Grinding Halt – a 100w story

The picture prompt below for this week’s Friday Fictioneers 1oo-word story challenge comes courtesy of ©Jennifer Pendergast

To find out more and join the fun, click here

To read other responses to the prompt, click on the Blue Froggy


Grinding Halt

In the discount supermarket, Liam trembled in giddy anticipation from the booze aisle to the checkout.

The other early morning shoppers whispered: “He had a good job ‘til he nearly killed a wee girl coming out of school. Imagine, driving in that state in the middle of the afternoon.”

Shame burned; another tool of the cruel and unrelenting master that made Liam feel like a helpless child.

Then one morning, he met a man who’d been dry for seven years.

Liam asked him: ‘How?’

The man took him to a cafe and began to talk. Liam listened, and felt his master’s grip weaken.

©Siobhán McNamara

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Repeat, Repeat – A 100w story

Thanks to Ted Strutz for this week’s great photo prompt.

To get involved in the challenge of writing a 1oow story from a weekly prompt, click here

To read other contributions, click on the Blue Froggy

Thanks to everyone who read my story last week and commented. I’m sorry I didn’t reply or get round everyone else’s stories – put it down to a combination of intermittent internet coverage and deadlines to meet. All your comments were appreciated 🙂


Genre: Fiction (apart from the bit about the knitting!)

Repeat, Repeat

We laughed when the waves swirled round Great-Aunt Julia’s feet, carrying her knitting away while she dozed.

Great-Aunt Julia dozed everywhere. It was all she did, apart from telling us a million times that she made jet-fighters during the war.

Years later I saw a documentary about an aircraft factory and the women who worked there while the men were on the battlefields. I felt immensely proud, and ashamed for not understanding sooner.

I still visit that beach – a small half-moon of sand near the pier – and remember the tide coming in around Great-Aunt Julia. I’ve told my children all about her, a million times … or so they say!

©Siobhán McNamara

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Concrete Jungle – a 100w story

Thanks to ©Roger Bultot for this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt and to group host Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for keeping everything running smoothly week after week.

To join the challenge of writing a 100w story inspired by any aspect of the photo, click here

To read other contributions, click the Blue Froggy



Concrete Jungle

Sam dreamed of a place where the sun always shone and the land was filled with exotic life.

He saw himself in a sun lounger by a pool, sipping an eternal cocktail while steak sizzled on a barbeque.

He had savings enough to get started, and he could find work.

Ach, thought Sam. Who would give an old sod like me a job? I should have made the leap years ago, found the courage to look beyond this concrete horizon when I had the chance.

He took a pierce-and-ping dinner from the freezer compartment, put it in the microwave and poured a glass of milk.

©Siobhán McNamara


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Pagan goddess or Christian saint, Brigid’s spirit lives on in Ireland today

The traditions of the feast of Brigid have been unchanged for what may well be thousands of years. This is despite all the social changes that have taken place in that time.

Before Christianity came to Ireland, the people here had a long tradition of pagan worship. They carried out rituals at sacred sites and believed that certain wells had the power to heal. Their important festivals marked the changing seasons.

Rather than fighting against such traditions and beliefs, Christianity became another layer, another chapter in the history of Ireland. It is small wonder then that the stories about pagan deities and Irish Christian saints became somewhat blurred. Nowhere is this more evident than in the case of Brigid.


The feast day of St Brigid is celebrated on Imbolc, the pagan festival of spring. February 1 is still considered the first day of spring in Ireland, in variance to many of our close neighbours who say spring starts in March.

In pagan terms, ‘Brigid’ means ‘Exalted One.’ It seems that the name was used as a general term for goddesses as well as being a title for Brigid herself. She was closely associated with learning and poetry, both of which were highly thought of in ancient Irish society. 

Brigid was also linked to a mythical creature that transformed from an ugly hag into a beautiful woman at the mid-point between the winter solstice and spring equinox, symbolising the change of season from winter to spring.

The healing power of the goddess Brigid was invoked in times of illness. This is perhaps the strongest link between the stories from pre-Christian times and the belief in the Christian saint.

