Friday Fictioneers: There are None So Blind

Posted: April 23, 2014 in Friday Fictioneers
Tags: ,

It seems as though there’s never been a week when I didn’t sit down to “pen” my hundred words for Friday Fictioneers, although there have been a few.  Sometimes I’ve literally penned them before putting them into the computer, very old-fashioned, I know, but I like the feel of pen and paper, the ability to scratch out, add above, see what I changed and perhaps change it back.

It’s a challenge to put a complete story in so few words, but (usually) an enjoyable one.  Once or twice a theme has reasserted itself, another bit of a story I’d written before.  This week, it was only later I recognized that what follows could be considered another bit of a story written in response to my own photo in May of last year, a story titled, “Flying Her Colors.”  It’s not at all necessary to read that first story.  I leave it to you to do so if you wish.

copyright Björn Rudberg

copyright Björn Rudberg

 

There Are None So Blind

Since the war began, we rarely go out after dark. But tonight, music acting as Pied Piper, we avoid being obviously out alone.

Sitting, waiting: heat, muted chatter, clinking glasses. What serves now as alcohol gradually enlivens the evening.

They begin playing; mesmerizing, evoking memories of better times; music bringing the hidden message of hope, of resistance.

The tramping of boots a thunderstorm in contrast; “It’s over. Get out now!”

We hurry away, their assessing glances passing over me. No one suspects a blind woman. They should. The message hidden in the notes will be passed along.

The fight continues.

 

 

Comments
  1. brainsnorts says:

    “since the war” feels as if the war is over. but obviously the woman’s crafty but ingenious actions show that the war and the fight for freedom continues. can you cut one word somewhere and make it “since the war began”? maybe you can cut “then” in “Then they begin to play.”

    such a pleasant surprise of a story for me, having grown up watching sooo many films about WWII. a great start to my morning. thanks.

    • I was the same way, Rich, watching so many WWII movies. “Guns of Navarrone” come to mind as a favorite, but there were so many other. I’m glad that feel came through, as it was exactly what I was aiming to convey.

      Good point on the opening line. Let me revisit before breakfast and my morning out. Thanks.

      janet

    • Made that change with the necessary others. See if it works better now. I think it does.

      • brainsnorts says:

        very clear now. usually the first WWII movie i think of is “the great escape.” the theme is so catchy, i couldn’t lose it if i wanted to.

        elmer bernstein, who also did “the ten commandments” and i think west side story and many others.

      • Ha, I almost mentioned that, too.

      • “Bridge on the River Kwai” has iconic music as well.

      • brainsnorts says:

        for most people, that’s much more recognizable. and with a future obi-wan kenobi.

      • Oh my! You two have put my two very favorite war… top of my all-time list as well… movies up here. Steve McQueen just makes my toes curl in this role. So brilliant! And Bridge… I think I saw it a dozen times as a kid, and couldn’t wait for my own kids to see it. 😉

        You’ve created a very tense atmosphere, Janet. I can see the club and the patrons listening, then running for safety. The first lines still feel awkward to me. I would suggest: “Since the start of the war, we rarely go out alone after dark. (+2 words) Tonight however, music is like a Pied Piper. (-5 words) I also think that in the 2nd paragraph, you could remove “What serves now as,” as “alcohol enlivens the evening” seems tighter, and the point your making.

        The rest is wonderful! I love the tension you build, and the interesting twist for the reader, in realizing this character is blind… but still a determined force. Nice!

      • After Rich posted “The Great Escape”, I want to watch it again and I picked it up on DVD recently at Half Price Books. But tonight is hockey. 🙂 “Bridge” is a classic as well.

        Now to your suggestions (and thank, BTW, for reading closely enough and caring enough to give them), let me start with the “What serves now as alcohol” is there that way to show the deprivation; there’s no longer real alcohol. The reason there are two mentions, albeit slightly different, of going out is that people don’t go out much at night AND they need to go out but not be obvious, which can happen tonight since the music is drawing others out as well. I’ll take a look at them again when I can (a few important things going on these last few days) and see if I can think of another way to cover all that. I’m glad the rest worked and thanks for taking the time to share your well-considered thoughts!

        Hope you have a wonderful weekend,

        janet

      • I see where you were going, now… but, admittedly, as I read it on my own, I got lost in that first section. The story has a strong mood, and the wording there pulled me out of the story. Whether to change something is a good question though… what’ doesn’t work or is confusing to one reader, may be just fine for another!

        As for Hockey vs The Great Escape… hmm, I’d have to go with Steve. 😉 Enjoy your weekend!

