‘Turning Worms’. A new flash fiction. #fridayflash

I’m going off piste, as it were, this week, and using a photo prompt. This is the first time I’ve used a promt suggested by someone else, so I’d be interested to hear what you make of it.

My thanks to Icy Sedgewick of Icy’s Blunt Pencil for the lovely photo. Icy’s blog is a cornucopia of wonderful stories, writing tips and, of course, great photography. If you have a moment, having read this first, pop on over.


Turning Worms

He was there when I started this morning, watching imperiously from the fence post, eyes shining like beads on my Grandmother’s jet necklace. Two dark mirrors reflecting the garden in miniature; I’d have seen myself, covered in soil most likely, if he’d come any closer. They say they’re the gardener’s friend, robins, don’t they? Happy to sit on your spade or hand, although I’ve never been able to persuade them. John could, of course; John could do everything.

They like to sit and wait for worms, which rather discounts the theory that there’s no such thing as a free lunch; not that that applies to birds. In any case, there must be enough food down there to burst his fluffy little tummy; but this one hasn’t shown much interest.

In fact, I don’t think he left that fence all afternoon, even when I went in for lunch. I watched him from the kitchen whilst I had my sandwich; he never once flew down to the hole to pick up a worm. Maybe he’s, you know, a bit deficient; slow, if you like. (Is that allowed these days? Or is it ‘learning difficulties’?)

 It’s not right though, the way he sits there, staring, like he’s passing judgement or something. But he can’t know, can he?

Anyway, it’s almost six and I think the hole’s big enough. I’ve given it a couple of extra inches at each end, just in case, but he’ll definitely fit. Whatever John might have told anyone, he was five-eleven. In his shoes. (He was never satisfied; certainly not with me.)  I’ll drag him down later, when the light’s gone. It had better be tonight: he’s beginning to pong a bit and I don’t want the neighbours talking.


I’ve just been down to check the sides are holding; they are. It’s clay soil you see. “Good for nothing”, John used to say. Not bad for holes though, even big ones.

He was still there, even in the dusk, staring with those inky eyes of his; first at the hole, then at me. Gave me the shivers, I can tell you. Now, I’m not normally prone to superstition, but that bird knew. I don’t know how, but he did. The thing that surprised me most was how trusting he was at the end, hopping on to my hand like that. John wouldn’t have believed it.

I’m sure they’ll both be very comfortable down there.


© flyingscribbler 2011


Shameless self-promotion time: have you turned the pages of Stickybeak’s Lexicon yet? An expanding collection of surprising words for us all to enjoy.


22 comments on “‘Turning Worms’. A new flash fiction. #fridayflash

  1. marc nash says:

    Ah Nature’s delicate balance of the great restaurant. Was the robin waiting for the body to call forth the worm feast, or was it showing respect for the dead?

    Good stuff

  2. adampb says:

    What a cool exploration through the machinations of Nature. Loved the subtlety of the event as witnessed by the bird. Very cool.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  3. Steve Green says:

    Ah, a story after my own heart. loved the crafting, and loved the ending. 🙂

  4. I think you handled the prompt very well.

    I wonder how long before she is caught?

    • I considered her having neighbours who might have been watching, but decided they added unnecessary complication to such a short piece. Therefore, there’s every chance she’ll get away with it.

  5. ganymeder says:

    I’m not sure which is more disturbing, the murder or the fact he killed the bird when it trusted him.

    Well told.

  6. ~Tim says:

    I wonder if John was as blameless as the bird. Nice work.

  7. Icy Sedgwick says:

    This is certainly a dark tale, sir, though glad my little photo could prompt it.

    Only one thing…my surname only has one ‘e’ in it.

  8. Helen says:

    Noooo that poor little Robin – what a twist in the end! Nice story, I was thinking how I missed seeing robins and what a nice picture you were painting then it all went dark LOL

  9. Lara Dunning says:

    Well crafted. Great last line!

  10. FARfetched says:

    Rule #1: get rid of the witnesses too. This one was a little darker than your usual, but you handled it very well I thought.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s