Neon reflections (Friday Fictioneers)

PHOTO PROMPT © Shaktiki Sharma

Image by Shaktiki Sharma at

It rained on our last night in New Orleans.

But it wasn’t the rain that stopped us going out.

Strong, stable, always-in-control Jay had finally let his emotional guard down. Hunched on the bed, his shoulders jerked with each silent sob. He cried for his dad, for the emptiness and regret that comes when someone close to you dies.

I looked through the window at the glistening street below. The neon pinks and blues reflected in a puddle and shattered when a large water drop fell from the awning above.

It was ever more beautiful than I could have imagined.


I’ve been selected as a finalist for the Newcastle Herald Short Story competition this year and my story was published today in print and online. It’s a 1000 word piece called Bloodstained about a bird and a woman who find they have a lot in common. Have a read here and tell me what you think!

Friday Fictioneers is a challenge set by Rochelle each week where writers from around the world post 100 word stories based on a common photo prompt. For more information, and to read other stories, visit Rochelle’s page here.


Filed under Friday Fictioneers

57 responses to “Neon reflections (Friday Fictioneers)

  1. Excellent piece. But your story in the Newcastle Herald is a powerful, heart-wrenching piece. I’m not in the least surprised that you’re a finalist, and look forward to hearing the outcome. Well done, Jessie.

  2. Beautiful, Jessie. And your story in the Newcastle Herald is wonderful. I loved the mirroring of the husband and the bird. It was very clever, and apparently (though I know it wasn’t) efforttless

  3. margaret jackson

    beautiful imagery Jess you too us there with you.

  4. Wow. You brought me to tears on this one. No wonder you got what you so richly deserved in the Newcastle Herald. Bravo, Jessie! All the best!

  5. A very powerful take on the cue, Jessie. Well done!

  6. Dear Jessie,

    You had me in the scene. Lovely use of light and color. Congratulations on your story. No doubt there’s a reason.



  7. Nicely rendered. I like the portrait of Jeff hunched on the bed. Congrats on the award, too.

  8. Jessie, I’ve just read your short story in the Newcastle Herald and it sent shivers through me. It was such a sensitive, meticulous dialogue between the woman and the bird where the grief is so intense and all-consuming…I loved it.
    It’s also great to run into someone almost local as I’m on the Central Coast, not far from Palm Beach and it’s great to hook up with another Australian. We’re quite a rare breed and hence my blog has quite an Australian flavor to it, yet written with an overseas reader in mind. I get very little Australian traffic.
    We have a lot of cockatoos around our way and they’re forever swopping in front of your windscreen with kamakaze intent. We also have loads of ducks but they have trained the cars well and expect them to stop.
    Great to touch base & good luck with the story!
    xx Rowena

    • Thank you so much Rowena!!! Always great to hear from a local too! Your feedback was so kind 🙂

      • You’re welcome, Jessie. It was a fantastic story!
        A friend and I each entered the Central Coast Short Story Competition and didn’t get a place. Neither of us write short stories but we thought our submissions were good. I’ve now realized mine was more the basis of a novel with too many threads. I am intending to re-write it but will need to wait until school’s gone back. We’re about to head over to Tassie. My husband is from there and as ancestors going back to Port Arthur so it’s going to be a very interesting trip with loads of threads to explore.
        xx Rowena

  9. Reblogged this on beyondtheflow and commented:
    As a bird-lover and as a fellow-Australian, I had to share this. There’s a link to Jessie’s short story which sent shivers through me. A must read!

  10. What a great story – very strong, intimate tale of love and loss. Congrats on the Herald shortlisting – well done! Will try to go and check it out 🙂

  11. This story should be read to every boy who think that strength is not to cry… wonderful and thoughtprovoking.

  12. I like the description of the lights shattering in the puddle. Beautiful.

  13. Oh now that is a powerful story. The image of the rain reflecting Jay’s mood and it being somehow beautiful is really an extraordinary use of analogy.

  14. michael1148humphris

    I felt him being shattered like the when the water drop fell in the puddle. That was a great use of image.

  15. Well written and well captured emotion. I know that moment of release when your father dies and you can no longer keep it all in.

  16. Dale

    Beautifully done.. both this one and the Herald one.. .

  17. You paint a clear vignette of that view – and congratulations of=n being a finalist.

  18. Am I wrong in sensing a hint of schadenfreude in your/her thoughts?
    Love the story.
    Um, in the last line, did you mean ‘even’?

    • I had to Google schadenfreude… love that word now! It’s interesting you read it that way. Maybe she does have a wicked side to her. I meant ‘ever more beautiful’ as in ‘more and more and more beautiful’, but I can see how ‘even’ would have worked too.

  19. Interesting take on the prompt photo.

    I enjoyed your Herald story, the first line had me hooked. Liked the wink at the end.

  20. OH my….love the story about the bird and woman….wow very powerful…..great story….kat

  21. Oh yeah, Bloodstained. Beautiful images and symmetry.

  22. I love where you took the neons in the picture. Well done.

  23. I like your use of imagery. Bloodstained is a great short story, well done.

  24. Beautiful imagery and I loved your short story.

  25. I could feel the heartache Jay was going through. Sad and emotional piece. It’s very well-written, Jesse, as is your entry in the Newcastle Herald. Congratulations and Good Luck.
    Happy New Year 2017 🎉 Cheers 🍷
    Isadora 😎

  26. Love the nuance of this piece, such gorgeous imagery. Love your story for the Newcastle Herald too. Congrats and good luck!

  27. Great post. Do check out my website, , where I write about cars and technology in them. Feel free to follow if you like my content. Cheers mate . Keep the content rolling.

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