“Ma-Ma!” Friday Fictioneers.

Jane was reliving her fifth birthday party for her shrink in grueling slow motion. Mummy had made her the Dolly Varden Cake, a miniature replica of herself. They played pass the parcel, drop the hanky and as they sang Happy Birthday, Jane smiled for the camera. She’s never forgotten the last time she smiled and was truly happy. There was  just pin the tail on the donkey before everyone went home. Her mother tied the scarf over her eyes. Turned her around three times, and she stuck on the tail. When she took off the scarf, her mother was gone.


100 words.

It’s great to be back again this week. I’m researching and writing a book which I thought was going to be a lot more straight-forward that it’s turned. I guess that must be a common scenario writing non-fiction where you have no control over your characters. However, the stories are exceeding my wildest dreams. Just need to get it on paper.

BTW in case you’re interested in the goings on of the Sydney Writers’ Festival, here’s a link.

This has been another contribution for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff Fields. Every week, we write 100 words to a photo prompt. This week’s photo was kindly provided by © J Hardy Carroll.

Best wishes,



46 thoughts on ““Ma-Ma!” Friday Fictioneers.

  1. Na'ama Yehuda

    What a sad story — abandonment is one of the hardest things to process. I’ve seen the devastation of children whose parents left, abandoned, disappeared, took their own lives, were not there in a few others ways. It breaks something deep within that child that sometimes never fully mends.
    Well done!

  2. Rowena Post author

    Thank you. I appreciate your insightful comments. My son had a birthday party when he was six and they were playing the chocolate game and his friend kept rolling double sixes and was chomping away. Two days later, her father took his life. He had the odd drink while taking medication to quit smoking and wasn’t thinking straight. A double tragedy. It was just awful. So much for a young child to deal with.
    Best wishes,

  3. Na'ama Yehuda

    What a terrible tragedy for a child, indeed!
    I would like to think that perhaps he didn’t quite take his own life (in the sense of – this was accident, not suicide?) if the father wasn’t in his right mind … though one could be hard pressed to say how anyone who takes their own life (let alone when they have children) is ever in their right mind …
    However this happened, I can only imagine how devastating it was for that child. 😦

  4. 4963andypop

    I had to look up a Dolly Varden cake–based on a character from Dickens’s Barnaby Rudge, apparently. Interesting that a cake based on a character by the author of “Oliver” should be served on a day, when the mom essentially leaves this child orphaned. Swift kick at the end on this one!

  5. bearmkwa

    What an awesome story. Wish I knew what half the games you mentioned are…will have to do some research myself. Good luck with your writing. 🙂 ❤

  6. Abhijit Ray

    A touching story. Did Jane’s mother leave for good? Why did she choose Jane’s birthday to leave?

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  9. Rowena Post author

    IYou’ve asked some interesting questions and the 100 word limit allowed me to drop a bomb and runaway without having to address anything too complex. I like that you’ve asked why she chose Jane’s birthday to leave, which pushes me more towards the other possibility that she was taken. Met with foul play.
    It’s interesting though because a friend of my parents left on their son’s first day of school. I don’t know whether his son ever forgave him, but Mum hasn’t. She’s a bit like that.
    Best wishes,

  10. Rowena Post author

    I had to look up drop the hanky to remind myself. Here’s the link: https://ourpastimes.com/how-to-play-drop-the-hanky-12144375.html
    Thanks for the encouragement on the writing front. The research side of things is going very well. When I did a writing course back at uni, the lecturer described writing as a thinking process and the truth of that keeps coming back to me. IU’ve been loading myself up on research on the village in Scotland where my convict came from and it’s been fascinating. Turns our Robert Burns Scotland’s National poet lived in the next village in his parents’ day and another local had some poetry provided but also undertook a lot of research for Sir Walter Scott and had droves of villagers tell him old stories and pass on ancient relics for Scott’s museum. I’m surprised I actually managed to clean my desk up with all this food for thought.
    Best wishes,

  11. Rowena Post author

    Thanks for the encouragement.
    The mother’s fate was up in the air until another commenter asked why she left on the birthday, so I think it has to be foul play.
    Best wishes,

  12. Rowena Post author

    Yes, this tale definitely falls into that dark genre which makes a regular appearance at Friday Fictioneers.
    Best wishes,

  13. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Patrick. This story got people thinking and I think the shock of the mother leaving in this way really undermined what was considered bad even for a bad mother. So, I’ve more or less concluded that it had to be foul play. That no mother would leave their daughter like that especially on her birthday.
    Best wishes,

  14. Rowena Post author

    Sorry, Dale. I was sitting here thinking about the twist and the shock but this story has attracted quite a lot of concern and it seemed to cross a line. It was perhaps too believable and too awful. I’m not sure. The story took on a direction of it;s own.
    Best wishes,

  15. Rowena Post author

    I think it was ultimately a very tragic accident from what his wife said. The children are troubled and I don’t know if that would’ve been the case anyway but to me the cause and effect seem very clear.
    Best wishes,

  16. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Dan. I actually managed to finally get a door post done this week. It’s been quite awhile. I’ll pop round. It’s pretty cold here. the heater’s on and I’m relaxing and catching up on the blog.
    Best wishes,

  17. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Iain. It;s been phenomenal but it’s all coming together well. I sometimes wonder whether I’m taking the research too far and whether I should just get on with the job but I keep finding such gems and the story will have much more depth. I’m currently researching a convict ancestor of mine, John Paton from Sorn in Ayrshire, Scotland. I knew nothing about him except he was my taken convict story for the book and I probably have enough material now to write a book about him and his communities. I’ve been lucky with some of these people to find their words, which are such gems to us today. Yet, others remain silent. I’m having a lot of fun. Hope things are going well at your end.
    Best wishes,

  18. bearmkwa

    Research is so important to writing, it makes it real. I love writing sci fi… I was once told by a premier sci fi writer back in my youth that “You can write science fiction about anything as long as your science is sound.” Sent me on many a research search over the years.

  19. Rowena Post author

    Thanks for the encouragement. I really don’t want anyone reading my book with the red pen out. I need to get it right but it’s taken a lot more than I thought. That said, I think I’ve got multiple stories in the pipeline and multiple books. There’s a hell of a lot there. Indeed, perhaps I’ve hit a gold mine. That’s another way to look at it. More than like that’s in a figurative sense than financial but at the very least it’s good to keep the brain active and those stories coming.
    Best wishes,

  20. Rowena Post author

    Hi Diana,
    Sorry it’s taken too long to reply to your comment. It went through to the holding tank and I missed it.
    So good to hear from someone who has been out to Australia and it sounds like you had a wonderful trip and it’s great you got to meet some real Australians. I have been reading about when the first fleet arrived in Sydney and what it was like at the time. I was struck by what an interest he took in the local animals and I thought abut we take so many for granted. It helped me see things through fresh eyes.
    Best wishes,

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