Echo Hall

By Virginia Moffatt

Three generations of women experience love, loss and conflict in times of war

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Flash Fiction Marathon (5): Vote Leave

To celebrate National Flash Fiction Day next Saturday (25th June). I am taking story prompts people send me and turning them into stories, publishing one a day.

Thank you Wendy Tuohy for prompt number 5: A brother comes home from living abroad for many years. He is staying with his sister but won't come out of his room. Meanwhile his wife and family are in Brazil.

Vote Leave

Marcus sits in Alice’s spare bedroom looking at the ‘Vote Leave’ poster on the wall. He supposes he owes her an explanation, but he doesn’t much feel like offering one.

There is a knock on the door. Mum. Thanks Alice, that’s all he needs. But he knows better than to try and sit it out. He open the door and lets her in.

‘What on earth is going on?’ she says plonking herself on the bed, without invitation, followed by ‘You look terrible.’

‘Thanks for nothing.’ But he probably does.

‘Alice said Bianca’s gone back to Brazil.’


‘You wouldn’t understand.’

‘I’m your mother, try me.’ For a moment, he thinks of resisting but he knows it is useless. He takes a deep breath.

‘Remember the summer we left?’

‘Of course.’

‘Team GB inspiring a generation. Gold medals everywhere you looked.’

‘I remember.’

 ‘That’s  Dan and Wendy’s memories of England. They’ve been back since of course, but holidays don’t count. In their imagination it was all sunshine, Jessica Ennis, Boris Johnson doing the MoBot. They couldn’t wait to return.

And then...our plane was diverted to Stansted so we were late arriving. Worse the train was full of drunken football fans.  At first they ignored us. But soon the insults started, ‘fucking foreigners’  being the least offensive. By the time we reached London, they were chanting ‘Brexit, Brexit’ and ‘Give us our country back’. We couldn’t get out of the carriage fast enough.  The kids were crying,  we were all crying as we jumped in the cab.  But it was everywhere. The cab driver with his digs about immigrants, the news channels full of politicians out Trumping Trump. And we wondered what possessed us to leave Brazil.

‘I understand. But it was only a few yobs. Some stupid MPs.  We’re not all like that.’

He notices the ‘Leave.Eu’ badge on her lapel, and suddenly he is furious, ‘You’ve never had to worry about the colour of your skin.’

 ‘All right. I empathise.’

‘No you don’t.  You never appreciated how hard it was for Bianca when she first came over. The crap she went through for me.  She doesn’t want to go through that again.  She shouldn’t have to.  Nor should the kids. So they’ve gone back home.’

‘For good?’


‘And you?’

‘I’m committed to the job for six months, and then I’ll go back.’

‘But what about me?’

‘You can come and visit.’

‘That’s not the same as having my son and grandchildren close by.’

‘Tough,’ he stands up to indicate he wants her to depart. ‘We’ve made our mind up and we’re voting leave. After all that’s what you wanted...wasn’t it?’


Thanks Wendy for giving me a real  life story to mess around with. Hope it's not too on the nose.

If you'd like to give me a prompt leave one below or on my Facebook page (Virginia Moffatt)

To find out more about National Flash Fiction Day please visit their website

The National Flash Fiction Day anthology 'A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed' is now on sale.

On Saturday 25th June I will be Writer in Residence at The Albion Beatnik Bookstore, 34, Walton Street, Oxford. Come down between 12-4, buy a book and order a piece of flash fiction while you're at it. All welcome.


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