St Brigid

The Christian St Brigid was born in Louth in 457AD and was the daughter of Dubtach, a nobleman. Her mother is thought to have been a slave in Dubtach’s household.

The young Brigid became a nun along with seven other women. The story goes that she was mistakenly consecrated a bishop. Brigid was certainly a powerful, determined woman who became an Abbess in County Kildare and was linked to many miracles.

One of the most recounted is the tale of when she asked the King of Leinster for land to build her monastery. He agreed but later changed his mind.©Siobhán McNamara Brigid then asked him for as much ground as her cloak would cover. The king agreed. As Brigid laid out her cloak it grew and grew until it covered the whole of the Curragh, an area of grassy plains in Kildare famous for horseracing and horse breeding today.

The tradition of weaving crosses from rushes relates to a story of Brigid’s visit to a dying Chieftain. He wanted to convert to Christianity so Brigid wove a cross of rushes for him. The simple cross was as much a symbol of humility and a condemnation of materialism as it was of religion. Despite being born into a noble household, Brigid was a strong advocate for the poor.

Beyond Ireland

The fame of ‘both’ Brigids spread far beyond Irish shores. The term ‘bride’ was first used by the medieval Knights of Chivalry for whom Brigid was a patroness.

For others, Brigid is seen as the goddess of poets and an inspiration for lifelong learning and betterment, particularly for women.

We will most likely never know if there really were two Brigids or if both traditions competed to claim her, though many people have a strong belief in one or the other.  Folklore by its nature evolves, grows, and while this makes for great stories there is always the risk of manipulation to fulfil a personal agenda. Though of course, that is the very core of the Irish bardic tradition and it remains alive and well today.

Each year on the eve of St Brigid’s Day I join over 100 people in a former parish church, making crosses, drinking tea and catching up with friends and neighbours. Perhaps best of all is seeing the youngest members of the community enjoy the occasion every bit as much as the older generation. Skills are passed on, stories are told, songs are sung. These gatherings could be taking place at any point in history.

I think it’s fair to say that whatever version of Brigid you choose, she lives on today as a symbol of the very essence of life – the power and the determination to leave the darkness of winter behind and grow towards the light.

Happy St Brigid’s Day.  Happy Imbolc. And happy first day of spring.

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Eye of the Beholder – a 100w story

This week’s photo prompt comes from Dale Rogerson.

The challenge is to write a fictional story in 100 words.

To find out how to get involved, click here

To read other contributions from some excellent writers, click on the Blue Frog


Eye Of The Beholder

Mamma fussed over the wedding veil.

‘Oh child,’ she said. ‘I will miss you but my heart soars at the freedom you will have. The world will know your beautiful soul.’

Anna remembered these words as she wrote:

Dear Mamma,

I am very lucky. Rich people come to my husband’s gallery and pay the price of a house for my paintings.

Anna couldn’t tell Mamma she saw little of her new life through the narrow, netted slit. She asked her husband why she had to cover herself, here where women were free. He got so angry that afterwards she was glad her shameful, broken face was invisible.

©Siobhán McNamara

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Daily Post photo challenge – ambience

The theme for this week’s photo challenge from the Daily Post is ‘Ambience’

To get involved or to see other contributions, click here

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What’s in a name? A 100-word story

Below is this week’s 100-word story for Friday Fictioneers.

The photo prompt comes courtesy of ©C.E. Ayr

To find out how to join the challenge, click here

To read other contributions, click on the Blue Frog


What’s in a name?

Something nagged Stanley through the maelstrom of bloodied faces, shattered metal and broken corpses.

He had been certain they had the right man. All intelligence led to Dhern Riger.

Damn it, Riger even spouted foreign incantations while being arrested at the train station.

The explosion came anyway – from a small plane overhead.

When Stanley finally got home he tried to focus. He wrote down the suspect’s name.

His wife looked over his shoulder.

‘Doing a crossword to take your mind off things?” she asked. ‘Only, I’d say that’s an anagram and …’

But Stanley was already rearranging the letters to spell R-E-D  H-E-R-R-I-N-G

©Siobhán McNamara




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