Friday Fictioneers – Doing Time

Photo Prompt © Roger Bultot

“A whole month vanished,” Penny said.

January always came as a jarring surprise. The year ahead was shaped like a horseshoe, anchored to her forehead at 1 January and to her midriff by 31 December.

Penny was a synaesthete – she could see time. On any day of the year, the date was there, projecting from her body. Until she mentioned it to friends, she hadn’t known she was unusual.

But there was an abrupt jump at year-end from one prong of the horseshoe to the other. “There’s a gap,” she told me, “like something was there and I missed it.”



Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

99 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – Doing Time

  1. That’s a very thought provoking story, Neil, and one that strikes a chord with me. I see the year, and life, as a clock-face, where January, and life starts at somewhere approaching twenty-five minutes to the hour and December/ natural death is at half-past the hour. Weird I know. Great story though.

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  2. This is a fascinating subject indeed… I imagine that seeing time would become quite heavy. Claire Fuller’s book Swimming Lessons had a character who smelled (smelt?) in colours…

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  3. I’m fascinated by synaesthesia too, Neil and what a wonderful way you’ve found to translate that idea into a story. It feels odd that someone might smell colours or sounds, but must be normal for them, as you say. Great story Neil

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  4. Well, Neil, thanks for introducing me to another new word. I’m surprised I haven’t come across at some point in my work. Maybe I did, but I’m old and I don’t remember 🙂 Anyway, very nice take on this rather unusual prompt 🙂

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  5. An enjoyable and thought-provoking read, Neil.

    I wonder what age Penny was when she mentioned her ability to people. How many years did she accept blindly that end of year / new year gap before saying something? Which gets me onto being colour blind. Who is to say the colours normal people see are correct?

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    1. She tells me she was in her mid-teens before she realised others didn’t see time, Thanks, Kelvin. Oh, and the colours we see aren’t real. But some people don’t see anything distinct at all for certain colours

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  6. Great story! I find synesthesia (American spelling) fascinating, too, especially as pertains to music. I would love to have the ability to see the sounds I sing, a profusion of colors and images emanating from my body and my mouth. How lovely that would be 🙂

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  7. Hmmm I must admit, I felt this was a bit out of my mental capacity 🙂 Seeing time projecting from her body? And I thought I was weird! I wonder if the missing gap from year end to new year’s means she was partying too hard. Intriguing character that you could do so much with.

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  8. An interesting concept and intriguing story! I wonder how the prompt inspired this story? Not that it doesnt fit, in fact it seems to fit perfectly – the gaps and the connections. But still I did wonder…

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  9. The musician Lorde has Synesthesia, which she credits for her musical ability. She sees musical notes as colors. It is hard for any of us without this unique condition to phantom. Great take on the prompt.

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  10. As already stated very interesting and thought provoking. When I was younger I saw everything as having a quality of stone, metal, wood, plastic and then colour, I didn’t think anything of it until I read about it being a recognised phenomena. I don’t get the same sensations as often these days and feel I must have grown out of it.

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