Friday Fictioneers–Black Friday

Posted: November 12, 2014 in Friday Fictioneers
Tags: , , ,

One hundred words aren’t many to tell a story.  Yet every week, a large group of authors gather to try to do just that, then share their stories with other authors and readers.  We call ourselves Friday Fictioneers, as the photo prompt used to be posted on Friday.  Now it’s posted early Wednesday morning (at least in the US) and the stories come fast and furious, continuing throughout the week.  If you’d like to read more stories, click on the blue critter at the end of my story.  If you want to participate, go to the site of Rochelle, our hostess, read the “rules”, write and post your story.

Hollywood crowdcopyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Black Friday

“Fran, let’s go to the fitting room.”

No answer.

I turned around. No little blonde-headed girl. Trying not to panic, I scanned the store.



Mouth dry, I hurried to the front of the store, perusing the crowds clogging the street. No chance of spotting one five-year-old. Frantic, I pulled out my cell, started punching 9-1-1.


I whirled.


“Mommy, can you find me?”
“No, honey. Where are you?”

Her blonde head popped out from under the circular clothes rack. “You couldn’t find me!”
“No, honey, I couldn’t.”

Torn between relief and anger, I simply hugged her.

  1. That’s a nightmare for every mom and every kid. It happened some times as I was a girl and we always had a “reunion”, but I still can remember the fear and the shock and the cold feeling what I had in my tummy when I was “lost” in a store :o)

  2. Oh my, I can imagine your worry! Hide and seek in a store could be tricky but who can blame on a child innocence 🙂

    • Indah, thankfully this is just a fictional story, but it’s based on what our older daughter used to enjoy doing–hiding or playing under the circular racks of clothes while I was looking at them. Fortunately, I knew she was doing it, so I didn’t panic. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


  3. wmqcolby says:

    One of our finest Screenwriting Colony writers wrote a fantastic story on child kidnapping. It was as breathtaking as this story was. I could see here the frantic running through the store and also feel the horror of the character thinking the worst.
    Whoa! Awesome, Janet! Truly marvelous!

  4. This made my stomach churn!

  5. I was so expecting that to end differently. Nice work.

    • A surprise ending where I hadn’t planned on one. 🙂 Works for me. I almost forget that this is FF, where bad/unhappy/evil endings are more often than not the norm. 🙂


  6. Oh yes, the primal surge of relief trumps everything else. Nice!

  7. Sandra says:

    You certainly cranked up the suspense beautifully on this one, Janet. Well done.

  8. Archon's Den says:

    I just read Adam’s story of child loss, and now yours…. I think I need to lie down. Great suspense, and then relief. 😀

    • I know what you mean about resting. I have to take breaks from reading FF stories and commenting. It can take a lot out of a person. Glad you enjoyed the story. To me, things that could be real are much scarier than stories about things I don’t believe in, such as vampires, etc., even though those stories can be frightening and filled with suspense.


  9. elmowrites says:

    Ooh, you got me right in the stomach. Thank you for making it OK in the end.

  10. Matt Spence says:

    I pulled that stunt on my own mother once!

  11. I think that children need to learn not to play with their parents like that.. but a hug helps.

  12. I remember that feeling well! Nicely done.

  13. Oh, how awful to think you’ve lost your child. I’m watching the British miniseries ‘Missing’, and it’s heartbreaking stuff.

  14. Janet, That sounded almost exactly like something I did when I was little. My mother was scared until she saw my shoes under the clothes. She then got upset, took me into the lady’s restroom, and paddled me. It was the only time I remember getting spanked. I learned fast. 🙂 — Susan

    • Ahh, the days of swiftly rendered justice! I think there are plenty children now who would profit by a spanking, not any abusive sort, but the sort that gets the attention and teaches a quick lesson.


  15. I remember hiding inside a clothes rack – once. My mother was not so kind. Well captured!

  16. Thanks for the happy ending, Janet. I needed that!

  17. billgncs says:

    I remember when she wanted to hide in every clothing rack 🙂

  18. Dear Janet,

    In my life this is a true story. Only the child was Christian. I was just about ready to call the police when I found his empty stroller between the inner and outer doors at Macy’s when he popped out from under the dress rack. I didn’t know which to do first. Spank him or hug him. That’s when I got one of those child leashes for him and stared right back at those disapproving glares from strangers.

