Flash Fiction – The Long Walk


Yesterday I buried my firstborn. Today I walk 10 miles for water to keep my other children alive. I do not cry.

My muscles burn as I balance the heavy load on my head. The weight pushes my blistered, bleeding feet deeper into the scorching earth. I do not cry.

There is not enough for dinner again. I feed my babies, they need strength to fight the disease sweeping through the village. My stomach screams out in hunger. I do not cry.

A white man comes with tales of laughing people who film themselves as buckets of water are poured over their heads. I can’t stop my tears.

Written for Friday Fictioneers. A 100 word story inspired by a photo prompt.


61 thoughts on “Flash Fiction – The Long Walk

  1. Very moving Louise. Your story unfolds with such haunting details… that final line is indeed a splash of cold water. By any change did you see Matt Damon’s challenge? He heads a charity that works to bring clean water to people around the world. His video was on of the most meaningful ones I saw. Wonderful story!

  2. Very poignant and true to life for many in the poorer parts of the world. I like (as in “I like it in your story, not that it happens”) that your protagonist just accepts everything as part of life, until the foreigner arrives with his tales of such waste.
    I enjoyed your use of “I do not cry”, with the change in the last paragraph.
    Great story.

  3. Dear Louise, your story moved me deeply. I, too, found myself being upset by the ‘ice-bucket’ challenge, although many people to whom I mentioned it, became angry and defensive with me. They had valid points, but I still wish we didn’t have such a frivolous approach to raising money for such an important cause!
    I like how you went from “I do not cry” to her unstoppable tears.

    • Thanks for you comments. I fully, and regularly support various charities which I research before I donate to them. I may be cynical but I question how many of the people doing this challenge on Youtube and Facebook actually donate anyway. I am so grateful to have access to clean, running water and I find it distressing to see it being wasted. Of those who do donate I question where the money actually goes. I was nominated and chose to give to the red cross instead of doing the challenge. It’s a very personal thing and this is just my opinion. I don’t judge anyone who chooses to do this challenge and loved being pointed in the direction of Matt Damon’s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlGhuud-s4w

  4. Louise, what a great use of both the prompt and the challenge that’s been going on! Even though/if all the money is going where it should, someone in this woman’s position wouldn’t understand that. Super job!


  5. I think this is one of my favorites this week. Kinda’ like mine, it points out the trials women have throughout the world, yet they go on and on and on, doing their best for their children. And what good would tears do? Love this story A LOT!

    • Umm loved your story too but don’t think the mother was doing her best in that case! Reading stories like ours make me so thankful to be living the life I have, despite its challenges. Thanks for commenting.

  6. Very well-done….again! Basically you do not disappoint! I need to find some of your longer stuff, to see if you can retain the intensity. Basically someone with your high standards of conception and writing should be a little careful of being too seduced by 100w stories. It does help in creativty and somewhat in writing – but be careful, I know of a couple of good writers, very good, who had ther books rejected recently because the style was seen as too ‘abrupt’ – too much in this 100w style.. One went on to self-publish, and was shocked by the lack of interest. Just be careful with this cocoon. I write all this purely because I can see you have talent – serious talent. In the same vein I would question whether wordpress is the best platform. Perhaps it is, but don’t stay in your comfort zone, it will work against your progresion, and has. I mention wordpress because of this comfort zone thing but also because of the kind of reputation I think it has, of bright colourful blogs with lots of widgets and flowers and wannabees who never will. 90% of material on wordpress is self-generated. This is not a very good place for readers… strange words, know, and not valid for the challenges, but valid when you want to take yourself higher and further.

    • Firstly, a huge thank you for your comments. As a new writer I am so grateful for any advise and you have given me lots to think about. I only started writing in May and have noticed an improvement through following the WordPress challenges. However, I started writing a novel a few weeks ago, and have noticed that my characters are not very well developed at all. I am no sure if this is because I am new, because it’s a first draft or whether flash fiction has impacted on this as you never have enough words to explore or elaborate characters. I don’t have any longer pieces on here, firstly because Friday Fictioneers generally only takes about 10 minutes a week which I can spare, I wouldn’t want to dedicate much more time to a blog piece than that, and secondly because I haven’t written any (except my novel so far which now miraculously stands at 37,000 words). If there is any advice you could offer regarding platforms etc. I would really appreciate it if you could perhaps email me privately. Thanks again Hamish. Louise.

  7. Louise, This is truly first world thinking slaming against the third world reality. I think whoever thought up the Ice Bucket Challenge just didn’t realize how those in the water-deprived countries would see it. I can see both sides since I’m from the First World and live in the Third World. Well written. If you want to form a good platform for publishing your book, just check the different writing blogs. There’s a lot of advice out there on the internet. You can truly pick and choose. It’s a lot of work though, so be prepared. It seems even traditional publishing companies expect the author to have a plan mapped out and be working on it. Check the Writers Digest website to start with. It’s one of many I subscribe to. They’re listed at the bottom of my blog. Good luck with your writing. Well-written piece. 🙂 —Susan

  8. Louise, I just checked and not all the blogs I subscribe to are listed on my blog. Sooner or later you’ll see a list of the top-rated blogs. Try them out and you’ll find the most helpful for your needs. K.M. Weiland’s Helping Writers Become Authors, Kristen Lamb’s blog, Writer Unboxed, and Writers In The Storm are just a few of the really good blogs. Good luck. —Susan

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