Stranger at the Monument

A newcomer to Layor brushes up against the locals.

qutub-166958.Qutub Minar.pixabay public domain.

Photo: Pixabay public domain



Esraen scanned the others waiting to view the ancient monument and stooped, conscious of his foreigner’s height.  At the market, he’d seen others with Jovo blood.  Here, at someone else’s religious site, he stood out.  His skin was reddest.  His hair the darkest.  The only man with long hair, the only one with braids.

No wonder their looks whispered, “Oppressor.”

The prophet’s monument loomed higher as the crowd crept closer.  Back home there would have been an orderly line.  Here, nobody could keep shoulders and elbows apart.

“Elshka.”  Esraen winced at his pronunciation.  One word for please or sorry or excuse me.  Such a fuzzy people.  Tuomon had eight words for “sorry” alone.  How did they ever understand each other?

He studied the locals, tried to really see them.  Touching, laughing, frowning.  Even without language, you can learn.

A woman bumped him, tripped, started falling.  He reached out and caught her, forgetting to first wonder if that was rude.

Her face flowed from gratitude to disgust to fear.

“Elshka,” Esraen pled.  “Elshka.”  He smiled warmth to her, willing her to see him.

She nodded.  “Oslava.”  One word for thank you, no burden.  Hesitant, she smiled.  “Oslava.”

It was a start.



Word count: 200.  Esraen is a character in my novel in progress, “Corwallen Manor.”  This is a scene that happens “off stage” because the trip to the town is told from the POV of another character, who didn’t go to the prophet’s monument.  Now I wonder what else happened to Esraen on this trip, since Hallen (the other character) didn’t say much about that.

This is my submission to this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction challenge. Thanks to Al Forbes for hosting, and for providing the photo prompt, below.  To see the other stories or submit your own, click here.

Sunday Photo Fiction.140-01-january-24th-2016

Photo credit: Al Forbes



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12 thoughts on “Stranger at the Monument

    • Thanks! Yes, I’ve been in such situations too, and hope is a useful tool. But it’s hard to judge with these spur-of-the-moment decisions/actions. Luckily he didn’t accidentally grab the woman in the wrong place, or this could have been much uglier.

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    • Thanks, glad you liked it! Yes I agree — and Esraen would too. Of all the characters who moved to Layor to live in Corwallen Manor, he’s the warmest and kindest one, most likely to laugh and smile and make friends with someone even if they only have a few words in common.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Steve! Unfortunately, there’s a long history of animosity and racism between these two peoples. It’s going to take more than even Esraen’s contagious friendliness to change that. But every peace between two individuals makes a difference.

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  1. Oh mind, her “face flowed from gratitude to disgust to fear” within few minutes. Love the way you bring out her expression in just one sentence. Thankfully, she didn’t find it offensive eventually. In some places, men are not allowed to touch women publicly. Hope this is not the case here. Great story! 🙂

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    • Thank you! Yes, after writing all these 100-word flash fiction stories, it’s fun to actually squeeze some world building and culture into *all* of 200 words, what freedom! In the novel, Esraen is also a POV character — I have several, which is either an interesting approach, or a terrible idea for my first novel, we’ll see. 😉

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      • I am having similar problems with mine. I have had to change POV between two people of the same family in one chapter. But in doing so, I made a huge gap that I had to fill. One person walked out of a shop and the next moment sat down at the dinner table lol. A couple of other things happened on the way, but the confirmation of them reaching home was missing.

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      • Well, catching the gap is the first step to fixing it! Although I often find those gaps in time aren’t worth filling in if nothing important happens. I put those happy little three asterisks on a line, signifying a scene change, and bang, we’re at the dinner table.

        I think having multiple POV characters is working now, but when I first started writing the novel a year or so ago, I didn’t even know what “head hopping” was. Some of the chapters I wrote early on are still a mess — even *I* can’t keep track of whose POV it is! Now I’m much better about making sure each chapter or at least each separate scene is all one POV.

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