The Rose Garden #fridayflash #fiction #flashfiction


Wow! Surely I’m not the only one who totally missed the month of July….. Where in the world did it go? Ah, well, at least we’re a lot closer to football season than the last time I looked. Go Battle! Go Vols!  

I don’t know if I’m early or late but in either case I hope you enjoy this week’s (whichever week you happen to be living in) #fridayflash, The Rose Garden, rated PG by my standards. Be sure to visit the Friday Flash Community where you’ll find more terrific flash fiction by outstanding authors!

By the way, how do you answer the infamous question: “What do you write?”? Visit This Side….Over Yonder and join in on the conversation.

Image by Deanna Schrayer

Image by Deanna Schrayer

The Rose Garden, by Roslyn Fain

“How are you doing in here sweetheart?” The voice of the buxom nurse filled the bedroom.

“Hey Georgina,” Alafia smiled, grateful for the distraction. She had been trying to write but, once again, allowed her thoughts to roam too far away. “I’m doing okay.”

Georgina frowned and put her hands on her hips. “Is that the truth, Miss?” she said.

“Yes, I promise,” Alafia said and she sat her notebook and pen aside and pushed herself up to a sitting position to prove it. She didn’t expect that her elbow would not cooperate. They both heard the snap as Alafia’s left side collapsed, leaving her bent sideways across the bed.

“Yep, I thought so,” Georgina said as she rushed to Alafia’s side. Alafia had drawn in a sharp breath but otherwise did not complain. Georgina made sure it was only Alafia’s bones popping and not breaking before she said, “You’ve not been up and around enough today. Come on,” she turned and grabbed the wheelchair behind her and sidled it up beside the bed, “let’s go outside.” She pushed the covers off Alafia’s legs and gently turned them to hang off the side of the bed.

“But isn’t it about to rain?” Alafia said.

“Naw,” Georgina replied, “It’s just a heavy mist is all, noting to fret over.”

It was often foggy there on the lake and Alafia knew Georgina was right – it was not more than a mist out there now. “I would like to get out some,” she said.

“That’s my girl!”

Georgina pushed the wheelchair across the portico and into the side yard, trying, but failing, to conceal her heavy breathing. They were headed towards the rose garden.

“I want to walk, George,” Alafia said.

“All right, let’s just get over here to the arbor first and I’ll help you.” Alafia was glad to feel the tiny jolts in her hips as they bumped across the cobblestoned walkway; it was when she couldn’t feel her bones and joints working that she worried.

The rose garden was an anomaly as no roses had grown in the half-acre portion of the grounds for at least a half century. According to Alafia’s husband, Kevin, his grandmother had planted several different varieties of rose bushes there when she inherited the homestead in her early adult years, but when the children came along she couldn’t keep up with it and finally her husband had removed the rose bushes and planted wildflowers in their place. Alafia was glad they had photos of the roses but wished Kevin’s grandfather had not completely destroyed the beautiful garden. She could imagine how gorgeous it would be today, how it would have likely grown further out and definitely higher than the bare arbor that served as nothing more than ornamentation now.

“You know,” Alafia said as Georgina helped her out of the wheelchair, “I’ve always wanted to plant roses here, to regrow the garden that Kevin’s grandmother started.

Georgina was silent. She wanted to say “Well, let’s get busy then!” but how could she encourage a dying woman to start a new life she’d not live to see come to fruition?

Alafia said, “What do you think, George, should we plant roses here again?” She held onto the railing of the arbor and inched along the winding path, Indian paintbrush and blue aster tickling her legs.

“Oh, I don’t know about that, Miss Alafia,” Georgina said.

Of course Alafia said exactly what Georgina was afraid she would: “Why not?” She had stopped walking and turned to stare at her nurse, challenging her to speak the truth, to say because you’re dying, nitwit!, but Georgina only turned her gaze away from Alafia and changed the subject. “You know, Miss, I think you’re right, it looks like it’s going to pour down the rain any minute.” She turned and hooked her arm around Alafia’s shoulders and guided her back towards her wheelchair. “Let’s get you back inside before we get drenched.”

