No ash no guilt



Every morning she sweeps the steps, clearing the ash settled overnight. Carefully. Completely. No ash rests on her doorstep. No guilt.

“This place is far better without those people!” they exclaim. She nods along, but outside her door she shakes her jacket, dusts her skirt. No ash coats her floor.

“The property prices are going up,” they say. She says it too, but every evening she shutters her windows. No ash dusts her curtains.

“It’s…just the soldier’s campfires, that’s all…” they mutter. But she wonders…and every night she washes her hair.

No ash on her pillow.

No guilt.


Genre: Realistic Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100 words

I’m…I’m aiming for something specific here, so I’m not going to talk about my thought process at all – I want to see if I actually hit the target. Keen to get critical review of this, so if it’s weak in any areas, or you think it misses something, feel free to leave a comment.

Oh yeah, I guess this means I’m back! Whew. I think I really needed a break from blogging, from creating for a while. I didn’t write a thing there for a while, but the recent book reviews have sparked a bit of the writing bug again, so I hope this means I’m ready to get back into it. Let’s see 🙂

Thanks to Rochelle for hosting as always, and thanks to Amy for the photo! I’m going to try and hit as many other stories as I can – I suggest you do too.




28 thoughts on “No ash no guilt”

  1. After reading it through a few times I’d be inclined to go with Rochelle’s interpretation. It’s quite a clever write, though the property price bit did throw me as I couldn’t see how it linked in besides being mundane conversation. In some ways that works quite well though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reading through previous comments… I agree. I got the genocide/holocaust and thought the “no ash” repetition worked very well, but the bit about property prices didn’t seem to fit.

    Other than that, a well-done, powerful piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds to me like they’re wiping out a whole set of people of some ethic background perhaps. I like the repetition of “no ash” throughout, and her attempts to shut out what she suspects is happening.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. OMG. I never write in letters like that….hate them. But, OMG. I’m not reading anyone else’s replies here because I don’t want to be influenced by them. I think, in many ways, one sign of good writing is the leap the words cause a reader to take…and leap I did. She is located somehow, near Hitler’s ovens. The ash that she cannot stand in her house, on her apron, on her hair, is the ash of humans and the clinging of the guilt to her — for simply standing by? For simply living through and ignoring….
    Whether or not you meant this, it is where I went. Which means for me, for this reader, this was a powerful piece and in 100 words, you’ve described the horror, the plight, and the guilt.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well done. I got the bit about property rising – chit chat about how things improve once “those people” are out of the way. Shorter lines at the market, easier traffic – it could be any number of things, couldn’t it? Again, well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Whew – thanks, that is *exactly* what I going for. The casual chatter that bigoted people use to justify their support moving the unwanted…away (evicted, prison, camps). Awesome.


  6. I got concentration camp too. I think the property price part is about getting rid of “them” but the confusion could be because the tense makes it unclear whether the speaker means the property price was going up (before we started getting rid of them – and soon hopefully it will stop) or will be going up (as a result of what they are doing). Maybe making it past tense might help clarify? At the same time, I like the present tense – this is happening right now – feeling you evoke but that’s pretty effective in the rest of the prose (she *says*, etc.) Just a thought. Well done in a compact form.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m commenting before reading the other comments. This is chilling, very well crafted, and I think I know exactly what you’re writing about. If you don’t want to see anything, you don’t have to know anything. “We didn’t exactly know what they did to these Jews” is a phrase I’ve heard from old people in my country far too often.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are spot on. It’s about the justification of the persecution & the attempt at denial of the horror. Her obsession with getting rid of the ash shows she really knows what’s going on though.

      Thanks so much for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is very effective and its intention clear. Well done.
    The ‘property prices’ bit could come before ‘the far better without those people’ – so it builds from the mundane to what is really happening. Just a suggestion!

    Liked by 1 person

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