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Golden 2012

by Barny 

Posted: 29 June 2013
Word Count: 467
Summary: A woman and her daughter shelter from a world where society has broken down. (I wrote this in Feb 2012)

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Golden 2012
Emma huddled close to her daughter to keep warm in the cold dark bedroom in their cold dark home. She knew that Ashley couldn’t get to sleep.
“Mummy, can you tell me again about the Olympics?” Ashley asked.
One of the other mother and children pairs sleeping in the room stirred and muttered.
It wasn’t fair to disturb them, but she couldn’t ignore her daughter. “You want to hear about it again?”.
She could feel her daughter’s head nodding against her chest.
“Your Dad and I were there on August 6th,” Emma said quietly. “Even though the race was at 9 o’clock at night, the stadium was as bright as day because of the lights. We watched Usain Bolt win the 100m gold medal, breaking the world record for the fifth time. He’d already broken the record in June in Berlin - a warm-up race according to him - then here in London he went even faster, down to 9.55 seconds. Winning looked so easy. Jason and I were out of our seats shouting like the rest of the crowd.”
“Did you enjoy seeing all those people from different countries?”
“I was excited about the Olympics like everyone else, and they went really well. There seemed to be a glow of pride about the country. We all had something in common, you could stop and talk to anyone about the games, including tourists. And the weather was so good that the whole summer seemed golden, not just the medals.”
Ashley was quiet, and Emma held her breath, hoping that sleep had come.
Ashley stirred. “I’ve seen pictures of the lights. Why can’t we have lights?”
The useless bulb hung above the bed. All the windows of the house were boarded inside and out, but not to block light. Emma knew there was none tonight apart from moon and stars.
“A couple of months after the gold medal Greece finally went bankrupt, because they couldn’t repay their debts. And then the rest... well it ended up with us in England not being able to pay our bills either. The electricity came and went for a while, then stopped properly in March when you were three. There had been riots, but that’s when the gangs took over and your dad was killed.”
Thinking about Jason, she felt tears welling in the corners of her eyes.
“Shush now,” she said quietly to her daughter, “go to sleep. I’ve got to go out tomorrow to get some water, so don’t worry if I’m not here when you wake up.”
They needed food as well as water, and with no cash and her not strong enough to do manual work there was only one way to pay. She shuddered and felt a tear trickle down the hollow of her cheek.

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Comments by other Members

apcharman at 15:46 on 29 June 2013  Report this post
HI Barny,
Welcome to short story. A fairly bleak picture but very competently presented. You get the sense of something very wrong from the reference to mother and children pairs right at the start and you have managed to cram a very broad picture into a very small space. Let's hope it doesn't happen!

Becca at 18:42 on 29 June 2013  Report this post
Hi Barny,
let me echo Andy about this frightening story. It works well to conjure up a precise world and is heavy with suggestion within its word number limitation. Was there a reason why you decided not to expand it more to an average short story sized piece? Because there is interesting stuff buried in there. How did the father die, where are they living, who are the other people, is there anyone in charge of England... and so on. Did you also post in into the Flash Fiction group?

Barny at 13:16 on 01 July 2013  Report this post

Some background: I'm on a trial membership, was footling around, uploaded this, the upload process made me decide which group it would be posted into, I was already a member of this group, so I chose it. Now I find I can't move it because the trial only allows one upload and no owner edits, so it's stuck here.

Thanks for your comments. I am taking creative writing evening classes, wrote this as homework one week. The homework format is necessarily short so that all the work can be read out.

I am starting to write longer pieces up to 2500 words now - but can't upload here because of the trial limitation.

Yes there is a lot in this piece - one of the things I find really difficult is seeing how to make a short story longer, guess I'll have to start from the ground up and effectively write a new longer piece.

Thanks again for your comments

Becca at 13:40 on 01 July 2013  Report this post
Ah, I see. I wondered if you'd known we had a flash fiction group or not. 2,500 is a good size to work to as you can still get that word number accepted in ezines etc. However, over time, I reckon you'll find your own natural level, and then if you write a story of that length and find you can, without interfering with the sense and feel of it too much, edit a few hundred words off it for submissions, then you've got a copy and an abridged copy of the same story, and that's often very handy.

butterfly2000 at 16:03 on 16 September 2013  Report this post
Hi Barney

a nice bite-sized piece of something I'd be happy to read more of! I like the premise, it's the sort of thing I like to read (and try and write about as well, from time to time) - and the playing field is wide open for characters that we would still recognise, but that are on the cusp of becoming something else.

Will you take up membership?


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