    Good story. I love it that the “twist” at the end is a happy one.



    • My mom tells the story of how my brother would wander off when he was little so she got one of those leashes. He just hung at the end/sat down, so that didn’t work for him.


  19. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Janet,

    Nowadays (and any day) this would be a real nightmare. Need one of those tags you an put on things to track them with. Well done.



  20. rgayer55 says:

    My kids were older than this, but I once went to the service desk at Walmart and had them paged to the front. They came sneaking in with a very sheepish look on their faces. After that, when I told them to meet me at a certain time and place, they were always there. Embarrassment is a great tool, especially effective on teenagers. 🙂

  21. storydivamg says:

    A parent’s nightmare indeed, Janet. You had my heart pounding in my throat, especially with the added dimension provided by your title. Perhaps this is part of why I never shop on Black Friday. It just isn’t worth the potential for loss.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

    • Marie, I used the title for the actual shopping day if people wanted to look at it that way and/or that it was a black day because she thought her daughter was lost. I never shop on BF because I can’t stand all the crowds and there’s nothing I need that badly. 🙂

  22. IN my very short stint in retail this happened often. EXACTLY like this. Well done.

  23. My heart just started racing, as I relived this very scene… more than once! Such a scary moment for a parent, when are kids behave… like kids. 😉 Nice job, Janet!

  24. plaridel says:

    nicely done. caught my attention all the way through. in addition, i love happy ending. 🙂

  25. wildbilbo says:

    I used to do this to my mum *ALL THE TIME*! She never panicked, so either she was cool under pressure, or…

    She was cool under pressure. Definitely.

    Nicely done.

  26. Ellespeth says:

    Kids are just so clueless at that young age 😦 The mom handles this well…

    • I remember telling the girls that when we were at a mall, not an everyday occurrence, that they could walk together (or with their friends), but needed to stay relatively close where we could see them. At a very young age, they don’t really understand why, but still need to do what Mom and Dad say.


  27. Time for some serious discussion. Heart in mouth story!

  28. Bastet says:

    A cold chill with a happy ending .. and a great write Janet … bravo! Ciao, Georgia

  29. Eeeekkk .. a Mom’s worse nightmare. I lost my daughter in Mexico when she was 5. You can’t imagine my terror. It turned out she was a horse love and still is – took lessons until 12 – and went to see a horse that was on display as an advertisement for a rodeo that evening. Heavens we were so glad to find her. This story brought back those fearful moments. 😥

  30. Amy Reese says:

    Oh, I know those mixed feelings of anger and relief! I’m glad this has a happy ending. My son likes to hide under the hanging clothes when we go to department stores. Drives me crazy! And I avoid the Black Friday scene altogether. Nice take, Janet. Well done.

    • Evidently lots of children like to do this, Amy. I’m a Black Friday avoid-er as well. I used the title to also indicate something bad (averted, in this case.) Glad you liked it.

      Have a great weekend.


  31. Every mom’s worst nightmare! I swear I experience this almost every week! 😦

  32. Honie Briggs says:

    Janet, the panic had a chokehold on me for a moment. Thanks for ending. What a relief!

  33. Sarah Ann says:

    So well painted – the fear and relief. I think Fran needs to be kept on a shorter lead 🙂

  34. Don’t cha just hate little kids who play that shit. I do..

    My kids did it. I did it.
    Why do we do it?
    Don’t cha just hate kids.
    Couldn’t ya just kill them

    But then we hug them. I don’t get it.


    • At least the first time they do it, they’re just playing and don’t realize you worry about them. After all, they know where they are; why wouldn’t you? But the times after that, when you’ve told them, that’s a different matter. 🙂

      As for the hugging, same reason we hug our spouses when they make us crazy, don’t you think? Love.


  35. Nice building of suspense and I was glad for the happy ending.

  36. This was quite suspenseful. I expected the worst, but I’m glad for a happy ending. Well done, Janet!

  37. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Janet, Every mother has probably had that instant of panic and not knowing where one of the kids are. There is, to me, no worse panic. You wrote a memorable story and such a scary one too. Good job! Nan 🙂

  38. Excellent story, glad you decided on a happy ending.