I-80 Westbound, Mile Marker 234

photo prompt courtesy J Hardy Carroll

She waited until JT was asleep, then slipped out from under the sheet. She plucked a pair of cutoffs from the floor. She’d put them on outside. There was no getting shoes without waking someone.

She gripped the doorknob of the camper and turned it so slowly the only sound was JT’s snore, and the whimper of the girl they’d picked up yesterday. She pressed the door closed silently.

The rest area was a hard mile in bare feet, the semis whizzing by, blowing back her tangled hair.

“Anna? Is that you?”

“Mom–” Her voice snagged. “I want to come home.”

100 words

This has been an edition of Friday Fictioneers, hosted by the wonderful-amazing Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s photo courtesy the dashing J Hardy Carroll. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.


  1. Dear Karen,

    Well written and multi-layered. I could feel the early morning air and the wind in my hair. Fraught with emotion. Good job.



  2. Superb. Tense, mysterious and vivid. You infuse a lot of character into the girl and the situation with a very few words. Expertly rendered.

    1. You’re sweet. Thanks so much.

  3. Tightly written and really gripping. You left me with a nagging question – did Anna get help for the other girl?

    1. I hope so! Thanks for reading.

  4. Expertly written, loved the tension and the reveal.

  5. I love the way your prose tiptoes with your character. Such sweet synchronicity, Karen.

    1. Golly, you’re making me blush. Thanks Kelvin.

  6. Hey, Karen, could you let Josh know I’ve commented on his next flash fiction story (following this one of yours) and I’m still getting error 403. Here is my comment (copied this time!)

    Lovely dialogue exchange, which felt real, organic, straight from the scene of a play. Thanks for posting, Josh.

    1. Will do. I wonder what’s up. Very kind of you.

  7. Gosh! I feel for Anna. Hope she is safe and miles away now.
    Great writing, Karen.

  8. Jen

    I legit feel sad for your character, and the whimpering girl. Love the raw emotion and little details. Great story.

  9. Well written, Karen. I feel sad for the whimpering girl “they” had picked up. It seems that Anna too is culpable.

  10. michael1148humphris

    Your story felt so real. Great writing

  11. Within few words you made me feel for Anna. Hope she gets to her mom soon as that JT doesn’t seem like a likeable fella.

  12. A very grim situation. I hope she remembers to call the police for the girl as well, it sounds like she needs help too.

  13. Wonderfully graphic – I could visualise the scene so clearly. Brilliant.

    Click to read my FriFic

    1. Glad you liked it 🙂

  14. Brilliant setup. Very well written.

  15. Raw emotion. So glad this girl managed to go back home.

    1. Thanks for reading!

  16. Very well done; you’ve created a gripping story here. Now we all wonder how it turns out.

    1. 🙂 So glad you liked it. Thanks for reading.

  17. You establish two strong characters, place them into a changing setting that you describe vividly, you have a great story arc, and you tug at our emotions. Great writing!

    1. That’s very kind of you Penny! Thanks so much.

  18. Dale

    That was indeed brilliantly done, Karen. The tension buildup was palpable.

    1. Thank you and thanks for reading!

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