She Waits: Microfiction


Harald Slott-Møller . “Spring”[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Every day, just before twilight, Susie arrives, blond curls adored with flowers, and feet bare, no matter the season. She appears silently and sits by the water. The birds come and go in a noisy chatter, but she doesn’t talk back to them. She sits quietly. This is typical. She was always a pensive child. But folks often remarked that when Susie did smile, her face lit up in such a way that all around her smiled back.

The chirps and trills of the birds, the whir of insects, and the soft lapping of the water create a harmony of nature. There are no human sounds. Long ago, the area was vibrant, alive with fishermen and farmers, artists and craftspeople, lovers and families–and joy. Some say it was disease, a plague that destroyed this world; others say it was the men who came with whips and chains. But does it matter? That life vanished hundreds of years ago. And Susie no longer smiles.

Still, she comes and sits by the water, as though waiting for something. What does Susie’s gaze reveal? Is it hope or warning? Ask the few who have glimpsed her sitting there in the gloaming. Ask, if you can find them.


This story is in response to Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge using this painting  by Harald Slott-Møller. I pretty much ignored spring and the prompt words.

17 thoughts on “She Waits: Microfiction

  1. I like the eerie atmosphere of this. Susie is very old. I take it that’s intentional. You mention what folks say about her, so there are people left. I’m not very straight about time scales in this one, or how many people are left alive, since the narrator implies both a time in the lifetime of the child when there were people and she smiled, and afterwards, a long time afterwards, when she doesn’t smile and there’s no one to see it. If you just intend it to be mysterious, that works fine. A time frame that isn’t human.

  2. It’s meant to be mysterious, but maybe I was too vague. 🙂
    I was attempting to describe both the past and the present (as it exists in this story). I wanted to leave it kind of open to the reader. In my mind, Susie is a ghost that the few humans who wander by might see.

  3. I like Susie. She’s definitely trying to give us a warning; she hopes we’ll see her and heed her warning, but few do either. It’s the nature of homo domesticus to be complacent until it’s too late. The eejits.
    Great story.

  4. You have been going “rogue” the last couple of flash micro-fiction stories, Merril. . . and I love it! You take the photo of the painting and run with it, in your own unique direction.
    Great title and could almost imagine the sun shining brighter~ should Susie smile once again!

    • Thanks, Robin. The few times I’ve written stories based on what I remember of the pictures without going back to look at them till later, and I’ve forgotten the themes. I guess whatever works. 🙂 I’m glad you’ve enjoyed them!

  5. Pingback: Microfiction challenge Spring: the entries – Jane Dougherty Writes

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