round door Toby Oxborrow flickr

Photo credit: Tony Oxborrow

Tallen stumbled, weak from walking.  Some adventure this had turned out to be.  His coin had run out weeks ago, and the few Pyanni who’d hire a raggedy-looking foreigner paid little.

He’d hoped to find a welcoming-house here, in the city’s foreign quarter, but wandered in vain.

Finally, Tallen turned a corner and saw it.  The traditional round door.  The paint was faded and chipped, but the street in front was well swept.

Inside, someone sang cheerfully to a lute, people laughed, dishes clanked.

He brushed the dirt from his clothes.  Straightening himself as tall as he could, he knocked.

A crack appeared, and a silhouette.

Tallen raised his palm in the sign of greeting and bowed, touching his forehead.

The door opened wide.  The woman was tall, red-skinned, in northerner garb.  A Pyanni.  He stepped back.  He would have to keep looking.

She smiled. “Hello, my friend.”

As he choked back a sob, she pulled gently on his sleeve.

“We’re so glad to see you.  Come in, please.  Are you hungry?  We have soup.”


Inspired by this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge — thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting!  See the original photo prompt below, and click here to read the other stories and to submit one of your own.


Photo credit: Uday


35 thoughts on “Welcoming

  1. I was wondering why he thought he would have to keep looking when the Pyanni woman opened the door to her home. It’s great that she was so welcoming to him – he certainly needed that at this point in his life! Great story, Joy!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you liked it, Joy! In the first part, it says that he’s a foreigner who’s been traveling in Pyann, and is poor and raggedy looking, and has not has good experiences trying to find work with the local Pyanni. So when he sees that the Welcoming House is run by a local instead of by a foreigner like him, he assumes that she will not be kind to him. But she is.


  2. What I love about all your stories is that you offer little glimpses into this world you built. Love the idea of the welcoming-house, and how you make him confront his prejudices. Great stuff 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. So nice. Tallen found a welcoming place. Perhaps, a place he can work in or for and call home. Love this world you created. You’ve done it in so much detail.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Lou! Yeah, the prejudices against the “other” can run high in these parts of Eneana, on both sides. And being raggedy and poor doesn’t help. But hopefully there’s always a Welcoming around the corner. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The main message I get from your story, Joy’ is that there are good and bad, kind and harsh people in all ‘races’. And I liked the way that message came through in Tallen’s story. After being turned away by so many Pyanni, eventually he found one, kind and helpful … and welcoming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes exactly, Millie — plenty of goodwill and badwill on both sides of any fence. In this case, I think most readers immediately side with Tallen, but try thinking of it from the locals’ perspective. They don’t have to be such bad people to not go out of their way to help this traveler. Imagine some young foreign man shows up, a stranger, he looks poor and bedraggled, you don’t know if he’s dangerous, maybe he’s trying to trick you, steal from you. He asks you if he can work for a little coin — but if you have any work that needs doing, you’re probably already paying someone you know to do it, someone local that you can trust. What kind of “extra” work and extra coin does this stranger expect you to come up with? So the fact that he says the local Pyanni pay “little” at least indicates that some of them are hiring him and paying him *something*. And for all we know, Tallen isn’t the first guy who’s asked this week, or even this morning! So to him, these locals seem awfully unfriendly, but to them it could be totally different.

      Liked by 1 person

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