‘Unexpected Journey’ by mmpearson


Again I am pleased to welcome back a previous participant for this month’s mini writing competition on the theme of ‘an unexpected journey’.  Thank you to mmpearson for her story and I’m happy to share this with you.


mmpearson says:

Unexpected Journey

Sally pressed the “end call” button and sat rooted to her chair. Numbness rolled through her body like waves in the sea.  She couldn’t make sense of the words her dear friend had just dumped on her conscience.  Shock was her only emotion.

With practiced grace, her hand swept the mop of curls from her forehead and took the weight of her head upon it. With her other hand, she removed her dark-rimmed glasses and wiped a tissue across the pools of tears that were forming beneath the lenses.

Billy had been her husband – her love at one time.  He had not been a bad person, but a soul lost among his own fears and inadequacies.  A dark cloud had always hung over his head, but that cloud had been his fuel.  His fire was the guitar.  Music spoke to him, and through it he spoke, letting his riffs fill the void.  Sally had loved that part about him.

The drinking was the part of Billy that Sally could never come to terms with.  She had divorced him several years ago because of his lack of control.  Though times had been rough during the separation, they had their young son, Harry, and were forced to work through their problems as well as any couple could.

Sally never regretted leaving Billy.  She only wished she could take back the bitter words.

Sally’s thoughts were interrupted by a noise in the doorway.  Her eyes shot up and viewed her son bounding through the door, a smile on his face.  Her heart thumped out of control.  Not now.  Oh please, Harry, not now… what do I say to you?  Despair and confusion filled her like she was a balloon, stretched to the point of explosion.

Images flashed through her head:  She and Billy rushing to the hospital, Harry’s pink wiggly body, happiness sparkling in Billy’s proud papa smile, holidays with family… and on and on. The thoughts came out in a torrent and made Sally feel weak.

She snapped herself out of her reverie.  This was her son.  She had to be strong.

Sally tried to form sentences but only him name escaped. “Oh, Harry.” She sobbed and snuggled his six-year-old head under her chin, hugging him, never wanting to let go.  She needed to surround herself in his innocence for a bit longer.

She didn’t know how to explain to Harry that he no longer had a father and especially how his father had passed.  The burden her son was going to have to carry throughout his life was large. Sally knew that burden all too well.

Somehow, life had continued its twisted journey.  She remembered being close to Harry’s age when her own father had taken his life.  She remembered the hurt, the loneliness, and the guilt.  The last thing she had ever wanted was for her son to have to go on the same unexpected journey.

(c) mmpearson

‘Lollipops’ by Jane Dougherty

I’m pleased to welcome back Jane Dougherty with her suitably spooky take on ‘an unexpected journey’ given the time of year.  Read it with the lights on!! 🙂


  • Did it! 500 words on the nail including title.


    Mary linked with Jim—the vigil at the church had left her feeling the need to hang onto him. The Latin words had not worked their usual spell of making her feel safe. Truth was, they were both uneasy at this time of year, when the door between the worlds opened and the dead visited. The dead they had no wish to meet ever again. They stopped at the minimarket. “You go in,” Mary said. “I’ll be fine. Just don’t be long, it’s bloody cold tonight.” She flipped open a packet of cigarettes. He’d be buying sweets. Lollipops probably. Her favourites. Josie had loved lollipops. Raspberry ones especially. Rotted her teeth, the dentist said. Mary drew deeply on the cigarette. They’d leave them outside the back door. And the candle next to them. And they’d make sure the door was double locked and the dog inside for once. It was cold. Mary stamped her feet to keep the circulation going. She glanced inside the shop. Only one till open and the usual endless queue of kids buying drink. She wandered across the small car park. Between thick hedges a narrow lane dipped into darkness and ran off into the countryside. Mary peered down it, curious. She must have seen it before, things just looked different in the dark, full of shadows. She shivered and took a step back across the car park towards the dingy light of the minimarket. Two steps more and she found herself inexplicably in the lane. She stumbled, watching her feet in the dark, and shadows closed over her head. Before her the narrow lane ran downhill, at either side the blackthorns made an impenetrable barrier. She tossed the cigarette down the hill and turned to face the carpark and the light. She hurried, stumbled in a rut and righted herself. At her feet the dog end glowed. She spun around and ran. She ran, until she realised she was running downhill. Frantic now she turned to face back up the dark slope. Trees grew tall behind the blackthorns, their branches meeting overhead, and a wind murmured among the rare leaves, filling the cold air with a dry rustling. She strode up the hill, and staggered, lurching forward down the gradient. It was wrong. All wrong. Tears streamed down her face. The blackthorns pressed closer, the trees bent lower, and the rustling was a whispering. She could hear the words. No! She pressed her hands over her ears. It was an accident! I didn’t mean to hurt her! “It was an accident,” she screamed at the dark trees and the dark tree voices. The path between the blackthorns went down and down through shades and textures of black. Except for a pale smudge that shone out almost like a star in the howling, whispering darkness. The pale thing fluttered to her feet, and she let out a howl of despair before running down the dark, whispering lane that never ended; away from the lollipop wrapper.

