As Julia shook herself from those bleak memories of occupied Paris, she considered what she knew. Not much. Maybe it had been a crazy idea to return to France, but there was no paper trail—only memories to guide her.
Think. What is crucial to finding the way? Is this? “There is no beginning or end to the story—time circles,” an old woman with jade green eyes in a war-weathered face had told her. She was one of thousands of refugees streaming back into post-war Paris.
Julia sighs. What is she missing? She needs the one puzzle piece that will let her see the entire picture. And somehow Paul, and her relationship with him is the key.
If there is no beginning or end, she needs to work from the middle. She needs to become Night Hawk again.
Perhaps this one doesn’t work as flash fiction, but. . .more on my non-linear make-it-up-as-I-go spy story. This is for Prosery on dVerse, where I’m hosting today using the line: “Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end.”
From Jo Harjo’s “A Map to the Next World.”
I like how it makes sense to start from the middle to get to the end of the beginning— and there is no other way than to go into her costume again.
Thank you. Yes, I suppose she has to think it out.
Such a great use of the prompt! Love this next chapter, Merril!
Thank you so much, Dale!
Those “jade green eyes in a war-weathered face,” ..speak volumes! I like the idea of working from the middle. This is such a stunning, stunning piece of prose, Merril! 💝💝
Aww–thank you, Sanaa! That is so kind. ❤️
So utterly perfect Merril!
Thank you, Linda! 😀
Great make it up as you go story! I’m recently reading a book in the time period of WWII, so it was even timely!!
Thank you so much, Beverly. I’m so pleased you enjoyed it, and that it’s timely, too.
Have always loved Hopper’s work and recognized it right away before even seeing his name beneath it. It fits well with the fiction you’ve developed here. I think the line works very well in a spy setting…..Becoming Night Hawk again….code name no doubt. The trail for a spy is many times not linear…so this line works perfectly here. Well done!
Thank you very much, Lillian. Yes, there are definitely mysteries. I’m not sure of the story. 😀
Really liked this one. I want to read more about the Night Hawk, her history and her search. Well done!
Thank you so much!
Another good chapter of looking for clues on the search to find Paul, the key.
Thank you so much, Lisa.
You’re very welcome.
You’ve definitely peaked my interest in your spy story. One crucial clue left to finding Paul? And that the old woman is at the center of it is mysterious and fascinating.
Thanks, Dora. Who knows? I don’t. 😀 But I’m so pleased you enjoyed it.
Brilliant insertion of prompt, Merril! THANKS.
Thank you so much, Ron.!
Great job, Merril!
Your flash fiction works for me 🙂 It’s intriguing!
Thank you, Marie!😀
The middle kind of sounds like the present, which is the best place to be! This was intriguing and I enjoyed the voice!
Thank you so much, Tricia!
A very good story! Starting in the middle seems to be where all of us are living.
Thank you, Dwight. That’s a good point.
It may be a make-it-up-as-you-go-story but it makes perfect sense so far Merril.
Thank you so much for reading and commenting, David! Hugs back to you!
What an intriguing lure into the mystery, even if it’s a mystery to you too. That’s even more intriguing!
Thank you very much, Mish!😀
you highlight the stark tragedy of war, all those lost … great intriguing mystery!
Thank you so much!
We enter a new chapter. Fantastic.
Thank you so much, Claudia!
I love books and movies about WWII. Your snippet fascinted me and I want to read so much more. ☺️💕
Thank you very much, Christine!
I was very happy to see the return of Julia! I look forward to the next installment (hint, hint, but no pressure). 🙂
Thank you very much, Liz. I don’t think I had named her before, but apparently her name began with a J. 😀
You’re welcome, Merril. The name fits!
Thank you! 😀
I remember using this painting as a prompt for my college composition students. The best could produce decent flash fiction. Hopper had no idea the inspiration his work has sparked, including your piece here. Thanks, Merril!
Thank you very much, Marian!
I love reading episodes from your spy story Merril, and you’ve worked in the prompt very cleverly so it does not look like a line of poetry. I found this too hard so I put mine at the end! I look forward to the next episode…
Thank you very much, Ingrid.
It’s always a challenge to pick a line for Prosery. 😀
Oh, oh, oh! Can I become Night Hawk instead of her? That seems like so much fun!
Thank you, David. I suspect that being a spy in WWII France was not much fun. 😏
A good new chapter – still intriguing
Love the idea of working from the middle. Great property quote. Thanks for hosting.
Thank you very much.
Looking forward to Night Hawk. (K)
Thank you, Kerfe!
Thanks so much for a neat challenge … I’ve just begun reading “The German Girl” … hoping it is as intriguing as your Night Hawk. And Hopper never fails to satisfy!!!
Thank you so much, Helen. I’m so pleased you enjoyed my story and challenge.
The St. Louis journey haunts me sometimes. I wrote a poem based on it. There’s an account on Twitter called the St. Louis Manifest that tweets stories of people on that voyage.
I really like this, Merril. Whatever the writing is technically called, it is a good piece of reading!
Thank you so much, Resa. I’m pleased you enjoyed it!
she needs to work from the middle.
She needs to become Night Hawk again
Love the closing, Merril! It is so apt in continuity and keeping the ‘spy thriller ‘stance to keep on going.
Thank you so much, Hank!
Intriguing – love the mystery in this. Clever way of breaking up the quotation too.
Thank you very much!
Another great flash prompt-responded fiction, Merril. “There is no beginning or end to the story.” is so true for writers and for readers and for LIFE. Finding the middle is a perfect idea for Julia. Such fun….
Thank you so much, Pam. I’m happy you enjoyed it. 😀
It’s nice to see you work this into your evolving tale.
Thank you very much, Ken. 😀
It does sound like something a wise old person would say. You’re keeping this story going wonderfully!
Thank you so much!
One day perhaps I’ll try to put it all together, or perhaps not.
You’d probably find it made no sense whatsoever 🙂
Oh, I’m sure it wouldn’t. It would need lots of tinkering to even make it semi-coherent. 😀
They’re the kind of things that are fun to write but they’re not intended for the long haul!
I love how you set this as a question in her mind, the existential “Is this?”
Thank you, Paul! 😀
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