Nighthawk Again

Edward Hopper, Nighthawks, 1942

Now what?

As Julia shook herself from those bleak memories of occupied Paris, she considered what she knew. Not much. Maybe it had been a crazy idea to return to France, but there was no paper trail—only memories to guide her.

Think. What is crucial to finding the way? Is this? “There is no beginning or end to the story—time circles,” an old woman with jade green eyes in a war-weathered face had told her. She was one of thousands of refugees streaming back into post-war Paris.

Julia sighs. What is she missing? She needs the one puzzle piece that will let her see the entire picture. And somehow Paul, and her relationship with him is the key.

If there is no beginning or end, she needs to work from the middle. She needs to become Night Hawk again.

Perhaps this one doesn’t work as flash fiction, but. . .more on my non-linear make-it-up-as-I-go spy story. This is for Prosery on dVerse, where I’m hosting today using the line: “Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end.”
From Jo Harjo’s “A Map to the Next World.”

76 thoughts on “Nighthawk Again

  1. Those “jade green eyes in a war-weathered face,” ..speak volumes! I like the idea of working from the middle. This is such a stunning, stunning piece of prose, Merril! 💝💝

  2. Great make it up as you go story! I’m recently reading a book in the time period of WWII, so it was even timely!!

  3. Have always loved Hopper’s work and recognized it right away before even seeing his name beneath it. It fits well with the fiction you’ve developed here. I think the line works very well in a spy setting…..Becoming Night Hawk again….code name no doubt. The trail for a spy is many times not linear…so this line works perfectly here. Well done!

  4. Merril,
    You’ve definitely peaked my interest in your spy story. One crucial clue left to finding Paul? And that the old woman is at the center of it is mysterious and fascinating.
    Pax,
    Dora

  5. I remember using this painting as a prompt for my college composition students. The best could produce decent flash fiction. Hopper had no idea the inspiration his work has sparked, including your piece here. Thanks, Merril!

  6. I love reading episodes from your spy story Merril, and you’ve worked in the prompt very cleverly so it does not look like a line of poetry. I found this too hard so I put mine at the end! I look forward to the next episode…

  7. Thanks so much for a neat challenge … I’ve just begun reading “The German Girl” … hoping it is as intriguing as your Night Hawk. And Hopper never fails to satisfy!!!

    • Thank you so much, Helen. I’m so pleased you enjoyed my story and challenge.
      The St. Louis journey haunts me sometimes. I wrote a poem based on it. There’s an account on Twitter called the St. Louis Manifest that tweets stories of people on that voyage.

  8. kaykuala

    she needs to work from the middle.
    She needs to become Night Hawk again

    Love the closing, Merril! It is so apt in continuity and keeping the ‘spy thriller ‘stance to keep on going.

    Hank

  9. Another great flash prompt-responded fiction, Merril. “There is no beginning or end to the story.” is so true for writers and for readers and for LIFE. Finding the middle is a perfect idea for Julia. Such fun….

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