Friday Fictioneers – The Collection

Photo Prompt © Sandra Crook

An empty scallop shell counter-poses a sprig of dried lavender. A kestrel, loving testament to the taxidermist’s art, perches vigilant on a branch. A creature, half a million years gone, turned to stone. Maybe it was a gorgon who saw her own reflection in a pool.

The hip bone connects to the ankle bone. It’s uncomfortably easy to believe there might be a space for a basilisk.

I shift my weight awkwardly, unable to tear myself away from the curator’s model  universe.

You can’t capture running water in a bucket. In a bucket it’s still.


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

80 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – The Collection

  1. An interesting reflection about the collection of artefacts. I am advised in order to understand the future we must first unravel the past; so I wonder, is our life like the water flowing freely, or do we continue to stagnate in a bucket?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Your choice of objects and the idiosyncratic thoughts that flow from them bring the narrator to life. Unlike the display, your story is running water! I particularly liked “The hip bone connects to the ankle bone. It’s uncomfortably easy to believe there might be a space for a basilisk”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. gorgons and basilisks quite the possible collection! Contrary to others, I love natural history museums. Our father instilled a huge interest in dinosaurs and fossils in my sisters and me when we were children. Not so much taxidermy ~ too weird for my liking. Very thought-provoking take on the prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is, I think, as good as anything I have read of yours, Neil, and your standard is very high.
    I suspect that this goes even deeper than the comments suggest because, for me, the second last line is the most intriguing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like the gorgon theory of fossil formation. 😊. The basilisk reference reminds us of his glance of death, and further transforms the biology exhibit into one on Necrology. Personally I love Natural History museums, fossils and stuffed dodo birds. The weird and the wonderful dont last forever, nor do we.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Last summer I was in eastern Nevada for field camp, there were fossilized clam shells everywhere. Just huge deposits of them from when the area was a continental shelf. When I showed my girlfriend the sample piece I took it just wasn’t the same. The hilltops where I found them told a story that took millions of year to tell. There was no way I could like you said “capture running water in a bucket”.

    Great story man, I liked it a lot

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I like the contemplative tone of this piece. A good reminder of the interpretation required to put pieces of the past together. It also brought to mind fossils of different animals put together.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ditto what Iain said. In our attempt to preserve, we destroy. Your last line reminds me of Victorian butterfly collections, their wings pinned. While I appreciate the need once to catalogue, I don’t see why the practice has to continue ad infinitum. Are humans unable to learn and retain information?

    Liked by 1 person

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