The Things We Cannot Change – Friday Fictioneers (A Triumphant Return)

Ordinarily, I would have pre-amble, darlings, but this isn’t ordinarily. Unless it is, in which case, I suppose I will have a pre-amble. After all, I’ve already started one, so why stop now?

I have been rather busy lately (which is, I realize, a four-letter-word — busy, that is — not lately — I do remember how to count) and so have not been doing much reading or writing — but I do hope to remedy that, and what better way to start than with Rochelle Wisoff-Fields 100 word challenge (you can find out the details here)

The title was what I couldn’t figure. Everything I thought up was a terrible give away, or else gave the story a blackly humourous twist, and that’s not what I was going for (some of you sick puppies can probably imagine some titles once you’ve read it)

Anyhow, darlings, I do thank you for reading, and as time allows I will also be diving back in to read your stories as well.

100 Words

Genre: Tear-jerker


Copyright E.A. Wicklund

Copyright E.A. Wicklund

Emily’s laughter rang out in delight as she chased after seagulls fighting over a scrap of bread.

“-etty!” she cheered ecstatically. “-etty birds!”

Panic gripped her father’s heart, and he tossed a stone angrily at the birds. Running after his daughter, he scooped her up in his arms and began covering her face with kisses.

The girl cried in protest, not understanding her father’s fear, or anger. He wiped the tears away from her one good eye, and cursed himself for what he could not change.

“Don’t worry, sweetheart,” he promised, “Daddy won’t let the birdies hurt you ever again.”



46 responses to “The Things We Cannot Change – Friday Fictioneers (A Triumphant Return)

  1. Very dark, and so much back story that I don’t really want to know about. A minor point of constructive criticism – you’ve got the girl crying ecstatically and crying in protest – I’m not sure that works. (Also, if the birds had got her eye the first time, wouldn’t she be forever scared of them?)

    • Thanks — I’ve replaced the first “cried”. There’s a lot of back story that people can fill in the blanks with. After I finished, and gave it that title, I decided that the father is an alcoholic, and that he is to blame for leaving his daughter (as a baby) unattended — but that happened when she was just a baby — and children forget the things that hurt them, where adults never can.

  2. OMG..when I was 6 I saw the movie “The Birds” at the drive in with my family; aunts and uncles included. I would watch it every time it came on TV after that until it didn’t scare me any more. You just reminded me of that delightful child hood fear and it was fun.

  3. I love the Hitchcock edginess of this story.It does remind me of the Birds which coincidentally I just reread a couple of days ago! I see it as an opening scene to a movie. The fact that the dad is an alcoholic adds another fascinating dimension.

  4. Neat story. I agree with the comment about it being odd for her to approach the birds after having had one eye plucked out by them. I see your explanation, though. Makes sense. Sometimes 100 words just can’t convey everything… 😉

    • When I was a little girl, there was a story in the paper about a baby that got attacked by seagulls — the parents had “only turned their back for a moment”. That story has lingered in my subconscious all these years.

      • That’s creepy, a baby attacked by seagulls. Truth is stranger than fiction! I was glad the comments brought out more of the story, especially the alcoholism.

    • I had originally opened with a line that said something like “The little girl looked like every other girl, and if she favoured her left side more than her right, only her parents knew the reason why.” But as you can see, that is a rather wordy sentence, and so I left off the foreshadowing in exchange for the surprise at the end.

  5. I was just thinking of you and wondering how your projects are going. Good to see you around. I am terrible about reading blogs lately…so this post made me feel better:)

  6. From delight to tears — certainly a dark story. And that would explain her life-long fear of gulls. I think you came up with a good title, one that wouldn’t edge over to the humorous side like “Dad’s Bad Aim” or something like that.

  7. Dear Helena,

    I am reminded of the Moody Blues song, The Eyes of a Child. Your story was very nearly seamless in its simplicity and divergent POV’s. That is hard to pull off in 100 words and you did it perfectly.

    ‘Etty good story, Helena. Thank you for writing it. (Triumphal arch being constructed in honor of your return.)



  8. Lovely to have you back, my dear! I wouldn’t have guessed at the ending, so well done for keeping us in suspenders – err, I mean suspense!
    I am still living in boxes and moved back in August. But then everything is all in a state of flux and I will be moving again soon, so I have decided to focus my energies on more productive things, such as writing and reading 🙂

  9. Glad you’re back, as I’m just getting to know the players… love your theme background. Gorgeous, darling.

    Somehow I didn’t go to the movie/story, The Birds. I saw this as a whole piece, that works and is compelling. The last line makes me want to know the rest of that story… nice.

  10. You went dark and I refrained from killing anyone. My, my how the tables have turned.

    I liked the mystery of the father’s reaction–well played.

    • I thought about expanding this story, but it would be horribly depressing — mother died in childbirth, alcoholic father, nods off in the park while he’s supposed to be looking after his daughter, who gets maimed by a seagull trying to get an ice cream cone from her, and now he’s trying to do everything he can to make up for it, but he is broken. Yeah. Not into writing bleak right now.

  11. Dear Helena,

    I’ll admit I went with the herd to the movie which scared the living crud out of me when I saw it as a kid.
    I loved this uniquely sweet take on the prompt. Pretty amazing you packed it into 100 words.



  12. Love this, great work. I’ve not read the other comments yet as I enjoyed filling in the blanks myself. This is exactly the sort of story I like to read. The less information given, the better.


  13. Amazing story – it flowed beautifully and all in 100 words!
    I loved the contrast between the child’s enthusiasm as she didn’t remember what had happened to her, and the father’s fear (who did).

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