Friday Fictioneers – Uncertainty

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Behind us, bright lights ho-ho-humming in the night, and the merry jingle of coins pinging into their slots, the city one immense pinball machine. Ahead, darkness.

Oh, they were good times! We didn’t know it then, but we do now. Simple times—the times before. We understood what to expect.

Anything can lurk in the obscurity to come. Maybe a dragon, but maybe also a unicorn. Probably nothing. But it’s the uncertainty we fear. Even if we believed cataclysm was coming, we’d be buoyed by the knowing, and step forward jaunty to meet 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

51 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – Uncertainty

  1. “We didn’t know it then…” Spot on. And yes, the uncertainty, the inability to plan looms large in all our minds. A nostalgic reflection for different circumstances than has customarily been the case. Well done.

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  2. Dear Neil,

    The saying goes that hindsight is 20/20. Or how many times have we said, “If I knew then what I know now…” But we didn’t. We could only put one foot in front of the other and do the best we could. Well done.



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  3. I’ve been saying that a lot lately – ‘If I had known” – but in reality it wouldn’t have made a lot of difference. Life may change but it still goes on in some form, and there’s damn all we can do about it.

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  4. An interesting take on the future. For me there’s little difference. When I was young, there was the constant threat of nuclear war. I lived and live in Germany and in the days of the cold war, that would have been the place of first strike. My friends and I would say, it’s good to live close to an industrial area, then we won’t have to suffer. Still, we looked forward to the future with hope and optimism, despite acid rain and the ozone hole, because we were young. Now we’re old and have similarly, or worse, things to fear for the future. It won’t be our future any more though and we don’t have the strength and optimism of youth any more. Maybe that’s why we’re more afraid of the uncertainty? Sorry for blabbing on so long…

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      1. It was more like an uneasy feeling sitting at the back of our minds. Not fear that would paralize. Unlike now though, there was little we could do other than go to peace marches.

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  5. Quite a dystopia, when we look back nostalgically at the commercialisation of Christmas. Very effective writing, Neil. I like how you take each idea and push it just a little further than I expect; and how you use strong and effective vocabulary with precision.
    It’s interesting though, following on from your story, how we’ve largely got used to the unknown of Covid. We’re mostly taking what sensible precautions we can then shrugging our shoulders; if it happens, it happens.

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  6. A fascinating, evocative piece that left me asking: is this literal or figurative? And then, I wondered if that’s part of the point. Well told. I’m starting to think this time of year may bring out the best of you, Neil!

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