Give Me Shelter

He had red stains beneath his fingernails, jeans torn in battle against the brambles, a makeshift basket in his fingers. “I picked these for you,” he announced, proud of his foraging. “I hope you like raspberries.”

I don’t, but I could never tell him that, not after he had awoken me with this unexpected cornucopia. All I could do was try to smile as false lightning lit the skies.

“Don’t you know by now how dangerous it is out there?” He flinched away from my anger as I tried to reconcile my love for him with a swelling, impotent fury. Damning my stupidity, damning myself for bringing an innocent into this world.

This world of the damned we have forged.

I pulled him back into the rubble, sheltering my son from fires not yet born.

The boom of thunder, a sudden whitewashing of the world.

The bombers have arrived.

This is my first ever story for Friday Fictioneers, using this photo prompt:


Apparently they have a great crowd of editors and writers over there, and naturally criticism is welcomed heartily. The reason why I post online is to get feedback that I wouldn’t usually receive. I was put onto Friday Fictioneers through Clever Old Owl‘s blog, someone I enjoy reading immensely, so while you’re here you should probably go and check him out too.

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23 thoughts on “Give Me Shelter

  1. I liked this. Innocence in an apocalyptic world. And raspberries. My story’s on the list.

  2. Nifti says:

    Welcome. Welcome. Great story 🙂
    Mine is on 12.

  3. Welcome to FFictioneers! I may be off track but I get the feeling they are in England and the bombers are German planes during the Blitz. Interesting and well written. Find me on the list.

  4. Kwadwo says:

    Interesting approach to the prompt. Is the story set in the second world war?

    • You know, I’m not really sure – I tried to capture the innocence of the 1940s, of war touching everyday people. At the same time I’ve been writing a lot of sci-fi, so maybe it is in the future. Maybe.

      Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful…

  5. Very nice story. I was confused at first as I thought they were lovers, until I got down to this line “bringing an innocent into this world.” and “…sheltering my son..”. I like the touch of fear the mother had and how the son only wanted to please his mother. I’m also reading the book “Mockingjay” (third book of the Hunger Games) and it seemed to have the save feeling in your story. Nicely done. 🙂 Here’s mine –

    • They started out as lovers in my head (that was before the bombers got involved though) but I wasn’t too happy with that story – and I’d written a couple of *lovers in the morning* pieces and felt I needed to change it up.

      I also felt that te collecting of wild berries was such an innocent act and I wanted to try to reflect that dense of innocence in contrast to the horrors of war.

  6. unspywriter says:

    Very chilling, but these are the little human traits that will remain–a child bringing fruit to mother with no thought to the dangers of reality. A very nice glimpse into hell. Good job.

    Here’s mine:

  7. Kaitlin says:

    Welcome! It’s a great place. I love your juxtaposition of the apocalypse and the raspberries. I hope if the end of the world comes, there’s still fruit.

  8. raina says:

    This is really sad. I felt really sorry for the poor boy….great story. I guess its easier for a little boy to love, then a mother jaded by war and all, especially if she had someone. But it would be easier to hurt the boy won’t it?

  9. I liked the “false lightning” and triple use of “Damn” near the end – the repetition really drives it home. Not sure if you were aiming for 100 words or not, but I saw a few thing that could be pruned if you were.

    Thanks for the shoutout!

    • Anytime Craig! What to you reckon should be pruned? I was trying to cut it down – things like the makeshift basket could’ve gone and not effected (affected, I always mess this up) the story. Let me know!

      • The first “he said” I think could be cut. and maybe you could replace “… announced, proud of his foraging” with “beamed”? that might get the same message across?

        But anyway, great story./ Welcome to FF!

  10. Adam Ickes says:

    Bombers are never a good thing. The narrator was right to scold the boy for being so careless. Nice story. Makes me want to know more about the world they’re living in.

  11. elmowrites says:

    I love your depiction of a mother’s love in difficult times – the first few paragraphs are so tender, then you hit us with your world. Welcome to the fictioneers! I look forward to seeing your stories in the future.
    I’m over here

  12. erinleary says:

    Welcome and well done! I relate to that powerful urge to protect that a parent feels for their child. I hope they are OK. Mine is here:

  13. billgncs says:

    the sweetness of a gift against the harshness of possession and power…

  14. SAM says:

    Now this is how you introduce yourself to a new group. Welcome, Chris. It’s nice to see your writing here, too!

    I’m here:

  15. Larry Kollar says:

    As many others did, I assumed lovers at first too. I like this better though, and wouldn’t mind reading more. It probably has some to do with me taking my 2yo grandson out to pick blackberries. He loves eating them right off the vine.

    This would have worked as a drabble, bringing in the twist of the bombers at the end. But getting it from 149 words down to 100 would be really tough.

  16. […] Give Me Shelter by ChrisWhiteWrites ~ @Chriswhitewrite ~ Science Fiction […]

  17. OH that was so intense. I could see the flash of white as the bombers came. It also struck home with that ‘fear/love/anger’ I’ve had with my kids.

  18. JKBradley says:

    I felt this as innocence of anytime, timeless, with the threat of war, which is also timeless. Thanks for sharing.

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