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Friday, January 20, 2012

#FridayFlash: Initials

Here’s the last of my “one photo, three genres” series. I had originally planned a sci-fi piece to finish it up, but I just wasn’t feeling it. This slice-of-life gelled better for me, but I did manage to allude to the sci-fi version in the story.

The other two stories in this series are:

Three Sprites, One Silent (fantasy)
Feast (horror)


“Wow,” said Sarah, looking around the park. “Things sure have changed.”

“At least we’re the same.” Earl smiled and squeezed her hand. “Even if we’ve been different most of our lives.”

“Not the same, really. We’re not kids anymore.”

“Whoa. When did they put a lake in here?” Earl stopped at the top of the hill, looking over the water.

Sarah shook her head. “Do you think it’s still here?”

“Maybe. That’s the pavilion. If they didn’t move that too, it’s probably right along the water.”

“Maybe it’s that stump down there in the water.” Sarah laughed. “Maybe if our families hadn’t moved away…”

“We couldn’t have stopped them putting a lake in here!”

“Yeah, but we might have done something else…” Sarah’s gaze went far away, looking across all that happened since they carved their initials in that tree: moving away, losing touch, marrying (other people), divorcing, finding each other on Twitter…

“You know what, Sarah? I think it is that stump. I really think it is.” The downhill slope pulled at them, but something else pulled harder, and they quickened their pace to the water’s edge.

“Will it be there, you think?” Sarah’s breath came quick, not just from the near-run.

“I don’t know. It’s cut kind of low, but how deep is the water?”

“You’re right — it really is our tree! Remember how it was hollow at the bottom?”

“Yeah. I made up a story about how some tiny aliens lived in the hollow and used it for a listening outpost.”

Sarah laughed. “I remember that! I thought it was funny, in a weird sort of way.”

“See that?” Earl pointed to the side of the stump. “That’s part of it, anyway.”

Sarah peered, leaning farther over the water than Earl thought prudent; he took her hand and braced himself. Along the jagged top edge of the stump, she thought she could make out the last part:


“Forever. Yes,” she said. She let Earl pull her upright, then hugged him there on the water’s edge.

“We can’t smooch under the tree now,” he said, “but maybe we can find another tree. One a little farther up the hill.” He patted his pocket. “I just happened to bring a knife.”


  1. Lovely concluding story Larry. The trilogy is wonderful..you should re-post them together. There's a great sense of losing part of you to the past in this story, and the hope at the end is wonderful..I'm going back to read all three again..

  2. A lovely story to end on, Larry.

    Reminded me a little of another story I read recently featuring lost love and the carvings in a tree. There's something about the link between the two, for sure.

    "I just happened to bring a knife." Earl is either very confident or ever so slightly scary!

  3. Aww! Such a sweet story (unless the knife casts an ominous tinge to it?). I really love the idea of doing three different stories based on the same picture. I might have to borrow the idea someday. :)

  4. Hey all!

    Thanks, Tom — I can (and should) include links to the other two here.

    Jack, Cherie, I wondered about the knife too. I'm pretty sure that Earl meant to re-carve their initials up a little higher. Pretty sure.

    Cherie, feel free to borrow the idea — it was a lot of fun to do!

  5. Ditto on the great idea of using the same photo for three stories. Not least because it shows how versatile and imaginative you are.

    I loved this, I'm such a sucker for happy endings. For what its worth I think Earl's obsessive in a sweet way...

  6. Very cute ending, Larry. May I live long enough to experience an afternoon like this.

  7. Cute. Hard to imagine this nice story following your evil horror one. So, I'm going to guess that there's probably a twist since you titled this a "slice-of-life" and included a pocket-knife. Most people today carry cell phones which they use to update their various social media accounts about love interests and the like.

    Yeah right, Larry: "I just happened to bring a knife."
    Run Sarah run.

  8. aww such a sweet story to end on! Very very different from the last one (and the one before). And I think he's just going to use the knife to carve up another tree! Not use it on her.

  9. Touching story, and I liked how you've been incorporating Twitter into your stories lately :).

    Jack has a good point about the knife!

    And I agree with John, I wouldn't mind living out such a day too.

  10. Very sweet story, Larry. I like the trilogy.

    I got a nice chuckle from the number of commenters that think the knife is ominous. Between that and the clue you put in about the SF story, maybe your next challenge is to write stories that form a circle -- each leading to the next and then back to the first. [I throw the gauntlet at your feet.]

  11. What a fun idea, using the same prompt to write tales from different genres. This was a cute piece. Simple. I'll need to go read the first two now.

  12. Gosh, thanks Peter! Yeah, I'm a sucker for happy endings too.

    John, I'll drink to that! May you experience such an afternoon soon.

    Rachel, thanks, but me writing dark fic is more the exception than the rule. ;-)

    Sonia, I think you're right.

    Thanks Craig, hope you get an afternoon like that too.

    Tim, that's a really… fascinating idea. I'll have to think that one over for a while though!

    Thanks Aaron, and thanks again for the reminder. I'll put links up top.

  13. Aw, that was really sweet at the end. I was expecting something sad about how it all passed away, and here they're going to make a fresh start.

    - Tony Noland

  14. Good story. It's nice that they want to honor the past, but it's even better that they realize sometimes it's time to start a new past.

  15. Ah, what a great ending, I truly believe that if a love is meant to be, then somehow it will find a way.

  16. Very sweet story. Put a smile on my face.

  17. This was a sweet and lovely story. I love how from the same photo you have written three stories so individual. I agree with Tom you should post this again as a Trilogy.

    Well done Larry!

  18. It's genuinely amazing how you've gotten such different stories from the same photo - just goes to prove that creativity really knows no bounds. Hats off to you, sir!

  19. I really enjoyed this story, FAR. I'm not sure if it's the optimism at the end or the setting, but it has a great feel to it.

  20. What a lovely story, some things endure no matter what.


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