The Warning: Friday Fictioneers

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photo © Sandra Crook

Jemma  looked at the pollarded trees and the rock piles. “Pollards and cairns together. I wonder if we’re being warned about passing through this lock.”

“Don’t be stupid. People put them there to let others know they’ve  passed this way too.” 

“I can’t tell whether they’re old or new…. whether I should be sad, worried, or adding my own. I’m off – you can pick me up further along.” 

Red lights flashed as the lock filled. “Help,” Peter cried ” The rudder’s caught in the gate.” Unable to rise with the water the boat swamped and sank.

“Worried and sad,” Jemma whispered.

Thank you to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting Friday Fictioneers and also a thank you to Sandra Crook for supplying the photo used for the prompt.



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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43 Responses to The Warning: Friday Fictioneers

  1. Iain Kelly says:

    Poor Peter! I guess he should have heeded the warning.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. James McEwan says:

    I suspect the stones are left to provoke imagination – what do they symbolise? Perhaps a warning – as Peter discovered to his cost.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It certainly provoked her imagination. In reality there are so many reasons stones are left – to give direction, as a burial marker, a memorial, to commemorate someone being at the place and on it goes. Unless you know it is up to your imagination – Peter’s imagination didn’t take him the right direction.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dale says:

    Well done, Irene!
    I really liked this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sandra says:

    Accidents happen so quickly in locks. A very credible story.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Moon says:

    Beautifully written story, vivid descriptions.
    Also, learned about ‘locks’ through your story. Thank you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Omg – every barge and lock negotiator’s nightmare. It’s almost as if it were planned…

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Charli Mills says:

    You have such dark humor! 🙂 Now Jemma knows!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I like the way you combined the pollards and tairns to create a warning only Jemma felt. (Plus I learned a new word ~ pollard.) Sometimes you just have to go with “that feeling.”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ceayr says:

    That turned brutal quickly!
    Nice one, Irene.
    PS I always mean to ask, is there such a thing as an enthusiastic potato peeler?

    Liked by 2 people

  10. mumpoet says:

    How sad – intrigued by the world Peter and Gemma belonged to.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dear Irene,

    How fast life can change. Well written.



    Liked by 1 person

  12. pennygadd51 says:

    I hope Peter could swim! I’m not familiar with superstitions relating to pollards and cairns; it would be interesting to know what Jemma was thinking about when she declined to stay on board.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t know that there are any superstitions about pollards and cairns together (I took fictitious liberty) but in Jemma’s mind the trees looked as if they had been decapitated which added to the possible use of the cairns freaked her out. Luckily for her.


  13. subroto says:

    He shouldn’t have barged in then. I do hope he can swim. Nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. granonine says:

    I’ve beeb through a couple of locks, and I think they’re scary. My imagination goes wild considering the possibilities! Well written.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Peter’s world turned topsy turvy in a jiffy. Such is fickle life. Lovely writing, though, Irene.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Ouch.. you should listen to the warnings, what a sad demise.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Liz Young says:

    Let’s hope Peter can swim! Locks scare the hell out of me.
    Note – your first quotation marks are the wrong way round. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. An interesting POV.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. athling2001 says:

    Well written story. I hope Peter escaped.

    Liked by 1 person

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