Short Stories & Flash Fiction
Comments 43

Life Among Old Paper

The letter was marked number 66/41/C/8504 and mixed in with the correspondence of someone else. This was the only reason her name had survived the purging of her family when they sought to scour all trace of her from their history.

Wincing at the creak of old paper straining beneath the pull of modern fingers, Anna unfolded the letter.

“To my dearest Father, I am sorry…”

The rest is faint, the ink is much older than Anna and almost lost to time’s fading. She wonders if whoever wrote it can see someone has found her words and is finally listening.

fridayfictioneers.jpg

Back in Shrewsbury our archives are right next to the library and for me the two sites share so many similarities that one always makes me think of the other.

This entry was posted in: Short Stories & Flash Fiction

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Carol Forrester is a twenty-three year old writer trying to be a better one. Don’t ask her what her hobbies are because the list doesn’t get much beyond, reading, writing and talking about the same. She has a 2:1 BA degree in history from Bath Spa University and various poems and stories scattered across the net. Her flash fiction story ‘Glorious Silence’ was named as River Ram Press’ short story of the month for August 2014 and her short story ‘A Visit From The Fortune Teller’ has been showcased on the literary site Ink Pantry’s. Most recently, her poem ‘Sunsets’ was featured on Eyes Plus Words, and her personal blog Writing and Works hosts a mass of writing from across the last five years. She has been lucky enough to write guest posts for sites such as Inky Tavern and Song of The Forlorn and is always open to writing more and hosting guest bloggers here on Writing and Works. With hopes of publishing a novel in the next five years and perhaps a collection or two of smaller works, Carol Forrester is nothing if not ambitious. Her writing tries to cover every theme in human life and a lot of her work pulls inspiration from her own eccentric family in the rural wonders of Shropshire life.

43 Comments

  1. Carol, Your description is so good I can see it happening. Much writing and many books have been destroyed but the love of reading continues and books and letters survive. Well written. — Susan

    • Indeed. I’m currently going through a collection of letters my Thomas Hill for my history dissertation and hoping they will shed some light on the mystery that is his sister. Old letters are fantastic portals into the past.

  2. I loved the concept of old paper ‘creaking and straining against the pull of modern fingers’. Nice one.

    • I’m glad you think so. Going through old letters at the archives for my dissertation has given me a lot of experience with terrifying moments when you think the page may not stand any more unfolding.

  3. I wonder what she was sorry for and it’s a shame her father never got her apology. Well written. This could the the seed for a bigger story.

    • I wouldn’t be so sure. It could be that the letter is taken from a collection of letters he kept and were later donated into an archive by a family member.

    • I’m not sure, they will certainly be differences but some people still keep journals and write letters. More may survive longer even with digital copies often facing the wear of time better than pieces of paper in someone’s garage or attic.

    • It is! I love reading old letters, though you find ‘the’ is replace with ye a lot which can be confusing and some short hands leave a lot of head scratching to cope with.

  4. That connection we feel with people long gone when we hold a piece of the past in our hands is beautifully captured in your story.

    Good luck with your dissertation – it sounds very interesting

    • Thank you, I’ve been debating doing a series of posts about it but I’m still on the fence somewhat. It’s been lovely to hear that so many people feel the same way when presented with the chance to read someone else’s words from a hundred or so years ago.

  5. I love that a clerical error has saved some of her history. The idea of purging someone from history is quite chilling.

  6. I connected so strongly with your character here. Whenever I’m in museums, or looking at old photos or artefacts, I’m thinking exactly that – I wish this person could know that here I am, noticing them, and appreciating that they were once alive. I get overwhelmed with the sadness that lives once lived so richly are now gone, and the only evidence left is this or that little snippet of history. Sorry for gushing – your story got to me.

    • It’s sort of nice to hear that my writing can evoke such emotions or memories of those emotions. It’s also lovely to hear about someone taking such an intrest in history and those who lived it.

  7. shanx says

    Loved the entire concept. The fragile old papers, creaking, to be handled with care, and then the last sentence. Superb! Love for books, reading continues to live on, always 🙂

  8. I love the thought of creaking old paper. I fear this pleasure will be a thing of the past soon – few are taught cursive writing so in a few years, no one will be able to read it! So sad. Well done.

  9. I love reading old letters. They give us a snapshot of the times. A cousin gave me a stack that my grandfather had written and mailed home from California around 1912. Nothing earth-shattering in the text, but a glimpse into what life was like for an 18 yr. old a thousand miles from home.

Please take the time to tell me what you think, I love receiving feedback. :)

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