Flash Fiction Challenge ‘The House’ by Jane Gilheaney Barry

So are you all enjoying the Flash Fiction challenge as much as I am?  I love the fact that each piece is so different.  To make sure that you don’t miss anything hit the ‘Follow’ tab on the right hand side bar.  And if you need to play catch up on the series so far, you can do so here :-


Did you know that the first short stories were published as early as the 17th Century. Some famous writers who excelled at the art of story telling are Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, Agatha Christie and Virginia Woolf.  In Ireland our very own James Joyce published ‘Dubliners’ in 1914, a collection of stories about the inhabitants of his beloved city. For many these short stories are much easier to read than his novels. Come on own up, who has actually read Ulysses? If you have, I tip my imaginary hat to you. 

And here’s another bit of useless information for you all, in some countries, like China, short stories are called ‘smokelongs’.  In other words, you should be able to read the story in the same length of time it takes to smoke a cigarette.  

I like the term Flash Fiction though.  And here’s a wonderful example from an online friend of mine Jane Gilheaney Barry.  We have become friends through our love of writing and this is her first attempt at flash fiction.  It’s a lovely example and a clever idea for a short piece.  Enjoy!  

The House


By  Jane Gilheaney Barry

The house unchanged was just as she’d remembered. To see the house was good, unlike the town it had always been a haven. A place of freedom and free expression, a place of learning and safe keeping, for hiding, for time biding, for secrets…

It gave an impression of being in the sky not on the mountainside. Even standing beside it to look at it was to look up. It held its back to the mountain as if set into its walls and standing at the front door you could see the town about ten steep miles down a sweep of green and fields, of dark forests and golden whin. As a child she’d often thought to fall and her aunt borrowing and changing words from Tennyson as she went would say…

‘She clasps the crag with crooked hands; Close to the sun in lonely lands, ring’d with the azure world, she stands. The wrinkled road beneath her crawls; she watches from her mountain walls, And like a thunderbolt she falls.’

It had been standing for a hundred years and on the same spot a house had stood for hundreds of years before. The site had been carefully chosen or pre-destined. A mountain stream and well, a rowan tree beside. With all its points, chimneys and windows it had a curious air of complication. Even those who knew its insides would find it hard to place everything, to say exactly what windows went with what rooms. To add to the foreboding there were straight steep steps up to the door. They didn’t invite the visitor. You’d have to be in great need to come knocking and with good reason.

Over the years subsequent generations had added new parts, new extensions. Life was hard here. They always had to think survival, self sufficiency and protection but inside the cornucopia of rooms large and small offered many warm comforts and surprising delights. It had to serve many purposes beyond that of a normal house. For generations it had kept people safe within its walls while keeping dangers out…



Jane Gilheaney Barry lives in Co Leitrim with husband Adrian and three children, Shaylyn 17, Saoirse 4 and Sadhbh, 20 months. A former model and pr consultant in 2000 she established The Shaylyn Group Irish Dance & Music Company in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim before going on to set up a dedicated Traditional Performing Arts Centre from where she designed and delivered a series of ground breaking arts and community based projects. Jane has many passions that can be somewhat summed up by a dedication to mindful, creative and elevated living. She blogs atwww.thatcuriousloveofgreen.com or find her on facebook atwww.facebook.com/thatcuriousloveofgreen



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