    (c) Jane Dougherty

‘Don’t Look Back’ by Life and Other Turbulence

A big welcome to Life and Other Turbulence with her inspiring entry to this month’s mini writing competition.

Do you have an unexpected journey you would like to share?  There are still a few days left to submit an entry should you wish to do so and voting will open after the 24th.  Please check back in then to vote for your favourite.



By Life and Other Turbulence

Life and Other Turbulence says:

It was startling to find, and difficult to confirm. Even though my doctor told me the imagery was clear, I knew that there was something amiss. To appease me, she sent me on for an ultrasound. I had to wait four more weeks to get the appointment, scheduled for late November. And it was there that the radiologist decided to err on the side of caution, taking six core samples to be sent off for biopsy.

Prepping my dinner table the eve before Thanksgiving, I took a call from the hospital. Pathology results were in.

It was a Thanksgiving of blessings.  Gazing at the faces of my many loved ones, I formulated a plan: take whatever steps necessary to steal my good health back.

I had surgery two weeks later, expecting eight full weeks of radiation to follow.  But pathology from surgery showed more problems…the margins weren’t clean. Malignant cells had been left behind.

Back to surgery one more time, this one scheduled for Christmas Eve.  My surgeon felt it was important to move quickly, so the holiday took a back seat.

Christmas Day was a day of blessings. Looking at the faces of my children gathered around me, I saw the road ahead with acute clarity. I expedited the healing process.

New Years Eve I took at call in the last hours of daylight.  My surgeon identified herself by her first name.  It took me a moment to understand, but then in an instant, I got it.

My husband wasn’t yet home from work, so I reached him on his cell phone to suggest we meet up at a local spot for a festive drink together.  Let’s ring in the New Year a few hours early, I suggested.

The pub was packed with revelers, all in good cheer as they sat at tiny tables sharing appetizers and raucous laughter together.  Spotting a quiet corner, I grabbed a newly vacated table for two and waited for his arrival.

His eyes lit up when he spotted me.  We spent two hours talking about a thousand things, as we’d always done throughout our twenty-five years of partnership together. I waited until he was finishing his third glass of wine before I broke the news.

With an incredulous stare, he struggled to retain emotional control. I reached across the small table and held his hands firmly in my own. Listen to me, I said.  I’ll get through this.  It’s doable…it’s just body parts. I can live without body parts.

Sometimes the most unexpected journeys teach you the most profound lessons.  For example, if you simply keep your eye on the horizon, you can travel just one day at a time. By doing so, statistics on travel time become irrelevant because the only timeline you’re on is the one you choose to manage.

The horizon is always there…just waiting for you to arrive, no matter how long the journey. Don’t look back and most certainly don’t look down.


(c) Life and Other Turbulence

Fear by elizfrat

Whilst raking through some of my old writing books I came across a poem I wrote in secondary school when I was 13 years old, which I thought may fit this month’s writing prompt.  It was January and coming up to Burns Night and we were asked by our English teacher to come up with a poem inspired by Robert Burns, where we were to try to use some made up words.  Bearing in mind this piece  is now 27 years old and Tam O’ Shanter it most certainly isn’t, I hope it still entertains 🙂



I quibbed and fleetered ‘cross the moor,

the moon had long since taken cover;

the dark intensified the gloom

and passed a shiver down my spine

‘Twas then I stumbled on a sight

enough for skin to crawl and cringle,

a shape much darker than the night

was cindling right in front myne eyes

My fear grew even greater now

for ‘twas a demon formed like man

An’ round his gruki figure low

were skeletons of ghastly dead

The shape looked up and stared at me

My blood turned cold, my skin went pale

The scene was such I gave a crie

And then I rin – rin like the wind

Skitling and scootling, ritling and rootling,

critling and crootling, I rin like the wind

The wind went whistling through my hair

My feet weren’t getting anywhere

The demon and his boney army

came clattering after, trying to harm me

I could hear them getting closer

I could feel them getting near

I could sense their growing anger

Help me please, I’m full of fear!

