A Prompt Response for Flasher Friday

This is my response to a prompt from Our Write Side to their Friday Flasher prompt. A short story in no more than 500 Words using four elements

  • Place: Paris, France
  • Character: a coal miner
  • Object: red and blue markers
  • Smell: baby powder

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Image ©  John and Margaret ~ All rights reserved




by John Yeo

    After their parents had died in an automobile accident, the family home was sold, leaving Jean-Pierre and his brother, Francois, homeless.

Both coal miners, they had worked together since leaving school. They shared digs together; Jean-Pierre the elder of the two brothers was in love with Marie, the landlady’s daughter. They planned to get married when they had saved enough money.

The brothers worked in the same pit in Noeux, Northern France. One busy shift, the Foreman, a nasty piece of garbage, who answered to the name of Schotter, had been particularly rough on both brothers, sending them to work the coal face in the most dangerous area of the mine. Jean-Pierre suspected he was also in love with Marie, and bitterly seeking revenge for her spurning him, and his advances.

 That memorable day when Jean-Pierre struck the rugged coal face, an unusual round stone came tumbling down between his feet.

“What do you make of this Francois?”  Jean-Paul asked his brother. Francois gasped when he saw the stone.


 At that precise moment, there was a low rumble that became a slide and the roof collapsed trapping both brothers. Almost buried alive Jean-Pierre was dragged out with two broken legs, no one noticed the egg-shaped stone he clutched tightly in his hand. Francois died, buried alive in the tunnel.

There was an internal investigation, a manager questioned everyone and made copious notes and drawings on a whiteboard using red and blue markers. The conclusion was that Schotter had been negligent by ordering the brothers to work in an unsafe area. He was arrested and jailed for manslaughter.

It took a while to work out what he had found in the depths of the coal mine. Jean-Pierre always carried the rough stone in a pouch.

He made a slow recovery from his injuries, but he was forced to walk with a limp, and forget about his life as a miner. Marie stood by him when they decided to get married and move to Paris. Marie-Celeste was born, and their rented apartment was soon filled with, the gurgles of a newborn baby together with wondrous smells, of  baby powder everywhere.


 “Marie, we are soon going to move to a new house here in Paris. I have a very valuable item that I have been working on, a lucky relic from my days as a miner.”

 After a famous pink diamond was sold on the open market in Paris, for millions. It was a mystery buyer who purchased the diamond from a mystery seller, both sides of the transaction were handled by agents.

 Jean Pierre and Marie lived in comfort, financially sound for the rest of their lives.

 It was Marie’s idea to visit the old mine, the scene of Francois sad death.

When they came to the site, Jean-Pierre the miner stopped, stunned. Two French Swans were swimming on a lake where the overgrown mine shaft was. Swimming over coals that contained the last remains of his brother.


(496 WORDS)

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

Friday Flasher

Friday Flasher: Paris, France