The Tenants

In Fiction on June 29, 2012 at 7:02 am

Constructive criticism, destructive praise, and everything in between welcome on this one. Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Madison Woods.

The Tenants

The juice seeped from her mouth and trickled down her chin, red like blood on her bone-white skin.

“You should try them, sister,” she said. The berries looked soft and ripe in her hand, staining the creases of her palm. I stepped back.

“Mother warned us…”

“Mother is an old woman — worried and weak and old. Their land is ours, so their berries are ours — and whatever else we like. She’s foolish to revere them so.”

“She fears them…”

My sister crushed the berries with her tongue and smiled defiantly, as one by one the crows landed in the branches above.


Again, constructive criticism is encouraged — and if you’re feeling generous with you criticism, check out my other fiction, including stories that are even longer than 100 words!

  1. Ooo, very visceral. I got chills when I the crows started to land. Very beautifully painted picture of words. 🙂

    Here’s mine:

  2. This doesn’t sound like it will end well. Just got a bad feeling about things.

  3. oh chills…great story…our stories are on the list.

  4. Hi Brian,
    Ouch, eaten by crows must hurt. You had me going until you resolved it right at the end. An excellent tale of tribal myth. My story is here:

  5. oh my, the birds…..I think I’m glad you ended there!

    Mine is here:

  6. I love the twist, I was expecting Mother. Or was Mother sending the crows? I love how you built that story. The crows just make it way more ominous. What is there reason for massing there, what are they going to do, did they come on their own? I love how there’s a billion questions for this.

    Mine is over here:

    • Hopefully not too many questions! (That was a problem I had last week specifically). Glad you liked it — I’m heading over to read yours now.

  7. Very ominous. I wondered how old the sisters are. My guess was late teens by the “bad” sister’s description of their mother. It felt (to me) like it was placed in an older time (I was getting Salem witch trial vibes). I like that she “crushed the berries with her tongue,” and that they were “staining the creases of her palm.” I would suggest (and this is largely a personal opinion) that you remove “red.” “Like blood” suggests the colour, which makes stating the actual colour redundant. I did like the visual contrast of the juices on the “bone-white skin.”

  8. Ominous was the second word that hit me, the first was ‘rich’. You have a great way of pulling me out of the present in very few words. I don’t know where these girls are, but I know it’s a long way from here and now… and kinda creepy.

    • Ha, well the berries aren’t quite evil themselves — it’s the tenants their mother fears (though I’m sure the berries are no laughing matter either).

  9. Queue the crows! Always a good sign that something bad is afoot…I eagerly await the rest of the story.

    ~Susan (

  10. Right! So, “they” control the crows… Things are not going to go well now! Mine’s on the list.

  11. Yello Brian! Yep, you had me going until the end there. I’m glad you didn’t paint a picture of anything too gruesome. I can safely imagine that the sisters get away, or their mother saves them 🙂

  12. Nicely done, the descriptions excellent. I feel a bit of foreboding in the air…

  13. So rich and juicy. I like the defiance of the sister, actively calling down whatever Mother had warned them of. The suspense of the ending is great too. I enjoy having questions left over. 🙂

  14. Great story. Loved the introduction of the crows at the end, added to the sense of foreboding.

  15. fantastic Brian! a whole LOT done in a wonderfully economical space!

  16. Sinister indeed. I like this as a set up for something more, like, these two sister are about to go on some kind of a rampage, and one is more evil and the other is reserved but along for the ride. The set up is very good.

  17. I could feel the tension build in the conversation between the two sisters and then my mind wandered to what exactly what will happen now the crows have come .. very good as I now want to know what happens next please 🙂

  18. I think Mother has good reason to fear them. Great story, Brian.

  19. […] now my stories have featured crows, grackles, pigeons, swans and seagulls. As you can tell, I’m quite […]

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