      • Steve will wait; hockey won’t! Have a great weekend, too. How are you feeling?

      • Burns are healing really well (can shower now! there is a houseful of thankful people) and wear a bra again (there are 2 very thankful teen boys, who thought i was pretty embarrassing for 2 weeks!). The ribs are coming along much slower… much. But, they are coming along. Thanks for all your kind wishes and thoughtful words. Enjoy the game! xo

      • That first shower must have felt divine!! Glad you’re feeling if not lots better, at least cleaner. The ribs will come. Off to watch now.

      • Well… divine is stretch. Any heat on the burns, or the water jetting, is pretty unpleasant… and I’m not a cool shower person. It’s all turned to blisters now, and they are in various states of healing. That said, clean is a very good thing, indeed. 😉

      • I didn’t realize you’d been burned. I thought it was “just” ribs. Yikes!

      • Ribs and spleen in Belize, burns when I got home… it’s been royal shit storm!

  2. The fight for freedom.. the resistance.. what an ingenious story… i would have tried to include the word braille somewhere… but that is a matter of taste (it’s one of my favorite words)…

    • Braille is a good word, Bjorn, but since she’s getting the message through the choice of notes, I don’t see how I can get it in there believably. I’ll try to remember for my next story. 🙂

      janet

  3. subroto says:

    A musical ‘I spy’ story. Sounds like the beginnings of a good thriller.

  4. viveka says:

    Janet, war our biggest evil on earth … I just wonder sometimes, for who’s freedom are we fighting just now. The image is fantastic … I can feel the atmosphere of the moment.

  5. This really brought out the feel of war and how people will do anything to survive and feel “human”. Using the blind woman was spectacular. Who would suspect? Nicely done.

  6. You’ve written an imaginative story here, Janet. I love what you did with the prompt.

  7. Enjoyed it, even with the quirky last line that gave gave me a smile. You only got 100 words so you had no choice but you ‘told’ us the answer. Great plot though.

  8. Sandra says:

    I like the idea of passing information through the music – well done Janet.

  9. elmowrites says:

    What a fascinating idea for a resistance movement – passing information through music is already possible and could work very well. I liked the switch as the thunderous boots came in.
    One suggestion – usually we avoid being out at night, today we avoid being obviously out alone. These things don’t seem to contrast enough to me: like the focus in both is about being out at night, and therefore they are roughly the same. I wonder if it might be stronger to say they usually avoid being seen together – that would contrast more strongly. Hope that makes sense.

  10. paulmclem says:

    I was going to mention the “Since the war” opening perhaps being slightly misleading. Looks like others thought the same way – glad it wasn’t just me i.e. I wasn’t being overly picky. Solid piece, Janet.

  11. It seams every week one story reminds me of my family. This week it is your story. My grandma was 14 at the beggining of WWII, she was smuggling bullets to the Resistance in a milk container with double bottom. She would walk over the bridge every day, stopped ocasionally by the German guards. And she never flinched. Not once. Thank you for this great story.

  12. Really clever with the descriptions in this piece Janet. It wasn’t until I got to the part about her being blind that I realized you hadn’t used any visual descriptions.

  13. helenmidgley says:

    Cleverly crafted, great pace, built up a fair bit of tension 🙂

  14. DCTdesigns says:

    Janet- Love this refreshing take on the prompt. Resistance and the freedom fighting effort in the hands of a blind woman. Very clever and well written.

  15. Great story – goes perfect with the picture. Could just see it all happening

  16. Horus says:

    I like the underlying current of hope in everyone’s writing this time.. found it here too. Nice story Janet.

  17. Good story and well done as usual. I went back and read the other story and it would have fit. Speaking of WWII, I remember the old WWII films shown on TV with the title “Victory at Sea.” My brother, much older than me, was on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific during WWII,

  18. Dear Janet,

    Effective. Love the use of the blind woman as a spy. Great auditory descriptions. Have you seen The Book of Eli? This had some elements of that.
    “obviously alone” kind of took me out. “Conspicuously” maybe?

    Thinking of you today in my prayers.

    Love and shalom,

    Rochelle

  19. Ingenious! I love the picture you presented of wartime rebellion in such an unusual way. Nicely dine 🙂

  20. I love that the music is passing on the message of hope both literally and metaphorically.
    A lovely read 🙂

  21. faithsfire says:

    Very good, and I have heard of such codes being used in war. Very good, indeed! 🙂

  22. Jan Brown says:

    Very intriguing–messaging through music! Musical notes versus written ones…. Very nicely done, Janet!

