Once Upon a Time….








I gaze, thoughtfully, at the bright blue sky and then the barren earth. There is only so much time left for me. I am only fourteen years old. I am in hiding, but it won’t be long before I am found. The few of us left in this desolate place are quickly taken into slavery or worse—gunned down on sight. The rebel army from the mountains will find me too. I try not to be scared, but the wondering and the waiting are perhaps worse than what might actually happen to me. If they don’t find me, I will probably starve to death and I don’t wish for either ending.

My mind wanders now, lack of water to drink is leading to dehydration, and then I pray for rain, but thus far, prayer as not changed my situation. I am reduced to licking up dew on the rocks. Rain would be so wonderful, but in the now almost barren piece of landscape, I am also afraid of the wild dogs; once family pets. They are now as wild and hungry as I am.

I was lucky to find this hiding place on a rocky mound. It gives me a safe place to hide and to sleep, but the moon is so bright that it is hard to sleep and night time gives me little safety. The wild dogs hunt day and night. I am safe for now, because then can’t reach me in my hiding place. My memories of home and family just make me sad, so I try not to think of them or wonder what happened to them. I fear that they must be enslaved or dead by now.

I climb up to my rocky crevice—it is warm and comforting. I watch the moon’s light dance across the land that I can still see from my safe place. I must have fallen asleep because I am awoken by voices and I don’t move a muscle or hardly breathe.  The voices, could it be or am I dreaming? I must be dreaming.

“Clara, if you are here please call out to us, we miss you and we can only stay a few minutes before we must leave this god foretaken place forever.”

“Mom? Mom? Is that you?  I thought you were gone or dead?”

“My sweet girl, we came to find you and please hurry, we must go now.”

“I am coming.” I quickly climb now and I find my mother, father, and little brother all looking up at me with big smiles.

We gather around each other and then my dad picks me up and carries me. I must be as light as a feather. My dad leads the way and I see a Jeep waiting not far away. We move quickly, almost at a run.  My young brother and I are placed in the back seat and they climb into the front. “Seat belts please,” I hear my dad say. Dad starts the Jeep just as mom closes the Jeep’s right side door.

“Where are we going?” I whisper, to afraid to say anything above a whisper.

My mom answers back, “To a beautiful place across the sea where we will all be safe from all the guns and all the senseless killings and destruction. We will be taking a ship to a faraway place where there are no guns, no destruction.”

I smile and take a deep breathe and exhale slowly. I am home at last with my family. I watch as the barren landscape appears to disappear as clouds of dust billow behind us. An exciting adventure awaits are family, I muse, as well as a safe place to live and to grow up!  I sit back, sigh, and wonder, is there really no other choice but to run away from the country we once loved? And, what happens to all the others who wish for peace and a good life, but have no means of escape? My moment of glee dissolves into sadness and regret.

19 thoughts on “Sue Vincent’s Write Photo Photo Prompt: Within

  1. What a lovely story, Karen. I do like happy endings [although I never write any]

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Roberta, I wrote this happy ending just for you, especially. In short stories, I like a twist to make it shocking or more interesting, but this time I changed the approach to the ending! Karen Anna 🙂


  2. Sue Vincent says:

    A really lovely tale, Karen… and I almost missed it as you forgot to leave me a link on the prompt post 😉


    1. Sue, thank you so much for liking this little short story. I tried so hard to do the Pingback correctly. If you look at the Title, Within, it is underlined by the link function. I followed the ping instructions doing the linking, but I don’t know if I had your URL in a complete form. This coming Thursday I will be there at your site at noon to get the correct URL form for this coming week’s Photo Prompt! I love these Photo Prompts. It is just so exciting to do. Karen Anna 🙂


      1. Sue Vincent says:

        I’ve had a look at the link, Karen, and see what you’ve done. You got the whole process right….just the wrong link. 🙂
        You need to make sure to click into the title of my post to get the right link…. which should look like this ( for this week’s prompt):
        Your link leads to a search result page, not a post… and looks like this:

        Linking to a search result, rather than a post, will not alert me to a pingback. The best way to make sure you have the right link in your post is to check it to see where it leads.

        You could always ‘cheat’ and just copy the link from another contributors post and paste it into your own 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sue, this is my link for today’s photoprompt: Journey. I think I did it correctly this time. 🙂 and thank you so much for teaching me and others who are not so savy or just dumb to catch on quickly (me – dumb bunny! :)) https://scvincent.com/2019/08/15/thursday-photo-prompt-journey-writephoto/


      3. It I am late getting to your page for photoprompts… I will just copy someone elses. Thank you so much. Karen Anna


  3. Jennie says:

    Deep, poignant, insightful, and full of hope. That’s your wonderful story. And, that’s also you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jennie, wow, thank you so very much for your beautiful thoughts in words about my short story and about me! I am deeply moved by your words, they mean so much to me. Hugs xxx and much love to you, my dear friend. Karen

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jennie says:

        My pleasure, dear friend Karen!


  4. jenanita01 says:

    A happy ending for Clara, but with a touch of sadness for others less fortunate…


  5. An allegory for our troubled times?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Liz, yes! I wanted it to be a story that told what is happening in America and the horror of it, with being too obvious. Thank you for seeing it for what it really stands for. Karen Anna 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good to hear that I still have my literary analysis chops after all these years!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Liz, you absolutely do and that is so wonderful! 🙂 Karen Anna

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks! I had very good professors who taught me well.


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