Skitling and scootling, ritling and rootling,

critling and crootling, I rin like the wind

At last the town had come in sight

A little hope replaced the fear

I saw the safety in the light

and so my feet went skitling on

Skitling and scootling, ritling and rootling,

critling and crootling, I rin like the wind

If only I could make the town

the demon would not follow me

And so I rin on homeward bound

and still the haunts came clottering on

I made it; they could chase no more

I heard the demon shout and roar

In case you think this was not true,

just remember, I did warn you!

(c) Elizabeth Frattaroli

An Unexpected Journey by Tom F

I’m pleased to welcome back Tom F with his fun and contemporary entry for this month’s competition on the theme of ‘An Unexpected Journey’.



By Tom F

We knew what our grandson wanted for his 13th birthday. A mini I-pad ! We took him to our local supplier, whilst he was visiting this summer, to find out exactly which one.

“You know we are only pensioners, so maybe one day if we save hard enough…….” we lied.

The following day he went back to mum and dad, and we returned to the shop to buy the one he had pointed out, including the cover he had chosen. We wrapped it carefully and left it with his mum, our daughter, as we could not be with him on the morning of his birthday.

When we eventually arrived around 11.30 am, he was ecstatic and ran across the lounge and hugged us so tight.

“Thanks granddad, Thanks nana,” he gasped “I really can’t believe you have done this for me. Thanks soo much!”

“Have you got it working yet? “ I asked

“It took him all of 5 minutes “, his mum replied, as he was totally wired for sound.

One hour, and a pot of tea and biscuits later, he was still tapping away on the screen. Whilst his nana, mum dad and baby sister were playing games on the rug, I crossed the room and tried to break the spell he was under.

“What can it do?” I asked him.

Hardly acknowledging my presence, he glanced to the French doors leading out into the back garden, stood up and led me outside.

“It’s got thousands of apps, granddad. Let me show you “He explained as we walked towards the apple tree, bathed in the late summer sun.

A windfall dropped not three strides in front of us, and before it had bounced twice, the grey squirrel ,which lived somewhere in the back garden, pounced, picking it up and  biting into the fruit whilst still on the move, and disappearing behind the tree.

It suddenly became freezing cold, the green lawn turning into an Arctic landscape. The boy didn’t seem to notice what had happened.

“C’mon, granddad!”

He pulled on my arm as a hole appeared in the ice, and we plunged through together. It was not cold or wet, as we swam through the incredible blue light emanating from below .The blue changed to turquoise, to iridescent green, then to yellow and back to blue, changing constantly through these incredibly bright colours.

“Look , granddad ,look “ ,he mouthed ,as he pointed to hundreds of icons floating around us, reminiscent of the many different species of tropical fish ,once encountered whilst snorkelling on The Great Barrier Reef. They darted around us, approaching tantalisingly, willing us to reach out and touch them, but floating away as we held out our hands.

He beckoned me deeper and deeper into the light source. I followed in wondrous silence, until we reached   a fountain of light and colours. Colours I cannot describe, they were so unreal. Amongst all this colour there were apps enclosed in air bubbles pouring out, rushing up past our incredulous ,wide eyed stares,  each one jostling to be the first to reach the surface, and burst out through the icy portal.

He turned to me laughing excitedly, took my arm and we floated swiftly back to the surface, bursting through and back into the garden. I stood shaken, but completely dry on the grass.

“What has just happened “, I thought aloud, as the young man wandered nonchalantly back to the house, still tapping the screen.

THAT’S what it can do Granddad, THAT’s what it can do!”

(c) Tom F


Escapees by hugmamma

Another big welcome to another new participant for the monthly writing competitions, hugmamma.  Please follow the link provided to read her story.  Thank you hugmamma and good luck 🙂


hugmamma says:


Molly’s Unexpected Journey by Maryann Holloway

I am happy to kick off this month’s mini writing competition with an entry from a new participant, Maryann Holloway, who has provided a link to take you to the story.  Welcome Maryann and thank you for your contribution. 🙂


Maryann Holloway


New Writing Competition – October


Thank you to Sherri who, as winner of last month’s mini writing comp, has provided the new writing prompt of ‘An Unexpected Journey’ for October’s competition.

This leaves great scope for interpretation and I look forward to reading the entries once again.

As such I invite you to submit a piece of flash fiction (up to 500 words) or poetry along this theme on the designated competition page.

The last entry date for this month is 24th of October and then people have between then and the end of the month to vote for their favourite, with the next competition starting at the beginning of November and the winner of this month setting the next writing prompt.

Thank you in advance to all taking part and good luck! 🙂