It’s almost Thanksgiving, the perfect time for a Friday Fictioneers piece as  I’m thankful Bill introduced me to this wonderful group of writers who are also lovely people.  Of course, I have much, much more for which to be thankful each day, even though tomorrow’s the day I take to especially thank God, literally, for His abundant blessings to me.  Joyce Johnson, thank you for the picture, Rochelle for hosting and the rest of you for helping me improve my writing and for providing a bar for which to strive.  I value each of you immensely, (even if I don’t get all your stories read immediately this vacation week. 🙂

Cottage Industry

In search of baking soda, she dodged rain drops, running to the neighbors’.  The perfectly-coiffed, blue-white-haired Mrs. Ulrich (“Call me Janeen, dear”) invited her in.

Gratefully sipping steaming tea, she noticed the metalwork displayed…a face and hand.  “They’re marvelous!”

“My husband Tom makes them, dear.  Would you like to see the others?”

She readily agreed.  The metalwork was lovely, perfect for the garden.  Perhaps for Christmas?

In the basement workshop, Tom’s smiling face greeted them.  “Choose something that’s you, dear.”

“No, I couldn’t.” But she drew close to take a better look.  “They’re so life-like!  Where do you get the…”

  1. boomiebol says:

    Oh oh I sense something sinister in that basement?!? Very nice, I especially like the build up… Happy thanksgiving to you and yours. Have a wonderful vacation

  2. Oh my what a surprise in that basement! excellent story. god Bless and have a VERY BLESSED THANKSGIVING!! Thank you for all you are and all you have done, you are true servants of our Lord!

  3. Paul says:

    Well, I hate to say I saw that coming. But a childhood raised on Rod Serling as well as Alfred Hitchcock has left me leery of basements such as this! Still, I enjoyed it!

  4. yepiratesays says:

    Oh brilliant! Actually didn’t see it so laughed in delight…two touches of brilliance: words like ”dear”/”Christmas”/the ‘lovely” metal work for the ”garden” all lull you into false complacency – almost verging on thinking..’yeah, ok, nice little story’ – and the 2nd touch, stopping the story right THERE! perfect!

  5. Joyce says:

    Oh, very good. i wondered if this photo would open a can of uglies, lol (verses a can of ‘worms’ cliche) in the way it prompts them. I had hoped it would actually be used for Halloween but since it wasn’t I guess we’ll see what everyone else does with it. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving Day holiday too tomorrow. Yes, I have been thankful too for all the wonderful things I am blessed with too. Happy holiday. Be sure to get to mine. I have a bit of the info. on the picture there. The trail I talk about is beautiful and right along our river. A favorite place of ours to walk and commune with God and nature.

  6. Yes! Saw it coming, but yes!
    I will post mine a bit later.

  7. Now I know this can’t be true. Who goes next door for baking soda!!!!!

    Randy (happy turkey day!)

  8. rich says:

    her last words. didn’t see that coming. well done.

    in the second line: “the metalwork displayed…a face and hand.” the (…) the ellipsis is used when we have removed words but want to signify that we’ve removed them. like if a film critic says, “the best film i have seen all of this year.” but the newspaper wants to shorten it, save words, they might write “the best film…this year.” what you should have there is maybe a dash instead of an ellipsis. not sure if i spelled it right.

    also, instead of “she readily agreed.” why not just have “Yes!” we know she was asked a question, and she’s the only person who would answer. you save two words, and also, when you have dialogue, it makes a story more “alive.”

    • A dash would work and I probably could have said “the metalwork face and hand displayed.” I used “readily agreed” because agreeing quickly conveyed to me that she had no suspicions of anything being wrong. Thanks for making me think more deeply about the importance and import of how I use my words.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and your, Rich. I hope to get a few stories read this morning before things pick up around here.

  9. Sandra says:

    Wow! that changed direction! Nice one,.

  10. Linda says:

    Oh, nicely done … I really liked the ending on this one 🙂

  11. Abraham says:

    I like it! Including the ‘hanging’ ending.

  12. Cindy Marsch says:

    Masterly work here! I just wonder how they get that grin, though . . . Really, you do a beautiful job setting up the scene with just a few quick strokes, making the most of the 100 words. Mine will go up in the morning unless I get impatient and bypass my scheduling button. 🙂

  13. Cindy Marsch says:

    I just read it to Glenn, and he loved it, too. 🙂

  14. I’m thankful for your part in this group, Janet. You never disappoint me. This one’s a chiller. “What a piece of work is man…”

  15. Hi Janet,
    Basements are death traps! Loved the way you drew us in with the innocent details. Ron

  16. claudia says:

    A touch of the spooky here!

  17. Anne Orchard says:

    A surprise turn for me. Loved the way you built up “Call me Janeen, dear”‘s character.
    Mine is here this week

  18. Dear Janet,

    Happy Thanksgiving! Great story and perfect truncated last words. I could see this coming a mile away yet kept right on reading to see how you delivered on the promise. You did not disappoint.



    • Doug, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I knew once I mentioned the basement (but even if it had been the attic), I’d be giving it away, but if it kept your attention anyway, I overcame that problem, at least to some extent. Just getting ready now to read some more stories.

  19. unspywriter says:

    Ah, the always unsuspecting. Very good. Lots of tension in a short piece.

    Here’s mine:

  20. Hope she really gets to know where they are from before it’s too late…something about this line though: ‘The metalwork WAS lovely, perfect for the garden’ why the past tense when the metalwork is still physically being discussed? I have some eerie feelings here…What a walk!

  21. writeondude says:

    Very sinister. As soon as someone gets invited to a basement, you just know that nothing good will come of it.

  22. rgayer55 says:

    Basement art at its finest. Well done, Janet. And they seemed like such a nice couple too . . . .

  23. SHRIEK! I particularly liked the flavor of the characters. So specific I could see them.

  24. tedstrutz says:

    I knew it wasn’t going to go well, when I read the description of Mrs. Ulrich.

  25. brudberg says:

    Yes, indeed it’s very very lifelike… Scary Mrs Ulrich

  26. Tom Poet says:

    I am starting to dislike basements…Nice job.


  27. Nice characterizations. I knew Janeen couldn’t be that sweet and something wasn’t quite right. Nice build up. I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving, too!

    • I had a wonderful Thanksgiving. As far as the story, I fluctuated between ending the way I did with having a nice ending as the surprise. Not a very inspired story this week, but what came to mind.

  28. I think the protagonist’s voice was just taken away with how good the work was, and that the tea was not poisoned at all. When she recovered she bought several faces and took them home and all was fine.

    Until they ate her. No, I don’t like a happy ending either. Good job!

  29. Awesome. Remind me never to borrow anything from the neighbors.

  30. vbholmes says:

    I think she should have taken a closer look at the expression on the displayed face–closed eyes, distorted mouth–and run! Good low-key buildup to your surprise ending.

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