A chill autumn breeze stalks the forest, disgorging a spill of red, brown, and golden leaves that fall, resting like a shroud on the forest floor, forming an irregular mound at the base of the tree.

Out on the lake, a single loon cries out, a mournful, lonely call that goes unanswered.

Every morning like clockwork the jogger stops at this tree, stops to admire the beauty of the lake and the forest, stops to quietly reflect in a moment of peace in an otherwise busy life. Every morning like clockwork, but not this morning.

Under the decaying leaves, a phone rings out, an urgent, desperate call that goes unanswered.

This is my response to the Five Sentence Fiction prompt posted by Lillie McFerrin on her blog. If you are interested in writing and haven’t tried this, I recommend it – the idea is to write something with real punch in only five sentences. It is a significant challenge, but one I think I am getting better at (and better because of).

In this response I have tried to work on setting an atmosphere, specifically one I felt could be considered ‘gothic horror’. Nothing is overtly wrong here (at least until the end), but I wanted each sentence to build the loneliness, to build the wrongness – and with only five sentences to play with, I’m not sure how well I’ve achieved this. I also went back to using the ‘repetition’ angle, a trick I am getting increasingly fond of.

I would be very interested in what you think, so leave a comment if you liked it, or if you didn’t like it. Do you think I got the atmosphere I wanted? Is there anything you would change? Does the repetition of ‘unanswered’ work?

Thanks for reading

PS – if you are interested, here is a YouTube link to the call of a loon. You might note they normally come in pairs – so a single loon call suggests a loon has their lost mate.


Lillie McFerrin Writes


Published by: wildbilbo

My name is Kristian Thoroughgood, alternately known as KT to my friends, or @WildBilbo on twitter. As of August 2015, I am forty years old. Australian. My blog is intended to be both a place for me to polish my creative writing muscles (not a double entendre) and for others to read and comment on my musings. Expect short stories, articles, essays and other brain dumps. My opinions are my own, and whilst I take care to be at least moderately informed about any topic I speak or write about, these opinions are subject to rapid change in the face of passionate arguments and greater evidence. Please note - on my blog, Evidence beats Passion.

Categories Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Uncategorized, Writing, WritingTags, , , , , , 13 Comments

13 thoughts on “Unanswered”

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