The Bell Tolls (A Friday Fictioneers post)

Friday Fictioneers is a great excuse for a bit of Flash Fiction.  With a new photograph prompt each week there is plenty of room for creative fun!  Here is my attempt for this week based on the below.

Broken Mushroom

The alarm rang urgently through the fine morning mist, forcing its way through their dreams.  It took only seconds for the first surge of fear to rise from the earth below.

“Intruder!  Intruder!”

“Where?  I can’t see anything!”

“At the shoreline…run!”

They swarmed out of their musky dwellings onto the damp earth above with no thought to their haphazard attire.  Some ran in pyjamas, some managed to squeeze into odd shoes and others had thrown on inside-out jumpers or coats over their nightwear clutching at their personal treasures.

Fear bit deep into their hearts as they saw that the great Fung Tree by the shoreline of the Great Sea had already been broken in two.  They pushed on.  Mothers’ grasped their babies tightly to their chests while the elderly were bundled into life-barrows and wheeled shakily across the dusty earth to where they hoped safety lay.

Then the screaming began.


[Photograph writing prompt taken from:]

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36 Responses to The Bell Tolls (A Friday Fictioneers post)

  1. I really like the fifth paragraph, “They swarmed out…” It has a good sense of the pandemonium of emergency. You don’t need the apostrophe after “Mothers,” by the way…

    • loustar02 says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting. No, you are right. As usual this comes from rushing to get it out before moving on to a million other things.

  2. The Lime says:

    Whoa — pandemonium is so the right word here. Great job building a sense of urgency. Absolutely great.

    Here’s mine this week:

  3. elmowrites says:

    You really capture the panic and urgency going on here. I was quite confused as to whether these people lived in the mushroom or under it or what, but my confusion just heightened the panic, so perhaps it was deliberate. And that last line gave me shudders!

    • loustar02 says:

      They sleep under the earth but come up to the surface when they are not sleeping. Sorry for causing any confusion. I wasn’t quite sure how to finish it but I thought that would leave it open just in case I do more with it.

  4. Maxi Malone says:

    haphazard attire, odd shoes, pajamas … sounds like me goin’ out to fetch the mail.

    Blessings – Maxi

  5. You have a wonderful imagination and turn of phrase.

  6. Siobhan Muir says:

    Great story. The ending seemed a little too open-ended, though the build up was fantastic. I loved the chaos of the people running. 🙂

    • loustar02 says:

      Thanks for commenting, Siobhan. I deliberately left it open so I could do more with it but can see that it might be quite open for a flash fiction page!

  7. I like the feeling of complete chaos and disarray. (Ps – Speaking of haphazard attire…I’m wearing dark blue yoga pants, a brown t-shirt and my favorite gray leftover button-up maternity sweater. My youngest is 12, but it’s so comfy I can’t get rid of it. Hopefully the UPS man doesn’t come today!)

  8. 1smiles says:

    This story drew me in.. I felt the panic rising.

  9. If catastrophe can be adorable, this is it. Well done. I have to admit that I am quite enchanted by all the writers this week who made homes or entire worlds out of the mushroom.
    I feel I did not give it the respect it deserved.


  10. lynnette-net says:

    I love the tension in the first bit, the great Fung Tree and the life-barrows!

  11. Jake Kale says:

    That’s a killer final line. Perhaps literally. I might be alone in this, but I’m picturing some sort of Smurf genocide. I’ll leave it for others to decide if that’s a good or bad thing.

    Here’s my attempt:

  12. I want MORE! Great way to picture the choas–and the final sentence sent shivers down my spine. Mine is at

  13. Madison Woods says:

    This was my favorite bit of imagery: “…while the elderly were bundled into life-barrows and wheeled shakily across the dusty earth…”

    I loved that line so much because in those few words it conveys so much about the people we are observing. Plus, I like the ‘life-barrows’. So much better an image than ‘wheel-chairs’ or ‘gurneys’.

    • loustar02 says:

      Thanks Madison. Another great prompt.

      I was picturing them abandoning ship (although not a ship so much as home in this case) and thought that they would have used lifeboats then so life-barrows felt appropriate. Glad you liked it.

  14. Absolutely love this – especially the “great Fung Tree.” What a great scene.

    Here’s my story:

  15. Judee says:

    What a n intense feeling of panic you instill with your words. Well done. I didn’t think things could get any worse until that last line hit me.


    • loustar02 says:

      Thanks for stopping by and for the great comments. I wasn’t quite sure how to end it on a new note but also one that could keep it open so hopefully that worked.

  16. miq says:

    Like other commenters, I loved the sense of chaos and pandemonium. I had to reread the piece because I, like the characters, was so frenzied that I didn’t take it in. I love that your writing made me in some small way experience what you were writing.

    Here’s mine:

  17. Robin Hawke says:

    Loved the details you picked, Robin

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