The End of Childhood




“Don’t worry, Molly,” the boy said, as his small, pudgy hand went around her shoulder. “Father said the war will be over just like that.” He tried to snap his fingers. “He’s fighting those bad men, but yesterday, Mother said he’ll be home soon. Maybe even tomorrow!”

“No,” Molly said. Her blue eyes in a face identical to his, filled with tears. “Last night, I had that dream again, but this time I know it was real.”

They heard the knock at the door. A telegram for their mother. An awful howling cry from the parlor. Father would not be coming home tomorrow, soon, or ever.


This is in response to Jane Dougherty’s Micro-Fiction Challenge #1: Childhood 

The story was supposed to be 200 words or under. Mine is 106. The prompt was the portrait above, and we could also use the word “yesterday.”


Image: Portrait of the Frommknecht Siblings, Alwin Arnegger,

Source: The Athenaeum


26 thoughts on “The End of Childhood

  1. Such a lot on 106 words! Sad and well-observed. One technical point I’d work out though is the telegram. The story is in the child’s point of view. She hears a knock at the door and her mother howl, but how does she know it’s a telegram? The kind of comment editors make. You have to say she knew what that knock on the door meant, or she saw the delivery boy through the window run back to his bicycle, or something.

  2. Children losing their family members in war, is definitely a sad subject, Merril. The photo of the painting does evoke a sense of forlorn and loneliness.
    Remembering my dad who we like to tease or smile when we see the night sky with a falling star saying, “There goes Dad rearranging the stars.” I sent message to my son, two brothers and uncle who are all either fathers or teachers. Son, Jamie, got mundane gifts of work shoes and a new shirt. Hope your day is pleasant, Merril. ❤

    • That’s a sweet sentiment–your dad rearranging the stars. 🙂 Hope you had a wonderful day, too. My husband and I finally went to the beach for a few hours today for Father’s Day.

      • Isn’t it funny, Merril? You spent Father’s Day on Ocean City, NJ and you also watched the film. 🙂
        The painting I featured today was a beach scene for summer’s beginning. I planned a few different art pieces coming up in the next few weeks. I am happy for my single brother who has found a great space of three floors, where he can have a first floor shop and a dry basement to create more artwork and sculptures. A garage door which rolls up, so he can pull his van around to take things out to deliver. While the second floor is decorated with more art in sitting, living and sleeping areas. Mom, my grandson and I got a “preview” and his art gallery opening was Sunday, June 12, 2016.

  3. Pingback: Microfiction challenge Childhood: the entries – Jane Dougherty Writes

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