Change or Die

Photo copyright:

Photo copyright: Grant Sud

The passing of time had left her without family. She felt as if she came from a totally different universe to todays young people. The old neighbourhood that had once nourished her, now frightened her. Graffiti covered almost every inch of the external walls of her home, and now both the boys and girls of the town had taken to using the roof of her home for urban acrobatics which they called free running. Well she wished that they would leave her home out of their athletics.

The sound of breaking glass brought her out into her tiny garden. Her two walking sticks kept her upright as she surveyed the shattered bell cloches. Then she saw the blooded culprit, a young dark haired girl. Nearby stood a boy who she later would come to know as Elijah. She lowered herself to the ground, then bound a deep gash from which blood was flowing profusely. Find her father or mother, boy, and be quick about it, if you wish to save the girl. As Alyssa cradled the child, memories of cradling her own dying child flooded back. As she watched another child die, she prayed for her own release instead.



It is strange what a difference a few hours can make. For the last forty eight hours I have totally struggled with a 200 word story called ‘Mr Thompson’; yet this story ‘Change or Die’ literally flew onto my writing pad.

This Post Has 44 Comments

  1. Jade M. Wong

    What an intense scene you’ve painted for us, Michael. Well done.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Jade thank you for the feedback, I really appreciated it. Mike

  2. Reena Saxena

    I agree. At times, we are just the medium of expression. I re-read earlier pieces, and feel that I cannot write the same piece again.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Reena

  3. yarnspinnerr

    Great word picture and a lot to introspect on.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Yarnspinnerr

  4. JS Brand

    Great story Michael.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you JS

  5. tjparis

    I like the dystopia you generate in such a small space and the sense of tragedy about the change from youth to old age.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you so much for your astute comment, it was appreciated

  6. Iain Kelly

    I liked the disconnect she felt from the youth of the day, but would still sacrifice herself to save one of them. Nicely done.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Iain, your reading of this story reassured me.

  7. A Writer's Beginning

    Great story with a lot of depth to it! I love how you’ve managed to capture the current issue of the widening divisions of the young and the elderly, along with a good character backstory in so few words! Fantastic take on the prompt 🙂

    1. Michael Humphris

      Emily Thank you so much for your insightful feed back, it is appreciated.

  8. James

    Well done drama.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you so much James.

  9. Moon

    A wonderfully touching story , Michael . Loved it.

    1. Michael Humphris

      I was so pleased to read your comments, thank you.

  10. Priceless Joy

    Lovely story Mike! I could certainly understand her wanting her own release instead of the child’s after suffering so much during her life (the death of a child). I know what you mean how the story just flowed from your pen because that is how my story came about. Great story!

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you PJ, I am always really grateful for your feedback. Giving useful feedback is something I find difficult,

      1. Priceless Joy

        I enjoy giving feedback but honestly, I can’t say it’s useful! LOL!

        1. Michael Humphris

          I do value feedback for many reasons. Especially as at times comments will pick up on some thing that I had not thought about. I have gained much from taking part in flash fiction. Thank you PJ.

          1. Priceless Joy

            Whatever I can do I am always happy to but I’m afraid my feedback isn’t that fruitful as someone like Iain’s feedback is.

          2. Michael Humphris

            Iain does really well, but I will always be pleased to hear what you think of my stories, good or bad. Mike

          3. Priceless Joy

            Ahh, thank you Mike. I appreciate that!

  11. Kecia Sparlin

    Loved this. I want to read the rest.

    1. Michael Humphris

      So pleased to read your comment. Sometimes I do wish I could tell more. Yet the readers of our fiction often decide how they want to see the story unfold and finish.

  12. L.E.R.T

    A very tender moment, you’ve managed to portray here, Michael. This was beautiful and heartbreaking. Cheers, Varad.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Varad. Your feedback is really appreciated… Giving insightful feedback is a skill. And is something I am poor at.

  13. Sight11

    Hmm.. I like the last line. Praying for her own release instead. It is not a tendency of writers to give a insight to psyche of their characters in short stories.. But you chose ‘release’ (not death) and revealed her ‘entrapment’.
    Excellent reflection of psyche.. Bravo..

    (Strangely my like is not registering here. Maybe I am doing something wrong)

    1. Michael Humphris

      I was so pleased to get your insightful comments. Thank you.

  14. hombrehompson

    very nice, those last couple of lines especially.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Writing can be so rewarding, when it goes well. Thank you

  15. Enkin Anthem

    So much atmosphere in so few words – well done!

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you so much, it is a pleasure to write when I receive such comments.

  16. Kalpana Solsi

    Death of a child is painful for a parent and now she is cradling another child who is hut. painful memories.
    poignantly written.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Kalpana, the death of any child is dreadful. I have writen a sequel to ‘Change or Die’ which is called ‘New Memories’

  17. Joy Pixley

    I really felt how isolated she felt from the younger generation and from others more generally, and the part about her losing her own child made that sadness feel even more profound.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Joy. Some story’s arrive and then disappear. But this one will remain with me.

      1. Joy Pixley

        I know what you mean; some of mine do the same to me.

        1. Michael Humphris

          Thank you for your support, Joy

  18. Liz Young

    A powerful story which I only read after reading your FF entry. Now I shall return to FF and read that again.

  19. creatingahome

    This is just sad.
    Beautifully done.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you for your comments, I enjoyed writing this story and its follow up story called New Memories

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