracks

In this post I mentioned that prompt are a great way to get the creative juices flowing and get writing. I also mentioned that Anna Spargo-Ryan hosts a weekly Flash Fiction post.

So I decided to take my own advice and join in.

It was harder than I thought, to publish something so quickly and I guess, “undercooked”, especially on the site of a blogger whose writing I consider to be among the best out there, but it is certainly a great exercise for the mind.

So without further ado (I love writing that!) here is my flash fiction to the prompt :

A boy and his mother catch an afternoon train


“Right,” my mother says. “Are you ready?”

I nod, although I’m not really. I feel sick, and more than a little bit scared.

“You can do this,” she says. “Just like we talked about.”

I want to say “Yeah,” but the lump in my throat is stopping me from talking. I manage to nod again and give a half-hearted smile.


We wander around the store for a while, but I can take nothing in. Mum is talking brightly and pointing things out to me. When we reach the right aisle my heart starts pounding. “OK kiddo,” she whispers in my ear “This is it, show me what you’ve got.” Then she is gone, around the corner, to the next aisle, and soon she will be out of the store.


On some level, it feels wrong, I know it’s wrong. But Mum has explained all about right and wrong in this situation. “Who’s it hurting?” she said. “A huge company that makes millions of dollars? You gotta do what you gotta do to survive.” When I tried to point out that this was not really necessary to our survival she says “ Look kiddo, this is special. It’s your first go. It has to be something you really want, the more you want it the better you’ll do. And, if you do right, you can help me with more stuff we need. You can be my special helper, OK?  Besides, this way, you get caught, I can plead ignorance. You know what ignorance means, kiddo?”


I don’t but I say I do. I stare at the toy train in front of me. It’s a small red engine with two carriages. I look up and down the aisle, see no-one. “Who’s it hurting?” I say softly to myself as I take the train and put it inside my jacket the way Mum showed me at home. I inhale as I turn and walk down the aisle, ready to leave the store.


“I’m doing it,” I think as I stride towards the exit. I feel the smile beginning to spread across my face when suddenly a shop assistant in a blue uniform lurches in front of me. “Hey kid, wait.” he says. My heart all but stops. He knows, he knows, he knows my head screams and the train burns red hot against my side under the jacket.


“Here,” he says and shoves a coupon in my hand:

Ed’s Toy Town

Spend $100 and get 10% off. 

“Thanks,” I manage to mumble as I step out through the doors.


I don’t look back as I make my way to the food court where my mother is waiting. I can’t wait to see the look on her face when I show her. She’s going to be so proud.

Be sure to click here and check out the other responses to the prompt, including Anna’s, and if you like join in too!

Have you ever had a go at flash fiction?

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