School Function


Children run. Colors blur.

Parents laugh. Voices hurt.

Teacher speaks. Words blend.

Head swells. Brain bends.

Feet stuck. Force movement. Back up. Feel wall. Touch bricks. Need grounding. Mind spinning. Not breathing. Quick gasps. Suck air.

Reach out.

His hand is there.

He grabs my sweaty palm without complaint, squeezing three times to ask if I’m okay. I shake my head. No. He leads me toward the soccer field. Toward quiet. He doesn’t let go so is there when I fall.

Seconds later, sun in my eyes, an outline of his face hovers, not too close. I am safe.



Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

April 13, 2016 prompt: Helping In 99 words (no more, no less) write about helping someone. What’s their situation? What’s yours? Do they think they need help? How is it received?

(I wrote this piece for last week’s prompt, Agoraphobia: Write a response to an agoraphobic moment. Explore the character’s discomfort.” I used a different flash. I’m thrilled to be able to use School Function for this week’s prompt. Consider it a combo flash.)

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig


Agoraphobia as defined by Mayo Clinic


22 thoughts on “School Function

  1. Awesome! Sarah, I was right in there with you feeling the panic build. The need to get out of there, away, before … Fortunately there was someone understanding who knew, and helped, supported. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Norah. I can also feel the panic build. It’s almost uncomfortable to read. It is fortunate that someone who understood was there to help. (My 9-yr-old actually liked this one a lot. He critiqued it. 🙂 “the style changed so you feel nervous and tense reading the beginning and then calm down when the sentences get longer and more complete at the end”.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • What a wonderful critique. Sometimes I think that’s the sort of critique we should be giving each other, so that we learn from each one we do. I do try to give a little in my responses, but sometimes there’s barely enough time to read and comment, let alone give a thoughtful comment. How much does your son charge for a 99 word critique? xx

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah…that would be nice. And helpful. But I agree. Time. Also, it’s uncomfortable online because you never know if people will be upset. But, maybe, if a group of us got together to ask for feedback, we’d feel more comfortable critiquing. (My son says it would be free. “Call anytime!” He actually said that.)

          Liked by 1 person

        • Your son is just gorgeous! I love your boys. They are so like their mother. Such warm generous hearts!
          I like the idea of your critiquing circle. The local SCBWI chapter does something like that.

          Liked by 1 person

        • As always, you give me too much credit. But, thank you. ❤ They're pretty great kids. I'm really loving the idea of a critiquing circle online. I don't have one IRL so it would be awesome. When all of our lives have calmed down a bit… (Will that ever happen?) I'll have to look into the SCBWI chapter here. I've been a member for many years but never really took advantage of any of the perks. *cringe*

          Liked by 1 person

        • I’m in SCBWI here, but the writing I am doing at the moment doesn’t really meet their criteria. I’ll have to get my website going, eventually, and get back to writing stories. No need to cringe. We do what we can, and it is never as much as we’d like. There’s too much to do and not enough life to do it in! Look after yourself. xx

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Phew…I felt anxious just reading this, from the first word to the almost last few, and then…came the end of it, panic dissipating, safety…at last. Wonderfuly written flash Sarah 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: A Helping Hand « Carrot Ranch Communications

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