The Runaway

In Fiction, Writing on May 11, 2012 at 12:11 pm

moon stars sky

They floated downstream, the river sliding silently beneath the raft. The stars, reflected in its undulations, were like smoldering embers in a vein of shiny black coal.

“How long?”

“Til they come looking? Not before morning, if we’re lucky.”

“And then?”

“Then we’ll go to ground — hide out in them trees. Thicker past the mill.”

Tom rolled aside. Up the bank, the trees were marching by in gray and black bands, broken only now and then by the glow of a lamp in the distance. They had left the town behind.

“And then?”

“You know what then,” the man said. “Now stop asking.”


This story is my response Madison Woods Friday Fictioneers prompt (the picture, from her blog, is the prompt). Check out the other stories (including Madison’s) and submit your own on the comments page!

Feedback and other stories welcome below! Please feel free to check out some of my other fiction — I’d love the feedback!

  1. Fugitives – always a good one for flash fiction. You certainly kept us in suspense here, and some great descriptions. Nice one.

    • Thanks for reading Sandra. I read yours yesterday I think, but I’m giving it another read now because I remember liking how it resolved. Creepy stuff!

  2. Nice. One guy has completely disconnected responsibility. The other forced into reluctant leadership. Here’s mine it is short

  3. The apprehension and muted excitement of running away. Some very beautiful descriptions. Well done!


    • Thanks for saying so – I think its hard to go wrong with a description of stars. Throw in some water and you’re golden haha. Thanks for reading.

  4. Slaves? Very nice, the relationship between them has just the right amount of tension. I want more, please. Here’s mine:

    • Glad you picked up on the lopsided relationship – wasn’t sure I’d done it justice. Thanks! You wrote a story about someone tracking someone; I wrote a story about someone trying to get away. Nice symmetry!

  5. Full of suspense; the dialogue carreid me along till I want to kow more. Mine is here:

  6. Dear Brian,

    There was an undercurrent of danger that belied the beautiful descriptions and the quiet tone of your piece. Runaway slaves, perhaps. in any event, i thoroughly enjoyed your story this week. Well done.



  7. What a great insight into a fully fleshed-out world. You’re following the rules of showbiz — always leaving me wanting more!


  8. Good stuff – the real challenge in working within a tight word limit is getting a narrative drive and you’ve done that well. Unsure about the stars-as-embers image, but it is certainly unique.

  9. Oooooooh, I want to know “what then.” Great hook–I’d love to read more of this. Well done!

    Mine: http;//

  10. wonder what they’re running from, or too? fires up the imagination!!

  11. You delineated the characters very nicely, not to mention the unknown threats from what they’re escaping and might again encounter. Good writing.
    Here’s mine:

  12. I can’t help but thinking of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn when I read this.

    My attempt:

    • I was definitely thinking along those lines when I named him Tom, although the mood and destination are supposed to be a bit darker. Thanks for reading!

  13. Are they running from something, or are they running from something only to do a deed even more heinous? I wonder.

    I like how the trees “march”.

    Here’s mine:

    • Thanks! At least one of them is running, the other one may just be along for the ride (and maybe not voluntarily). Thanks for commenting!

  14. I want to know what then too! Everyone’s comments say fugitive, but I’m not so sure they are. Very interesting.

    My attempt:

    • Yep, good call. There was a reason I called it “the runaway” instead of “the runaways.” Glad you were getting that vibe from it! Thanks!

  15. Another unique idea with unique descriptions that made us thrilled! Thanks.
    here’s mine:

  16. Reminds me of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer and their adventure. I like the line “like smouldering embers in a vein of shiny black coal”. Great descriptions.

  17. Very Huckleberryesque – with an eerie overtone. Leaving us hanging, don’t you think? I enjoyed your work.

  18. We must have been struck with the same lightning bolt of inspiration. This could go with the ‘Tom’ in my post, maybe we need to collaborate? LOL!
    Thank you for the kind words on mine! I leave the link for others who might pass through and want to check it out. .

  19. Beautiful opening sentence/paragraph, Brian; the whole piece is beautifully done. Seems to have a connection to Tom Sawyer, though much more ominous than Mark Twain. Nice imaginative flight from the photo.

  20. not sure what they are running from, but hope they make it.

  21. You have great characterisation here, even in so few words. I like the tension we feel even as they are moving quite slowly down the river. I wonder what does happen after!?!
    I’m over here:

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