Alafia wanted to protest. She wanted to demand that her nurse help her start preparing the soil for rosebushes immediately, she wanted to grab the sickle and attack those damn wildflowers, to get rid of them now. She wanted to run……

By the time Alafia had come to her senses Georgina had already gotten her back into bed and was snuggling the pillows up close to Alafia’s legs and hips. Alafia didn’t even recall the ride back across the portico and inside the house. She said nothing as Georgina went in and out of the room over the next few minutes, refilling Alafia’s water pitcher, adding medicine to the vaporizer, setting a fresh bowl of cold water with a washcloth on the bedside table. When Georgina reached to close the blinds Alafia said, “No, George, please leave them open.”

“But you need to rest Al, to take a nap.”

“I don’t care,” Alafia sounded like a spoiled child. “I just want to be able to see out,” she said, not as forceful.

Georgina planted her hands on her hips and looked down her nose at her charge as she always did when pretending to decide whether or not to argue. But she always gave in. She sighed heavily. “All right,” she said and she pointed her finger in Alafia’s face, “but if I catch you up and not resting I’m busting your butt!”

Alafia giggled. “Yes, ma’am!” she said.

“I mean it!” Georgina said as she closed the door softly behind her.

Alafia picked her notebook and pen back up from the table. She clicked the pen on and held it above the paper. But she did not write anything. She looked out the window just as the first large drops of rain died on the window pane, leaking down the glass like unchecked tears.


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Future Memory #fridayflash #fiction #flashfiction



Thank you for stopping in to read my #fridayflash. Future Memory is a sort of reverie I wrote in about five minutes and what I’m calling pace practice….. It is rated PG by my standardsBe sure to visit the Friday Flash Community for more great flash fiction by outstanding authors! 

Image by Roslyn Fain


Future Memory, Roslyn Fain

Palm fronds dark and vivid tickling hazy indigo sky and, if you look beyond your peripheral vision, you’ll see, on the horizon, salt-water lifting, lifting from the ocean to race towards shore where you stand with camera in hand capturing the beauty of nature, up, around, down, more beauty below at your (sun-kissed) toes squishing into sand where a lone hermit crab slams sideways into your ankle, shakes the sharp blow from his head, reaches out, tentative as a human examining a jellyfish, brushes his pincer against your skin and you move, it tickles!, and the crab, quick! so quick you don’t even see it, retreats into his shell and lays there, not moving.

The crab lies perfectly still for your perfectly aimed camera and oh, the children will love this!, you think – you have access to the resort’s printer and for mere dollars you can blow up the picture of the hermit crab crawling towards the horizon where the ocean rains down on itself and, just between shore and water, you’ll carefully align the Dead pirate, (peeking up from desiccated casket like your Uncle Joe pulling a prank), put him in his place, exactly where he belongs: in his watery grave.

And oh! don’t forget – you must take a picture of the alligator that lives in a pond by the cabins, surprisingly close to the cabins, to the pool where the little ones splash day-in-day-out and the alligator will go on the other side of the pirate, line him up just so, maybe there’s still blood on the pirate’s hands and the alligator will have a meal and as soon as your sons see this picture on the cover of their vacation activity book you just know they’ll be inspired to fill the blank pages, (not with scribbly lines to color but with words!), they will write words on these pages, each of them will create an entirely different story of their own and on the trip home, the fourteen-hour-long-ride-home, the story and their own accompanying illustrations will complete the book for you to store away until high school graduation.

As you’re traveling by car to visit your sons’ first choice of six colleges you’ll open your book bag and pull out the notebooks, the first and the most recent, and you’ll say, “Oh, wow, look what I found!” and you’ll reverently hand each of your children the books they created all those years ago and your children will say, “Gee Mom, you kept these things?”

“Of course.”

“I thought it was just something to shut us up on those long trips.”

And you’re hurt, you’re offended until you glance over and see your husband in the driver’s seat smiling and then your sons are laughing – once again, joke’s on Mom, Mom’s so funny!

And all this reels through your over-wrought brain like the best movie you’ve never seen, all in the space of mere seconds it took to snap that crab in your viewfinder.

You’d best savor that future memory, cherish it, for it’s the only time you’ll ever see it.


