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I've been creative writing all my life, though with various haitus(es) along the way. IFrom 2010 I started this blog and enjoyed sharing writing and other information with everyone. illness and bereavement supplied the more recent hiatus.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Vacation ~ Flash Fiction entry ~ Write Edit Publish~ IWSG

Monthly Blog-hop hosted by Denise

I have chosen to do a Flash Fiction Slice of Life piece. 
Please note this is not the beginning of a story it is FLASH FICTION

The Vacation by Madeleine Sara             © Madeleine Sara Maddocks August 2013
Kate’s daughter had pronounced that she would never agree to a vacation. Then, on a whim, Kate decided to enter a competition, sitting between the boxes piled ceiling-high with her precious possessions, laptop on her knees. As she pressed the submit link on the web page, pure elation filled her cheeks like rosy helium balloons. ‘First prize: a holiday break for two in Mauritius’.
        Her rainbow smile rapidly deflated, as the late, spring sunshine made its way through the smallest chink of unobscured window. What if she won? What would she take? Could she find her swimming costume? Where was her passport and was it up to date? After all it was now some years since she had come to live in the UK. She closed her laptop and slowly squeezed out of the little nook; edging past stacks of novels she didn’t need to read. She reserved this space, because it was near to power and telephone sockets, but one day it might also be needed for more of her ‘finds’.
        Like a narrow cat trail in a lawn, she followed the strip of carpet she had left, along the landing and down the staircase. Between piles of papers, bags and stacked-up things she had found on her various forays into charity shops; she could just glimpse her front door at the end of the corridor. She couldn’t get into the living-room anymore and she had long since stopped cooking for herself, now that the kitchen appliances were no longer accessible.  Somewhere a letter from the council lurked; filed away in one of her precious piles. The dust, stale, musty smell and lack of space didn’t bother her, so much as when others tried to make her give up her precious possessions or suggest taking them away. A panic attack threatened to rack her body. NO she could not part with any of her things. She began to gasp uncontrollably.
          The doorbell rang, startling Kate. A welcome distraction from her anxieties and her breathing began to calm. She hurried to let her daughter, a regular visitor, inside, but it wasn't Claire.
    “Mrs. O’Donnell?” the official, suited woman asked, standing beside an official, suited man, with briefcase in hand.
     “Yes” Kate said swallowing the lemon drop of shock and disappointment.
    “We are from The Council” the woman began. “We arranged an appointment for this morning to visit you regarding 45, Bay View. I trust you received the letter?” a pause “As stated, failure to comply with the terms and conditions of your lease require you to vacate this property in fourteen days. May we come in?”
   Knowing how right her daughter had been about vacation, Kate hurried to shut the door against them. Predictably, it jammed; always hard to close these days with the hoards of belongings she had amassed. She looked down to see what could be causing the obstruction this time, when the official man thrust the eviction notice at her, his shiny shoe, wedged in the doorway.

(500 words)

Check out this link for more information about  compulsive hoarding. 

On a personal note: 
Please pray for my 84 yr old MOTHER, who has fractured her spine, has arthritis and an infection. So I will be offline a lot I'm afraid. Thanks
If anyone feels able to co-host my Novel Films II Bloghop, I would be very grateful
Thank you! 


  1. As the story went on and I realised it was about a hoarder, I got this creeped-out feeling that I always get in relation to hoarders.

    I like this part: "She reserved this space, because it was near to power and telephone sockets, but one day it might also be needed for more of her ‘finds’." because it's still kind of keeping her hoarding innocent, i.e. she's found some great things that are treasures. Then it gets more sinister as the story goes on.

    I admit I was confused by the first line - it talks about Kate's daughter, and so I thought the rest of the paragraph was about Kate's daughter too, but it was about Kate right?

    The dialogue was good - it read realistic to me.

    I thought the pacing was great - with each new sentence we meandered closer to the creepy revelation. Yeah, I dunno what it is about hoarders but they just make me feel very claustrophobic to even think about, so this story had that effect on me. Which is a good thing - means your story was effectively emotive!

