#AtoZchallenge #flashfiction: J for Just when she thought she was safe

As part of the A to Z Challenge,  through the month of April I’ll be posting a story a day based on photographs by Joseph T. Richardson and prompts given to me by blog-friends.
Writing prompt: Just when she thought she was safe..

Provided by: Jemima Pett,friend, fellow writer, and one of the magnificent Seven of #TeamDamyanti


#atozchallenge : J for Just when Martha thought she was safe
#atozchallenge : J for Just when she thought she was safe

That morning, like any other, Martha stopped by the church instead of walking with her friends to the Starbucks where they picked up their donuts and coffee before work.

Should we get you something? they asked her, though they knew her answer.

I’ll only be a few minutes, she waved at them as she walked up the steps, drawing her coat close about her in the morning chill. You go on ahead, she said, but they had already left.

As she pushed the door open and began walking up the aisle to her regular pew a few rows from the front, she felt peace steal over her.

She bowed her head in prayer– and when she looked up and thanked the Christ for His grace, for the health and happiness given her, He seemed to look upon her and smile.

Martha kept looking into His eyes, and did not notice the gunman when he entered. The first shot that felled the priest she took for a cracker, and at the second, she turned but did not see the source of noise.

She bowed her head again to give thanks. The third shot cracked into the pew in front of hers, just when she thought she was safe, because who, after all, could hurt her in the house of God?

Roses blossomed all over Martha and burst the next moment, quite like the red blooms at the feet of Christ, who continued to smile through the noise, silent,  as if He’d just witnessed a Baptism, or wedding.

Martha lay on the floor in between queues, quivered  a few times like an animal long past its prime, then went still.


Are you taking part in the A to Z challenge? Do you read or write fiction? Ever write based on a prompt? Been to a place of worship lately?

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  1. Holly Jahangiri

    Maybe she was safe, still; if viewed from a place of absolute faith, perhaps she’s safe in God’s care and her focus on prayer kept her safe from pain. If viewed from a less religious perspective, it’s a tragic irony. In that sense, it’s a little bit like “The Lady or the Tiger?” isn’t it?

  2. Michelle Stanley

    Poor Martha. I’m glad she had her prayers, despite the tragedy. This is a beautiful story for the prompt. Short and effect with the plot and setting.

  3. Keith Channing

    Nice. Very nice. It illustrates very well the fragility of life, even in the most tranquil of settings. I briefly discussed this fragility here a couple of months ago.

  4. davidprosser

    Superb. The story seemed to slow down towards the end as we took in the fact she’d been shot yet we knew the incident had happened very fast. We can take in she wasn’t safe when she should be yet the death seemed peaceful
    xxx Hugs xxx

  5. echoesofthepen

    Like Dan, I too read through this twice;
    the brevity of the story seemed almost in sync with the brevity of those last remaining moments of life……