Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers is hosted by Priceless Joy. The challenge is to write a story based on a photo prompt in 100-150 words (+ / – 25 words). This weeks prompt is courtesy of Fandango.


The elderly looking man slowly hobbled toward the park bench. For hours, it seemed, he stood under a tree, bent at the waist leaning heavily on his cane. He waited for the current occupants to vacate the bench.

Once a month, he sat on this bench. Making sure no one was close enough to notice, he leaned forward.  Reaching underneath, he felt for the piece of paper. It was there as usual.

Opening the note, he read it to himself.

“It’s safe now. You are free.”

With a mix of relief and sadness, he stood to leave. No longer bent at the waist, he left his cane leaning against the bench. Removing his hat and glasses, he threw them in a trash bin. Walking briskly down the path, he made his way out of the park. His life would begin again starting now. Sadly, he would have to live without those he loved and had to leave behind.


This story is loosely inspired by an elderly man I shared a park bench with one day. We started talking about the weather but soon we moved into his life story. He wanted to tell me. This man bravely escaped the chaos of the ‘60’s in mainland China. He hiked over mountains, took a small boat in deep water, and swam the rest of the way to Hong Kong. Over the last couple of months, I have occasionally shared a bench with him. Each time, he recounted more of his story. With sadness, he told me of his family and friends he left behind. They didn’t run. They had a choice, either raise their little red books or be sent to serve in labor camps. Many of his friends were sent to camps where they tragically passed away at too young an age.

17 Comments Add yours

  1. Iain Kelly says:

    Excellent, really liked this one. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Iain, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! =)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a sad back story! The man in your story sounds happy to be free of his wife. Great story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! Thanks for your encouragement. It does read like the character is glad to be free of his wife. But that wasn’t what I was going for (haha). I tweaked the story to include, “Sadly, he would have to live without those he loved and had to leave behind.” Hope that sounds better. Thanks again! =)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, it does. Thanks!


  3. What a powerful story. Loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m happy your enjoyed it! =)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. draliman says:

    Not all he seemed! Nice little spy tale 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you picked that up! Glad you enjoyed. Thanks! =)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The slow pace of the prose at the beginning belies the weight pressing on this man which contrasts poignantly with the light, brisk prose (man) who leaves. I had the feeling he would be back again though, bent by his burden. Really beautiful story, Brenda.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your encouragement, Kelvin. I very much appreciate your comments! Have a nice day. =)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Create Space says:

    So much captured in such a small space Brenda, really lovel

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Marie!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dahlia says:

    So many people lead difficult lives but we never bother to look beyond the facade. Your story teaches us to be more empathetic and less judgemental – nicely done Brenda 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Dahlie! I very glad you were moved by the story. =)

      Liked by 1 person

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