Friday Fictioneers 29 March 2013 – Beneath

Couldn’t wait for today! I am so addicted to Friday Fictioneers. For those that don’t already know, Friday Fictioneers is a group of bloggers from around the world who create a story in 100 words from a photo prompt posted by our host, Rochelle Wissoff-Fields each Wednesday. My contribution is posted below the photo prompt, as always comments are most welcome, good or bad (constructive please!) and will ensure a reciprocal visit. I hope you enjoy!


Lamps: copyright Rochelle Wissoff-Fields

Beneath (98 words)

“Ninety-six steps, then a door at the bottom,” Carl panted, climbing up through the trapdoor.

“I don’t like it.” Said Lucy, fingering her crucifix.

“Stay here then,” shrugged Carl, lighting another lamp.Β “Aren’t you curious?” He smiled, then disappeared below, lamplight bobbing and dancing down the narrow, curving walls.

Contrary to instinct, she picked up the other lamp and followed, Carl already out of sight.

Down and round, down and round.

A cold breeze became a gust, and then from above… Slam!

Her lamp sputtered and died.

β€œCarl?” She sobbed, her feeble, cracking voice unanswered in the darkness.


  1. I like your story but I’m confused by the idea that they climbed out through a trapdoor (which gives me the feeling that they came up out of something), but then they went down somewhere.

    I also like this: ” lamplight bobbing and dancing down the narrow, curving walls.” Your title also adds to the overall creepiness factor of the story.

    You don’t need a comma after 96 if he’s saying there are 96 steps and then the door.

    Glad you’re having such fun here!



    • Hi Janet, the trapdoor is in the floor with a spiral stair leading down below. He went down first to check it out then came back up to get her, lit another lamp (for her) then went back down to explore. She followed after and then the door slammed above her. I probably didn’t explain it very well. I better have another look at it. Thanks for the feedback. πŸ™‚


  2. I got that he was down there first and then came back for her and another lamp. I thought it was a fantastic story – so full of menace. And I really got a feel for both the characters.
    My only piece of constructive criticism, which is simply my preference is that your speech tags are ‘panted’, ‘whispered’, ‘shrugged’ and ‘smiled’. I think that these types of tags distract from the story; sometimes I think a simple ‘said’ works better.


    • Having reread the piece I was amazed to see not a single ‘said’ throughout! You didn’t even mention (perhaps out of kindness) the ‘sobbed’ at the end. Having thought about it I am going to leave in ‘panted’ as I think I would be panting after 96 steps, ‘shrugged’ because it feels natural and sobbed because it gives information about her emotional state at that time. I do feel that ‘whispered’ is irrelevant and would be better as ‘said’ so thank you for pointing that out to me. πŸ™‚


      • I got the fact that he had already been down and had come up to get her. I also like the descriptive words and agree it says something relevant about the story. Said gets boring.


  3. I didn’t catch the logistics of it at first, but only momentarily. Why do I think that Carl has a hand in all of this… Very sinister, and scary. Well done.


  4. Okay, I’m glad I read that in the light of day and not just before I went to sleep at 3:50AM this morning. Imagination is wonderful, but it runs wild at that time of night…er morning πŸ™‚


    • Hello Unspywriter, you have taught me something I didn’t know about grammar, so thank you for that, I want to learn wherever I can. I have thought a lot about your comment and how the application of standard usage might impact the story. I have come to the conclusion that although I respect what you say it does nothing for me in this instance. My character has just climbed the equivalent of seven storeys to reach the girl and is panting from the exertion. My experience is that in these circumstances people’s speech tends to be economical and stilted, and made up of fragments of sentences with pauses for the taking of breath. Although I had two spare words which would allow me to make his sentence read: ‘There are 96 steps then a door at the bottom.’ that looks a little too perfect and incongruous with the effort he has made climbing down and then back up. I don’t think that following grammar rules for dialogue is necessarily a good thing, as people’s speech in general does nothing of the sort, and we can show a lot about our characters by the way that they speak.

      I suspect that my writing will not be for the grammar purists out there, as my formal education was very brief and there are large gaps in what I know of the language. That being said, I hope that you visit my blog again and continue to offer your constructive and informative comments to help further my writing development. Thank you for taking the trouble to read and comment on my story. πŸ™‚


  5. A spooky story – makes me wonder what’s happened to Carl. I got a little confused by the new paragraph between “Stay here” and “Aren’t you curious?” – felt like that would be two people speaking but in fact it’s both him.
    This could be the start of something, although I hope I’d have the sense to stop reading about now. I don’t enjoy horror!


  6. Spooky! I wouldn’t have gone down those steps.

    Good to know Friday Fictioneers is still going – I hadn’t checked since Madison Woods left WordPress.

    I think you may have misunderstood the point about the number. I believe the idea is not to start a sentence with numerals “96”, but instead to write the number in full, i.e. “Ninety-six”.


    • You are right, I did misunderstand the point, I thought she meant numbers and didn’t get it at all! Thanks for stopping by and showing me the error of my ways. πŸ™‚


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