Porch Music

this is today’s Friday Fictioneers submission. Like Rochelle, I’ve gone for a Deep South theme but, being a Brit, I felt I couldn’t allow myself a shot at aping the vernacular so I’ve kept the prose quite neutral. I’ve also shifted forward a half century or so. Thanks to Rochelle for the photo.

(By the way, this is wY over the 100 words. There was a shorter version, still over the limit, but it was lost to auto-refresh).

The neighbourhood’s changed since they built the mall. Now, hers is the only neo-colonial terrace remaining. The neighbours, working poor mainly, tolerate her but there’s no warmth in their clenched-teeth greetings. And still she stays, every night keeping vigil from the veranda.

She can see the tree from here, the one Jeff Farrell’s men hanged him from. Even now, she tells herself it was only self-preservation; it never works. It was a different time then and it was easier, when her best friend’s husband asked her if his wife had been unfaithful, to lie and say she’d been consorting with Reuben Thomas, rather than tell the truth and admit that it was her own bed that was still warm from where Rebecca Farrell had left it.




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41 responses to “Porch Music

  1. Dear Etienne,

    Well I declare. That’s one convoluted love triangle. Well done, even if you did go over a few words. You seem to be missing the photo.



  2. Oh, that’s a shocker. No wonder the neighbours shun her.
    Really well told. A modern piece of Hardy.

  3. I won’t begrudge you the extra words here – you used them very well. Nicely written, great descriptions.

  4. Poor Rebecca. I’m guessing one too many necks got caught in Jeff’s rope. Nice tale of survivor guilt.

  5. I’d say this little story is well worth the exceeded word count. What terrible things people do in the guise of protecting themselves.

  6. Great story! What a witch, Rebecca Farrell’s lover.

  7. A thoughtful piece that has me thinking…thoughtfully.
    Well done.

  8. Dear Etienne,
    It took a couple reads for me to sort out the details, but you did a good job putting together a southern American tale. Sticking to standard prose rather than using the vernacular tends to work best in these cases anyway, so I think your decision was good.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

  9. Dear Etienne, Good story and you go into such deep detail and write so well! Enjoyed it very much! Nan 🙂

  10. Good story. Unexpected sexual twists, deceits, and all in a voice that works so well. Randy

  11. What a tangled web we weave. Loved it.

  12. Wow a great sordid love tale, well written.

  13. Wow. That was unexpected. You’ve really set an interesting scene here, showing how time and the neighbourhood have moved on, and placing the story in there as part of the neighbourhood’s (secret) history.

  14. My contribution is over the limit. I’ve spoiled otherwise reasonable stories trying to prune them to the exact 100. Glad you didn’t because you have a scorcher of a tale here. A modern gothic in the making. Plot-wise I’m reminded a bit of Faulkner, the Salem witch trials and a host of gothic tales. 🙂

  15. Great response! Secrets and lies! I’d read more if more were on offer.

  16. Nicely told! What intrigue goes on behind closes doors, and what lies are told to conceal it…

  17. Well put together, a complicated story expressed in hundred words, never an easy task. Lovely twist at the end, although I suspect not an unusual, if we dug a little deeper.

  18. Well told story, but a bit different than Gone With the Wind. 🙂 — Suzanne

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