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Roger and Dani #fridayflash #fiction



Thank you for stopping in to read my #fridayflash. I posted a portion of Roger and Dani’s story a while ago, on my former site The Other Side of Deanna, but it was more of a character sketch (of Dani) than a story. This is the beginning of Roger and Dani’s story. It is rated PG according to my standards.

Be sure to visit the Friday Flash Community for more great flash fiction by outstanding authors!

Image by Roslyn Fain

Image by Roslyn Fain

Roger and Dani, by Roslyn Fain

Danielle O’Malley, a petite, but strikingly regal young woman, stormed out of the pub, yelling, “I don’t give a damn who hears me Hank, do you hear? I don’t care!” She jerked her apron off and threw it to the ground, getting it caught on the threshold when she tried to slam the flimsy screen door.

As she kicked at the apron, trying to loosen it from the nail it’d gotten snagged on, her sundress got caught on the tear in the screen. She held still a moment and released a heavy sigh, then jerked the dress free, hearing it rip and not caring.

It appeared she had calmed down, but then she gave Hank a few last words, “I absolutely will not put up with those skanky old men trying to grope me any longer, I quit!” With that she kicked the door, (intending to kick it shut but only succeeding in making it rattle in its frame), spun on her chunky-heeled cowboy boots, and stomped away, scattering gravel in her wake.

Roger had been about to enter the bar and almost got his nose broken when Dani had banged the door open. He’d taken a couple steps back and watched while she unleashed the tirade. Now she was marching towards the dirt road, oblivious of Roger altogether.

He stood helpless for a moment, unsure what to do, looking from the door to Dani, from Dani to the door, and back again. He took hold of the door handle and pulled it open, then, hearing her muttering curses on poor Hank, (not so much under her breath), he let the door close and followed her, cautiously as if tracking a bear.

“You all right?” he said, still a safe distance away.

She stopped and turned towards him so fast he instinctively held up his hands, as if in surrender. “Whoa, whoa, whoa,” he said, “I’m not Hank, I’m just a stranger.”

“Yea, well,” Dani said in a low voice, “You’d better be glad of that.” She stared at him a moment before turning back to the road and continuing on her way. At least she was no longer stomping.

Again Roger was unsure what to do. He really didn’t want to get involved in a situation that was none of his business, but something about the spit-fire of a woman drew him toward her, he felt compelled to keep her in sight.

“Hey look,” he said, still hanging far enough back to step out of the way should she come charging with flying fists, “I was just going to get a drink, you wanna join me?”

She stopped, but didn’t turn around. Roger stared at her back. She slowly swiveled. “In that dump?” she laughed.

“Well yea, that’s where I was going, but, um, seeing as how you most likely don’t want to go back in there we could go somewhere else. Jake’s maybe.”

Dani looked at him a bit closer then, taking in his tall, athletic frame, his dark Cherokee features, the wariness in his close-set eyes, which reminded her of a died-down campfire. She thought no, I’d best not, but she nodded, almost as if she were no longer in control of her neck muscles. “Yea, sure, why not,” she said, and with a vigorous laugh that caused her red-gold curls to bounce about her shoulders, “long as you’re paying.”   

If Roger had known then what he knew now he would’ve let Dani keep on stomping down the road. 


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Unseeing #fridayflash #fiction #flashfiction


Thank you for stopping in to read my #fridayflash. I’m posting a little early this week since we have a lot going on this weekend. Be sure to visit the Friday Flash Community for more great flash fiction by outstanding authors! Unseeing is rated R by my standards.

Unseeing, by Roslyn Fain

He’d done it again. She knew he had, yet she could say nothing because, if she did, he’d know she knew. And he couldn’t know, it was too soon. He couldn’t know! But the rage that twisted its way from her gut to her head, where it spread in a tingling fit, could not be contained ….

“What are you doing?” she said, speed-walking from the bathroom to the bed where he lay propped against the headboard, his laptop barely sitting on his raised knees.

He glanced up at her, his face blanching, and furiously click-click-clicked the touchpad, but the computer wasn’t fast enough and so he sat up and closed the lid. She stood looking down at his hands, which gripped both sides of the laptop so tight his knuckles were white.