  23. plaridel says:

    they look but don’t see. they must really be blind.

  24. Your eerie description of a war-torn country made me anxious just reading it. I especially liked how you put the intrusion the soldiers in bold, as it really accentuated the fear and disruption that quickly resulted. Very clever of you to use such unsuspecting elements like a blind woman being an undercover facilitator and the stealthy use of music to convey messages. It gives a whole new meaning to the notes within the music. Well done, Janet!

    • I like your idea of notes within the music. I grew up watching lots of war movies, when there were so many classic ones, and I read a lot about WWII. Not really sure what brought this story to mind, but I wanted to do something unexpected but real.

      janet

  25. Wonderful take on the prompt! What an ingenious idea to pass secrets through music. I could imagine being in that room feeling the tension of war, trying to drown it in music and alcohol. Well done, Janet! I also loved “Flying Her Colors”. It was the perfect story for your fabulous photo. It seemed so Alfred Hitchcock.

    • Lisa, “Flying Her Colors” is one of my favorite stories, I think. As for the photo, it’s definitely near the top of what I feel are my best photos. Bill spotted the dress and I had to get the photo. To be compared to Hitchcock is a wonderful compliment. Thanks for taking the time to read both.

      jaent

  26. Absolutely brilliant. I love the story idea and your writing style has a very punchy feel to it that I like

  27. wmqcolby says:

    Oh WAAAAAY too cool, Janet. I LOVE it! Has some good stuff in there for future expansion. Awesome!

  28. You traveled a long way in that story to get to a fascinating ending. I thought of those people as innocent common folk caught up in war and you showed us the bravery of the common folk — and those with challenges as well. Great job! (…oh, and tell Rich it was Leonard Bernstein who did West Side Story.)

  29. What a clever story, and I love the music being a vehicle for both hope and communication. 🙂

  30. elappleby says:

    Brilliant resistance story and a great, imaginative use of the prompt. I really enjoyed this.

  31. K.Z. says:

    great story as always Janet. and wonderful descriptions. earlier i was watching a movie about war and how it destroys individuals, truly sad

  32. To finish: a luta continua. Nice piece.

  33. Alice Audrey says:

    Yep, who would suspect a blind woman? Great 100 – whether scratched out with an actual pen first or not.

  34. I love the intrigue that has been woven here!

  35. unspywriter says:

    A lot packed into so few words, and we’re of the same mind with our stories this week. Well done.

    Here’s mine: http://unexpectedpaths.com/friday-fictioneers/lift-every-voice/

  36. draliman says:

    A very strong story of what it must have been like in the Resistance in WWII (or any resistance in occupied territory in any war). Life continuing but with different rules and fewer resources.
    Very enjoyable!

  37. rgayer55 says:

    Music has a way of engaging people, doesn’t it? I once had an album of Civil War songs and who can forget those anti-war songs from the late 60s that had people marching in the streets. I really enjoyed this one, Janet.

  38. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Janet, I absolutely love this story and I also read the one from last year too. You are so very talented! You’re right, no one would suspect a blind woman! Awesome job! Nan:)

  39. Dee says:

    Great story Janet. It reminded me of ‘The Lady Vanishes’ – a seemingly nice old lady is a spy, passing secrets via music.An old film but worth a watch. It was remade with Cybil Shepherd and Elliot Gould, but the original black and white, directed by Hitchcock is the best I think.
    Well done
    Dee

  40. Sun says:

    love your title and the blind character in your story. great story, as always. 🙂

  41. Amy Reese says:

    What a cleverly crafted story for the prompt, Janet. I’m glad you could connect it to an earlier work. You have so much packed in here. Well done!

  42. I could imagine it all very well, the mood, the bleakness, the subterfuge. Very well done!

  43. I love what you did with the title. Great story, fantastic description.

    • Thanks, Etienne. You may be the only person that mentioned the title, which I spent some time thinking of, so that’s especially appreciated. I always try for titles that are clever if possible and contribute to the story. (Love those free words!) 🙂

      janet

  44. Sarah Ann says:

    I love that the music has become a message of defiance and resistance. And of course everyone overlooks the disabled ones.

    • Too often the disabled ones are simply put away a/o killed. Music has such power to move that rulers have banned songs of resistance. But in this case, they didn’t know what was being passed along. Glad you liked it and thanks for still reading. 🙂 I have a few more stories to go myself.

      janet

  45. Very nice and interesting…a good combination.

  46. AnnIsikArts says:

    I like this story. “No one suspects a blind woman.” I like this best. The arts have often been good camouflage in conflict situations. I like that, too! 🙂

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