The minister finished the eulogy. Quiet, soft piano music faded up and filled the hush. A low electronic hum started, the wheels of the conveyor gradually turning.

He was supposed to have protected him. That was his job, to be the rock, the guardian against all that the world could throw at them. He had failed.

He stood up and managed to control his shaking legs. He could hear the whispers and pitiful mutterings behind him as he stepped forward.

He placed a hand on the small coffin. He tried to comprehend that he would never feel that soft skin again, never experience that childish glee, never see that shining smile.

The tears came, a miserable sob. One last embrace, one last kiss, one last walk with his son’s tiny hand held in his rough palm.

The wooden box began to move along the belt, doors opened as it approached. He turned away, unable to face the other mourners, unable to face his family.

Taking the most precious part of him with them, the doors closed with an abrupt clunk.

He sat up. The sunlight dazzled him. The same nightmare again. When would it stop? It was over, he had done his job.

Across the grassy field on the clifftop he heard his son laughing, calling on him to come and play with him. He had dosed off in the warm sun. A group of walkers passed by with a friendly nod and a smile.

Below the waves lapped against the rocks, the world was returning to normal.

Copyright Sue Vincent

This is a response to the #writephoto Prompt: Guardian curated over at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. Click on the link to read other stories inspired by the image.

STATE OF WAR squrere

My new novel, ‘State Of War’, is now available in both paperback and ebook. Follow the links below to check it out!

STATE OF WAR – Available now in Paperback and eBook:







Links to the first two parts of the trilogy – A Justified State and State Of Denial – can be found here: AVAILABLE NOW

32 responses to “THE GUARDIAN”

  1. A wake up call maybe ? Great feel to the story Iain 💜

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome 😇

        Liked by 1 person

  2. So moving and I was so glad it was just a dream!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A happy ending this week 🙂


      1. Yes! Thank you! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. An interesting dream, Iain. Glad the son was okay.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such nightmares haunt many parents… this was very moving, Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sue, glad you liked it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A very powerful story! Very happy it was only a dream.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The sun is shining, lockdown is easing – it’s a happy ending this week!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A warning maybe Iain? Open to a lot of different interpretations.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m happy that this was just a dream, Iain. There’s nothing worse or more painful than losing a child.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A happy ending this week 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What a moving dream, great that it was just a dream.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A very moving story. I’m glad that it was just a dream

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you – me too!


  10. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by and the reblog 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Iain. You have captured a parent’s worst nightmare very well. If I was having such a recurring nightmare, I would try to stay awake all the time. Very tense.

    Liked by 1 person

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