A drop of water dripped from her soaked head and splashed his bare knee. He looked her up and down then and raised his eyebrows as if to remind her why they were here, in this hotel thousands of miles from home, (thus thousands of miles from their problems) – to rekindle what was once burning with fever but now hadn’t even the faintest glow.

He reached up towards her breasts where she held the towel closed and she stood still, resigned to giving him what he wanted, or what it appeared he wanted, despite the anger pounding through her body. But when he emitted a low, throaty growl the bile rose up to her throat and threatened to spill. Just as he got hold of the towel she stepped backwards, away from him, the towel falling to the floor, and she clutched her stomach. She felt her lips curl up in disgust but she seemed to have no control over them. She continued to back slowly away.

“Where do you think you’re going, Kayla?” He wasn’t unkind, but neither was he teasing.

She stopped and stood naked and shaking before him. He didn’t move to pull her down to the bed. They stared straight through each other, trying to see what lay beyond.

It was a full minute before the contest was broken by the chirping of his phone, a ring tone she didn’t recall him using before. They both looked at it setting on the nightstand and looked back to each other. He picked the phone up and looked at the screen and jumped off the bed as if stung by a wasp. He walked around her, far around so that he didn’t touch her naked and dripping body, and opened the door to the hallway.

“Glen!” she said, irritated with herself for saying anything at all.

He stopped on the threshold and looked at his phone again. It had stopped ringing and now started again. “I’ve got to take this,” he said, and he walked out the door, not seeing his wife crumple to the floor, not seeing her pull the comforter off the bed and wrapping her shivering body in it, not seeing the tears slide down her pale face, not seeing her cover her head with the blanket. Not seeing her.


Unseeing is the story I see when I hear one of Bruce Springsteen‘s all-time greats, Trapped.

First-time comments are held for moderation; once it is approved you will be able to comment, without moderation, on future posts and on pages.

Click here for contact information. Click here to return to the homepage, where you’ll find links to follow The Tale Well (top right of page). Visit This Side….Over Yonder, where you can read more stories by Deanna Schrayer, including the just-published short short memoir, My baby’s feet.

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Those First Nights (from The Journals of Sylvia Hollinger) #fridayflash #fiction

frdayflashbadge02  Hello everyone, and welcome to The Tale Well: Stories by Roslyn Fain. Some of you know me as Deanna Schrayer, a short fiction and creative nonfiction writer. Writing as Roslyn, my stories, and my voice, are no different; it just came time to employ a pen name. For those of you who have just arrived, welcome! And for those of you who know my work, thanks for coming back!

Click here for more information about Roslyn. My first #fridayflash as Roslyn is a snippet from a short, (that is wanting to be a novella), I’m working on. I appreciate all kind and constructive critique. Be sure to visit the Friday Flash Community for more great flash fiction by outstanding authors!

Just like Deanna, I have a ratings system for my stories. Those First Nights: from The Journals of Sylvia Hollinger, is rated PG-13, according to my standards.  


image by Roslyn Fain

image by Roslyn Fain

Those First Nights: from The Journals of Sylvia Hollinger, by Roslyn Fain

The first couple of nights I credited the usual unease of sleeping in a new place; after all I had lived smack-dab in the middle of the city before and normally fell asleep to the sounds of music pumping from the jazz club downtown, growing louder and louder as the night darkened and the wee morning hours crept up like a jack-in-the-box. Often I heard the train whistle scream in the middle of the night, even kids slamming their skateboards on the sidewalk and yelling at each other like there was some evil creature sneaking up behind them and they needed to hurry away. So of course, here at the farm house, those first nights when I’d suddenly jerk awake to some hideous racket and then hear nothing at all, only the complete stillness of the dark, it was pretty much impossible to sink back into oblivion.

By the third night I realized how simple the solution was and I chastised myself for not thinking of it sooner. All I needed to do was turn the radio on, make the environment more like what I was used to and, surely, I’d get some sleep. Little did I know how violently this house hates noise.


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P.S. Thank you for your patience as I work to build The Tale Well.

Click here for contact information. Click here to return to the homepage, where you’ll find links to follow The Tale Well (top right of page).

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Who is Roslyn Fain?

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