In the Tower, Waiting

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A short piece written for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers weekly challenge. You can find the original prompt here.  Thanks to Sonya at Only 100 Words for the photo prompt!



The duchess watches her daughter and nephew playing at swords. So young, so oblivious. The old and weak, already crowded into the tower, shift back to give the children more space.

Shouts and clashes of steel ring from below. She listens, familiar with every echo of this castle. Ah, beyond the first gate already.

One of those voices is her husband’s. She longs to be fighting by his side. But this last child, this surprise in her later years, placed her here, among the infirm.

She senses for the invisible wards around the tower. Stable, for now.

Pulling her daughter into her lap, she weaves her fingers into the short dark curls. With forced cheer, she chirps about cutting the girl’s hair, what to eat for supper, which victory songs the minstrels could play.

The duchess turns toward the window, so the girl cannot see her face. “Tomorrow.”



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15 thoughts on “In the Tower, Waiting

  1. Excellent! I can feel her emotions in this story. Especially felt in the last sentence in the third paragraph and of course, the last sentence. She’s trying to overcome these “inadequacy” feelings in the next to the last paragraph, which I love. Great story! Welcome to FFfAW and thank you for participating! I hope you will continue.

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    • Thank you for the welcome and the kind feedback! I am definitely planning to participate in future prompts. I’m finding flash fiction to be a fun way to fill in the gaps between my short stories and novels (all set in the same world and often covering the same events). I’ve been so inspired by reading other writers’ submissions, too. Thank you so much for organizing this.

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  2. Brilliant! You conjure up a whole world, but maybe it’s all about to fall apart… “Stable, for now” – that doesn’t bode well.
    Thank you for the pingback 🙂

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  3. Very nicely written, Joy. You enable us to see, hear and feel everything the duchess does. I like the touch of her weaving her fingers through her daughter’s curls and the way she is determined to keep normality for as long as possible. You also paint the picture of what tomorrow may hold very well.

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      • I’m not sure how many of these flash fiction challenges I’ll be able to keep up with, either. But since I’m limiting all the stories I post on this blog to things that make sense for Eneana, the more modern prompts don’t always work, so it’s useful to be able to pick and choose from multiple options.

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      • I’m in a similar position, Joy. The reason I’ve already dropped other ff challenges is because they take so much time away from my third book – which I’m desperate to get on with. It isn’t so much writing the story that takes the time as the follow up and reading and commenting on so many other entries. Much as I enjoy doing that, it does take a long time. It’s not easy keeping so many things going, is it?

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      • Yes, I’m finding the same thing. I used up almost all of my “writing time” this weekend responding to comments on my blog and reading other bloggers’ work and commenting on theirs. If I’m not careful, I’ll end up *only* writing flash fiction because I’ll run out of time for the longer stories.

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      • You sound exactly like me! I’ve been saying for weeks that at the rate I’m going, I’ll have to close down my blog for a while. I don’t think I could really do that – not completely, anyway. I’m certainly going to be cutting down on posts very soon. It’s imporatnt to remember that the more important thing is our own writing. Blogging, to me, is just something nice to do – probably because I’m a chatterbox. So I’ll shut up now and let you get back to your writing. 😀

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      • Luckily for me, my blog IS my writing. I feel a bit of a fraud saying I’m blogging, if all I’m doing is posting my short stories. Which is good, because if I was also posting about other things… well, you can see that I’m a chatterbox too, so you can guess how that would go! 😀

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