Keep on Running – Flash Fiction

Keep on Running

Time had passed since Abigail heard the voices so maybe the coast was clear. 

They had been muffled at first until the footsteps got closer, and then she could clearly hear the familiar, distinct southern drawl.  Two men conversing, unaware of her presence as she lay silent and motionless in the undergrowth, not daring to breathe.  She recognized the plantation foreman, Ned, immediately.

“As I said Caleb it ain’t gonna make an ounce of diff’rence.  You can lock ‘em up at nightfall but if they want it bad enough, they’ll as sure as hell try and make a run for it” 

“So if all do their duty, they need not fear harm?” Responded the younger man.  

“Exactly” said Ned, “They just need direction” his voice trailing off as they moved away.

Abigail shuddered, remembering the whipping she had received the last time she escaped.

Copyright © 2021 Christine Bolton - Poetry for Healing
All Rights Reserved

Ingrid is hosting Prosery Monday At D'Verse Poets tonight and has asked
us to write a piece of Flash Fiction (Prosery) using no more than 144 words
excluding the title.  We are to use this line from William Blake's poem,
The Chimney Sweeper.
"So if all do their duty, they need not fear harm"

  13 comments for “Keep on Running – Flash Fiction

  1. sanaarizvi
    September 15, 2021 at 12:05 pm

    My goodness this is incredibly dark and chilling! The line by Blake is incorporated so well here, it feels like it was made for it! If only, they realized the trauma which is being inflicted by them on others.. sigh.

    • Christine Bolton
      September 15, 2021 at 4:48 pm

      Thank you Sanaa. ☺️ Yes, I knew what I wanted to write the moment I read it.

  2. September 14, 2021 at 6:57 pm

    This is chilling … you took Ingrid’s line and turned out an amazing Prosery piece.

    • Christine Bolton
      September 15, 2021 at 1:14 pm

      Thank you Helen. I’m so happy you liked it ☺️💕

  3. September 14, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    The oppressors really shows how close they are in understanding the slaves… it they only saw them as humans.

    • Christine Bolton
      September 15, 2021 at 4:49 pm

      I know, it is so disturbing. They were treated like animals 😢

  4. September 14, 2021 at 7:17 am

    Wow, Christine. This makes me think of the book ‘Beloved’… with the slaves escaping…


    • Christine Bolton
      September 14, 2021 at 7:50 am

      Yes David, and the many others that were written too. Thank you 🙂

  5. September 13, 2021 at 11:43 pm

    Just like fairy tales, language reflects the belief system of a culture. In slaveholding (or other patriarchal) culture, “They just need direction” uses language to rationalize its continuance as a necessary evil. You tell volumes in just those few words, Christine.

    • Christine Bolton
      September 14, 2021 at 7:54 am

      Yes! Sadly that is still true Lisa. Slavery or servitude comes in many forms to this day. Control being the key word here.

  6. September 13, 2021 at 11:13 pm

    This is so chilling and just plain awful, what people had to suffer under slavery. I believe your prose echoes the sentiment of Blake’s poem: a different set of circumstances, but the same idea.

    • Christine Bolton
      September 14, 2021 at 7:56 am

      It is still alive and well today Ingrid. It now has the title of Human Trafficking. Your wonderful Blake quote touched me, so thank you!

      • September 14, 2021 at 8:23 am

        That is very sadly true. Thanks for the reminder, Christine!

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