It took Mama a while to notice, becuase that’s how Mama was. She mostly noticed how she felt about things, and was quick to tell you. The house is too cold. The stew is too salty.  It was always something else wrong, not her.  She paid attention to the world around like it was a movie she was watching.

I don’t think Jessie was trying to prove a point or anything.  After all, she was only five when she stopped talking and she hasn’t said a single word to anyone since. It’s been six years.

I wonder if something happened.


Friday Fictioneers


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  1. k rawson

    Great voice! I had a hunch this might be inspired by your WIP. The photo prompt seems like it’s a slice of your world.

    Love the intrigue, but I think Mama is the culprit.

  2. Fatima Fakier

    Perhaps something happened, that made her feel she couldn’t express herself. Something majorly traumatic. And mama is involved somehow, either directly or complicitly.

  3. pennygadd51

    Josh, I think that’s one of your very best FF stories. Wonderfully acute observation and very fluent writing. Mama jumps off the page in glorious technicolor.
    I understand that when young children stop speaking it’s often a way of exerting control when they feel that other ways are not open to them.

  4. Lynn Love

    It’s an intriguing mystery. I love particularly how you’ve described the mother, blaming the world for her own unhappiness, being so self absorbed she doesn’t even see huge changes right in front of her. Disturbing and well written stuff Josh

  5. 4963andypop

    Six years is a while. I could hear a Southern accent to this, but I may just be projecting.Mama sounds like quite a prickly character and woe betide that poor girl Jessie, if that is her guardian.

  6. Rowena

    Wow! Your WIP sounds deliciously intriguing if this snippet is anything to go by. I’ve heard the odd story of a child who goes mute and my son had a friend who was largely mute for the first 6 years of school where they were good friends. He actually had quite a few friends and might be a bit on the spectrum or just quiet. I’m not aware of trauma in his case.
    Even when I’ve been really mad with my family, I’ve hardly been able to stop talking for a day. I’d never be able to be silence for so long. So, am inclined to believe a great trauma has occurred. One that’s going to rattle her family and community when the truth comes out.
    Best wishes,

Don't just stand there.