X Marks the Spot

Alastair’s Photo Fiction Sunday hosts this 150 word Flash Fiction Challenge.

A unique thing here is that Alastair takes the photos used in the challenge.  Please see the copyright notice at the bottom of this page.

The rules are simple: The story must include the photo-prompt with the word count not to exceed 150.


17 07 July 21st 2013

X Marks the Spot

She had met him in Amsterdam the summer before university.

Xander was brilliant, artistic, rebellious–her playful rogue.  He would “tag” everything with a big red marker–an unmistakable frenetic X.

They fell in love as only the young do.

Their summer ended, and promises were made, but youth, and everything that defines it, somehow made one forget.

She’d linger in the fading glow of the aging memory sometimes, but even that passed.

Then years later, as she was exiting the tube, she saw it, as bold as it was beautiful; a big red freshly-tagged X.

For weeks she had come with her pencils and pad, and sketched and waited, and hoped.

Finally she saw him.  No need to second guess; he was in flesh before her just as he had always been in her heart.

He saw her.  Without a moment’s hesitation he gave the most joyous smile.





Word Count: 150



Photograph Copyright Notice

© Alastair Forbes and Alastair’s Blog, 2010-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alastair Forbes and Alastair’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

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  1. Mangsgirl.

     /  January 30, 2014

    You use the name “Cynthia”in this story and in Damn the Dorsal. Interesting. Wish I could have seen the photo prompt but it didn’t load on my iPad.

    • Christopher Shawbell

       /  February 8, 2014

      It is a shot of a subway waiting platform. Pretty simple.

  2. This is a sweet story, Christopher. I love how you used the simple symbol of the bright red X to carry timeless meaning. I’m a sucker for romance, so I love the reuniting at the end! Great work!

    • Christopher Shawbell

       /  July 24, 2013

      Thanks, Leanne. I’ll do more “light” stuff, I promise.

      • Haha! Go with whatever feels natural for the stories. You do a great job at both dark/creepy and sweet/heartwarming.

  3. Great story! I like the idea of the big red X on the subway walls.

    • Christopher Shawbell

       /  July 24, 2013

      Thanks you, Gabriella. I like the idea too … the idea that something beautiful could be found down there.
      See you on the next challenge!

  4. That is a wonderful story. 🙂

    • Christopher Shawbell

       /  July 23, 2013

      Thank you, Alastair. I have been writing some rather dark pieces lately, and I wanted to shed a little light on the graveyard for a change. I really liked the simplicity of the photo combined with the brevity of the piece. I understand there is flexibility in your challenge for word count, but I am a stickler; I don’t feel it’s an exercise for me if I don’t have to stretch.
      I’m glad I found your blog, and I look forward to joining you all again. It was fun.



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