99 Word Flash Fiction: Yellow Boat on a River

 from Amazon

from Amazon

David Saars  wrote a book about an eight year old boy, his son Benjamin, who as a haemophiliac had many blood transfusions. One of these led to his illness with HIV/AIDS. Benjamin loved drawing and painting and dealt with the pain of his illness, both physical and emotional through brilliant coloured pieces of art.

Benjamin went to bed each night telling his mother that she could be the red or the blue boat but that he was the yellow boat and he was on a river heading straight to the sun. This concept he got from an old Swedish Folk Song where the red and the blue boat returned but the yellow boat sailed on to the sun.

Luckily treatments have improved since 1987 and the deaths from HIV/AIDS is on the decrease worldwide despite, in some countries, the number of people testing positive to HIV increasing.

“Matron, I just had a needlestick injury”                                                                         “It’ll be okay. Don’t worry. Now fill out this incident form, have your blood taken and we’ll take some blood from the patient.”

“Whose going to tell her she’s infected already with AIDS.

“It’s not good news. Your bloods have come back positive. More than positive – you already have AIDS.”                                                                                                 “But how?”                                                                                                                                    “Do you have any lifestyle risks, had blood transfusions?”                                        “No.”                                                                                                                                        “Does your husband?”                                                                                                              “No.”                                                                                                                                          “You’d better check that with him.”  

 “You bastard.”                                                                                                                             ” Why?”                                                                                                                                            ” I’m going to die.”

“She’s in a yellow boat on a river taking her to the sun.”

I never know where I’m going with Charli’s prompt.  which for October 8th: In 99 words (no more, no less) include a yellow boat on a river. Be creative with the phrase. It can be about a yellow boat or it could be the name of a band or brand of toothpaste. It can be included in the setting or be the adventure.

As a bonus challenge, anyone willing to write a story for three year-olds will be included in a separate children’s compilation. It’s an option, and not the main prompt. I owe my nephew a story.

I know Charli was giving us a bright, breezy prompt after the last prompt of fear but I haven’t given her much to smile about in my response. I did find however a piece of music that I enjoyed listening to so will include it here as well.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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11 Responses to 99 Word Flash Fiction: Yellow Boat on a River

  1. bkpyett says:

    I really like the story of the yellow boat going to the sun, and the sunny drawings! Thank you Irene. 🙂


  2. Charli Mills says:

    Our minds are so full of wonder…a folktale, a yellow boat song, and incredible art by a young patient color the story you’ve conceived this prompt. While not cheery, it creates a contrast that makes something beautiful from pain and impending death. Great flash!


  3. Pingback: Yellow Boats « Carrot Ranch Communications

  4. TanGental says:

    great tale told so well; I don’t know if you’ve seen Amber Prince’s flash but it is almost as if she’s telling your Swedish folk tale without knowing about it..


  5. Sherri says:

    What catchy little number that is, amazing you found one about a yellow boat! I love that about you Irene 🙂 Your introduction about David Saar’s book and his little boy on his yellow boat caught me off guard. It is important we don’t forget the horrors of this disease. Great flash, painful yes, but brings home the all-too prevalent message that Aids still exists and how…


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