Whistling Kettle – a 100-word story

This is my contribution to Velvet Verbosity #386. I struggled more than usual to get the word count down in this one, so I see a longer version on the horizon once I’ve let it brew for a while.

By the way, the prompt for this week is the word ‘Whistling’

Velvet Verbosity is a blog hop. Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…


The Whistling Kettle

Mum made dinner and a pot of tea at 5.30 every afternoon. Uncle Jim kept Paula occupied while Mum was busy in the kitchen.
She hadn’t been home since Mum died but she came for Jim’s funeral.
As Paula entered the unchanged kitchen, the kettle came to a whistling boil. Her eyes stung with memories.
A neighbour’s daughter was making tea.
‘I’m sorry for your loss,’ she told Paula hesitantly.
‘Don’t be,’ said Paula. ‘He abused me for years and said I’d get sent away if I told.’
‘You’re not the only one,’ the girl sobbed, laying a hand on her too-large abdomen.

©Siobhán McNamara


Note: I don’t know how this works in other countries, but in Ireland and especially in rural Ireland, neighbours arrive at a house as soon as there is a bereavement. Tea, sandwiches and cake seem to be in constant supply for the hundreds of people who come to express their sympathies and pay their respect in the days between the death and the funeral, and the kettle is never off the boil. So to arrive at your own family home on receiving news of a death, and find a neighbour in the kitchen making tea is the most natural thing in the world.

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10 Responses to Whistling Kettle – a 100-word story

  1. A very powerful story, Siobhan. A great twist at the end. I hope we do get to find out what happens next.


  2. barbara says:

    This is bitingly real and sad. I hope you do flesh it out, Siobhan. Well done.

    And, yes, to a perhaps lesser extent, neighbors and friends do the same. At least, in my family.


  3. Grim but a brilliantly well written story. I hope you will post the full version!


  4. I’m trying t imagine how I would react. Sympathy, empathy, indignity ?


  5. This seems sad, but expressions are beautiful. I am intrigued with the them. Let this grow, please.


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