The End of Innocence

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PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

The kids’d a been looking forward to the party for ages.

Got em dressed in their finest and had em outside to play games and drink the last of the soda while Derek packed up what he could and destroyed the rest.  They weren’t getting our things, no way!

“Fireworks for your birthday,” I said when the sky lit up and the ground shook.  The kids clapped at each new blast, but I could tell they were getting closer.

“Going to Nana’s,” I lied as we got in the car.

No going back, I thought as I stroked Em’s hair.

***

Word count = 100

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s prompt is here and uses a photo © J Hardy Carroll.  Read more or join in by following the InLinkz “linky“.

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73 thoughts on “The End of Innocence

  1. Inside the Mind of Isadora

    A very timely piece of writing, Trent. I sort of had the feel of the Mexicans, Guatemalans and others traveling to come to the states. The struggles of the journey and all that’s left behind. The father stroking his daughters hair, as if the mother was already gone, and he was going to meet her; perhaps. A very emotionally touching story.
    Isadora 😎

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks, Isadora. It could be refugees anywhere, but i was thinking of a place being invaded by an enemy army, no matter who “the enemy” happens to be – another country, rebels, their own country…

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  2. 4963andypop

    After reading the comments i can see i would have lost my bet. I took the announcement of fireworks literally, and assumed the “them” that was getting closer was a feared person or the police, not an explosion. So there you go! Two stories for the price of one!

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  3. 4963andypop

    You create an interesting tension between this character’s love for the children, and his nervousness about being discovered. Much is left unsaid but I’d lay money on a dad who stole his kids back from his wife who was granted sole custody. He just seems too decent to be a pedophile with a child farm. Anyway, you got my attention!

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks! It was meant to be the family running from advancing troops – the “fireworks” are really artillery and bombing. They are trying to keep the kids calm as they prepare to flee the invading army.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      It is hard to keep the kids’ innocence, but hopefully it is a very long time before they understand the full ramification of the events playing out.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks. Yes, with all of the refugees around the world, I’m sure occasionally the kids are “tricked” into behaving,but they can only stay innocent for so long before reality catches up.

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  4. Dale

    I couldn’t help but think of “Life is Beautiful” where the dad creates stories so the son doesn’t know what’s really going on.
    Well done.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I’m not sure they do have a place to go – Nana’s house is already gone, so they may end up in a camp or worse. Yeah, there is a huge issue with refugees. The world seems to have little sympathy for the people uprooted from their homes by violence and war. Thanks.

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      1. patriciaruthsusan

        Sorry. I must have missed the part where he said: “I lied”. The last refugees from ISIS were mostly women and children. The women are malnourished and the children are sick. Some have died. It’s terrible. No one wants them being they were with ISIS. :( — Suzanne

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Sometimes little lies for their own good is not really for their own good. Sometimes the parents think they are doing the right thing, but in this case it is so they can get out of there efficiently without worrying about frightened children. As to this cruel world, unfortunately true refugee children have already seen too much of that cruelty.

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  5. Ocean Bream

    I’m amazed that you managed to come up with something so ominous and deep and almost heartbreaking from such a plain and simple photograph. Bravo. This 100 word business has me stumped, but you manage it charmingly.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I really like the 100 word challenges. It makes me sharpen my words and my story. I’s a great exercise. One of things I discovered is that for me I have to either give the story a big twist at the end or have it say some bigger “truth” for it to have any impact. Short and sweet might be fine, but you smile, go on and forget it. I think that’s why so many Friday Fictioneers stories are dark or have a high body count – they need that impact. I do write these stories very rapidly, so it is also first thought, but I do try to make them a little deeper.

      Which brings us to this story – Thanks! That is kind of what I’m aiming for :)

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I think Friday Fictioneers tends to go dark pretty often. At least I didn’t have any child abuse in mine, just the destruction of cities ;)

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  6. Iain Kelly

    How long before they twig that it wasn’t fireworks for their birthday? The lengths we go to to try and protect our children from the cruel world around them.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      As gentle of a transition from normal to refugee as possible. Hiding and fear will come later, but it doesn’t have to hit all at once. Thanks.

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        1. trentpmcd Post author

          In history you need both – the plain facts with thousands of nameless soldiers doesn’t give the flavor of the conflict as much as a few small personal snippets. The cold numbers sometimes don’t tell the story the way a small first hand account does – thus why The Diary Anne Frank is so powerful and so popular.

          Liked by 1 person

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Did you ever see the Italian movie Life is Beautiful? It is about a little boy who survived the concentration camps of WW2 because he thought it was all a game. It was somewhat controversial, of course given the subject matter, but well made.

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