    1. Bless you Trisha, for your lovely review of my piece. I have changed one word to avoid the first paragraph confusion. x

      Migraine threatens now!
      Must get back to sorting out stuff for my Mum in hospital.

  2. Hi Madeleine .. all I can say is - thank goodness I don't hoard things and put things to one side to 'forget' about ... Kate will have rather more to deal with than she wants now ..

    I can see trouble ahead ..... I can feel it .... well done and enjoy your break - the bank holiday weekend!! Hilary

    1. Thanks Hilary.

      A Migraine threatens me now!
      Must get back to sorting out stuff for my Mum in hospital. x

  3. A good peek inside the head of a hoarder.

  4. I certainly got the feel of anxiety from the mind of a hoarder and the feeling of overbearing officiadom in the for of the council visitors.

    I hope your mum feels better very soon and your migraine dissipates (probably due to the worry about your mum)but she's getting the right care in hospital.

    1. Thanks Sally, for your lovely critique of my Flash Fiction.
      Sadly Mum also has Alzheimer's. It's a very difficult time for us at the moment as our remaining 3 parents are in sever decline.

  5. Great piece!
    It starts off fairly innocent... and then the "creep" factor starts to filter in...
    As the story unfolds, the sense of being "closed-in" is palpable.
    Writer In Transit

    1. Thanks Michelle for your lovely critique of my Flash Fiction.

  6. Maddy, great piece. You moved through this lady's mind with astute understanding. I have a sister-in-law with this condition and she absolutely freaks out if one of her children or husband dares suggest she gets rid of anything! If her husband gives a few coffee cups to one of the children, she tracks them down and gets them back! As someone who is the opposite, I find it hard to believe how anyone could clutter up their homes/lives this way. It is kinda creepy putting your love/trust into possessions.

    Loved the emotion in this piece and the determination on Kate's part that no one was going to part her from her treasures she might need one day.

    Artfully penned as always. I feel it may have been clearer at the start to say: 'Kate decided to enter a competition' so the reader is clear whose POV you are in. Get Kate's daughter in there afterwards.

    The dialogue was sharp, authentic and clear.

    Thank you for posting for the inaugural WEP bloghop Maddy. I wish your mother well and will pray for her health and for you to have strength at this difficult time.

    I would happily co-host your blogfest Maddy but as you know I'm maxed out ATM. Perhaps you could put it on hold until things look up. Having it over the 3 days, 3 ways makes it a bit trickier.


    1. Thanks Denise. I guess you saw the non-updated version.

      Sadly Mum also has Alzheimer's. It's a very difficult time for us at the moment as our remaining 3 parents are in sever decline.

  7. Hi Madeleine.
    Well written. Caught me immediately and was believable all the way through. So sorry for your Mom. I will pray for you both.

    1. Bless you thanks Nancy. Sadly she also has Alzheimer's. It's a very difficult time for us at the moment as our remaining 3 parents are in severe decline.

  8. of course i'll pray for your mom.... sending big healing hugs your way!

    as for your piece... well done! pace, tension, and atmosphere spot on!

    1. Bless you Michael. Sadly she also has Alzheimer's. It's a very difficult time for us at the moment as our remaining 3 parents are in sever decline.

  9. Interesting character. I think I was more hooked by the eviction notice near the end--the immediate trouble of it. If I were entering this piece in a contest, I'd start the story there and allow the character's condition to come out in the following action. That said, wow, you do an awesome job of painting her mental state.

    1. Thanks Crystal, but please note this is a Flash fiction piece http://scribbleandedit.blogspot.co.uk/p/flash-fiction.html

  10. Hoarding is one of the creepiest and most interesting disorders I know of.

  11. So sorry to hear about your grandmother. I'll keep her and you in my thoughts and prayers.
    I liked the story even though it started a bit too slowly. I think you could quicken the pace at the beginning and you'd have a great story, or beginning to a story here. I know people like this. It's sad. Great idea...

    1. My mother actually, but thank you, Lisa.

      Please note this is a flash fiction piece, not the beginning of a short or longer story.
      See: http://scribbleandedit.blogspot.co.uk/p/flash-fiction.html


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