Just a quick note before we begin – Friday Fictioneers is only supposed to be 100 words long (a drabble, I believe they call it.) This story is 234 words long, but if you Fictioneers stop at the ### you’ll get a full story that is 100ish words long…and now, on with the show.


Rain has fallen in the last two days, the smell of soft loam and of rich earth confesses it to me. It is the smell of my father. The smell of my grandfather. I can see the ghosts of these two men in the ghost of the vineyard, broad-shouldered and weather-scarred, their rough hands pushing deep into the soul of the soil.

I remember my father’s dying whisper, “A frost is coming, Jessie. You know what to do.”

I didn’t want to leave him, as I answered with that kind lie that is aways gifted upon the dying. “It doesn’t matter, Dad. It can wait. Don’t tell me to leave you.”

He couldn’t, so I stayed.


We lost the harvest. Lost our house, the farm. The books conspired against us and the bankers sucked at their perfect, bleached-white teeth. “There is nothing we can do, Ms Flambert. Nothing at all, I’m afraid.” Yet another lie. It was only the latest in a long line, vomited out like the apartments and shopping malls the town planners had foretold.

The best things in life cost everything. My childhood, the bittersweet taste of Riesling grapes picked too soon. The earth rising in torn mountains above the praying mantis arms of backhoes and beneath the tread of yellow locust bulldozers.

The earth cries out, its gentle smell now drowning beneath the diesel fumes and an army clad in high-vis safety vests and hard hats.

There is nothing I can do.

Goodbye, Daddy.

So, as I mentioned above, this story was written for Madison Woods over at Friday Fictioneers using her beautiful photo prompt, shown above the story. It was also written with this week’s BeKindRewrite InMon prompts, of which I used all five. They were/are The Books Conspired Against Us, The Best Things In Life Cost Everything, Kind Lie, Earth Rise and Don’t Tell Me. As always, criticism and comments always welcome, and always enjoyed!

Tagged , , , , , , ,

25 thoughts on “Grapevines

  1. Poignant. I especially like the first story and the love shown there.

  2. Glad you used the extra words. This was great, I felt the love and commitment.

  3. billgncs says:

    excellent — very evocative

  4. Carrie says:

    So tragic. A sad little tale. Great job weaving in all the prompts.

  5. so beautiful. Sad. the first story is awesome already!

  6. Linda says:

    I’m glad you explained it although I take the point that without the latter half it would still have been a ‘complete’ story too; it was just nice to see where you were headed with it too. A reminder to us all I think about what we loosely term ‘progress’ 🙂

  7. Poignant and heartfelt. I’m glad you gave us the option of reading on – the ### break was a clever way of offering that. And threading all the different prompts together . . . well done.

  8. elmowrites says:

    Heart-rending stuff Chris. I actually prefer the first part on its own, as it leaves more to the reader’s imagination and is a complete picture in itself, but the second part is well-described and certainly leaves us in no doubt.

  9. EssKewPe says:

    Wow. Love it. Defintely worth the extra 143 words! Vivid, potent imagery. Two thumbs up.

  10. “soul of the soil” is perfect. Great piece.

  11. oh also – great choice of photo for that link-thingy. hahhaha

  12. rochellewisoff says:

    Either way it works. The first half really does stand on its own merit, though. Nice piece.

  13. Wow! I love the use of the descriptive words here and comparing the machinery to insects that destroy all in their path. Loved it! Very well done!

  14. Brian Benoit says:

    Wow – an impressive combination of prompts. The BeKindRewrite words weren’t overly obvious either, which was nice. Even leaving the prompts aside this was a nicely done story – maybe my favorite so far!

    Brian (

  15. erinleary says:

    Well done on both. I liked the first better, I think. A suggestion, for what it’s worth…For this line: ” I can see the ghosts of these two men in the ghost of the vineyard…..” What about this: ” I can see the ghosts of these two men in the shadows of the vineyard…..”

    Mine is here:

  16. This drips with beauty.

    The prompts thank you. ; )

  17. Nifti says:

    the story pulled me in, and I could not stop at 1##. Thanks much.

  18. rich says:

    even if he had told you to leave, you can’t.

  19. JKBradley says:

    I agree with your embodied sentiment here, the raping of the earth for lust of what? money?

  20. Diane Turner says:

    Extraordinary pieces. The first one brought tears, despite the two “ghosts”, and the second one an huge appreciation of the beauty of your words.

Comments and criticism always welcome!

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