EASING RESTRICTIONS

Green for Go.

The hustle and bustle. The crowded market.

The anxiety.

Tell yourself they’ve all been vaccinated. Tell yourself the numbers are small.

Faces unmasked. Breathing. Germs. Raw meat. Sweating. Palpitations. Get out.

An open street and space. Relax, everything is normal.

The green signal flashes. Step out onto the road.

The driver doesn’t see their red light.

Blaring horn, loud engine. Make it to the other side.

Get back home. Close the door. Safe space. No danger.

A drink. Water. A couple more Valium.

How many is that today? Can’t remember.

Peaceful slumber. Drift away.

Red. Stop.


Copyright Brenda Cox

Written for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (more details HERE). The idea is to write a short story of 100 words based on the photo prompt (above).

To read stories of 100 words based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.


For the month of April I am taking part in the A-Z blogging challenge, and am posting about my State Trilogy novels each day, including plots, themes, characters and the writing and publishing process. So if you’ve read the books, or haven’t but might be interested in them, I hope it will be of interest to some of you. All the posts published so far can be found HERE.

76 responses to “EASING RESTRICTIONS”

  1. Great use of the colours, Iain

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Neil, was the first thing that jumped out at me.

      Like

  2. “Get back home .. safe space .. no danger ..” exactly my thoughts after the hustle bustle

    Liked by 3 people

    1. We’ll see how much hustle and bustle there is once we get out of lockdown – I won’t be rushing to any crowded places, that’s for sure!

      Like

  3. A fast, furious and colourful tale. Well done, Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Real time anxiety.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Anxious times for so many reasons at the moment.

      Like

  5. Getting back to normal will take some getting used to!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m actually quite relaxed about it, but I have been out and working through it all. For others it will be quite a struggle I’m sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Just as we are coming out of lockdown, I get locked in a medical ward. No Valium for me, but I would like some…🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Take care Michael, hope you get well.

      Like

  7. Dear Iain,

    The anxiety in this well-structured piece is palpable. Well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Some days are like that.
    And then you find your friends were not taking precautions, like quarantining after exposure when dancing to a live band in an enclosed space. And they’re standing right in front of you, eyes wide, mouth open, waving their arms for emphasis.
    Yellow light….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, everyone has to use their best judgement, but I’ve found quite a few people I’ve previously thought sensible do not share my judgement around issues of a pandemic! Thanks Liz

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m breathless after reading this! Know how you feel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Liz, hopefully it will all settle down as we gradually come out of lockdown, but I won’t be rushing to a market place anytime soon!

      Like

  10. Whew! You conveyed such frenetic anxiety, entirely too relatable for so many these days! Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Life these days is deadly business and you capture the glory/horror of it well, Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Let’s hope it gets better at some point.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I think we’re all going to have PTSD for a while even when this is all over.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, I’m not sure we will ever fully get over it.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. It’s going to be a while before I feel comfortable in those kinds of spaces. I was fortunate enough to be able to work from home and have other minimal exposures. This was a wonderful use of the prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Alana – stay safe!

      Like

  14. Great story! That’s exactly how I feel almost every time I leave the house! I substitute chocolate for Valium. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chocolate tastes much better, and probably safer! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. You perfectly describe that dazed feeling so many of us have. I hear you on the behaviour of people we think we know…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Sounds like . . . dare I say it? . . . the new normal in our anxiety-ridden age. And you capture it perfectly. We may just have to all turn into zombies to survive. If that’s survival. Curious to know if the ending is a clue that he/she’s overdosed on valium and is DOA, as it were.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Dora, you were right about the ending, not sure too many picked up on it, but I wanted to hint that there was a definite STOP at the end.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Those colors really do pop, don’t they? I enjoyed your very realistic take on the prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I liked the use of colour, go-stop. Describes the world’s new norma.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. The mental side effects of not only heavy restrictions, but the easing of them as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, a lot of re-adjusting required.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Described things perfectly!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I don’t think it’s going to be as simple as telling everyone they CAN go out. As a ‘shielder’ I remember my first trip to the supermarket in many months as an unpleasant stressful experience. I was in no hurry to do it again. You captured that uneasiness.

    Like

    1. Yes, I think the government and business will be keen to get us back out, and may be surprised that many will be cautious and choose not to rush back. Thanks Sandra.

      Like

  22. What a fabulous piece, Iain. So atmospheric. It describes beautifully the notion of panic and disorientation I experienced when I first saw the prompt. Glad I decided not to go down that route. You’ve done it so well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very kind Jenne, thank you so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Unfortunately, this is way too many people’s reality nowadays. I hope the person in the story hasn’t taken too many Valium. If so, I’m afraid there is also too much of that. Well written.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ‘Too much’ is a good way to describe the modern world, there is too much of everything, and that’s never a good thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Yikes! Scardy cats lead desperate lives!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A lot of scary things out there! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed. Reacting in numbing fear just isn’t the better way to greet it if you want a happy life. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  25. Well crafted story, Iain. Overdosing on Valium wouldn’t be a bad way to go, but what a waste of life! (Your ending was completely clear, btw.) Anxiety disorders can horrid (personal experience), but there are treatments for many people. Hypnotherapy worked wonders for me, for example.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Penny, glad the ending came across. Hope you won’t be too anxious when things start to open up again!

      Like

  26. Somehow that piece seems so real 🤔. I don’t think I ever want to get out of the house.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope it will pass!

      Like

  27. You built the tension so well here, Lain. Loved it! I was right there with him. It does feel oh so very weird to go out and about these days. Just going to the market is a bit like going on a vacation abroad. It’s interesting to see all the “different” products on the shelves that the stores have never carried before.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny what becomes a treat now – taking the car to the garage was a recent highlight for me!

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Wow. I certainly understand this feeling of anxiety and stress. The colours really fit nicely into your tale as do the choppy sentences.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. i think it’s getting to the point where most folks are already experiencing pandemic fatigue. it’s really hard to maintain a positive attitude nowadays.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very hard indeed, we need a bit more hope for the future.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Very creative! And, I related to the feelings of anxiety as I’m sure a lot of people will when lockdown is completely over. I will be avoiding crowds as much as possible in the future even.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wasn’t a big fan of crowds before the pandemic, so I’ll be steering clear as much as possible! Thanks Brenda

      Like

  31. I loved the hectic pace of this piece and his sense of anxiety.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. So well done. I felt the panic. We both went with pandemic…sorta.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorta. Thanks Sascha.

      Like

  33. Love the staccato style, Iain, it helps build the anxiety to fever pitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Thats intense and probably not too far from the truth, everyone is under staters orders in GB right now. Its going to be a massive clusterfuck (probably) see you in lock down next christmas…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is quite amazing how many seem oblivious to what happened before and seem keen to repeat it…

      Liked by 1 person

  35. A beautifully crafted story Iain, clever use of colours, I felt empathy for the narrator.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Clever use of the colours and dare I say the anxiety that comes with our new normal.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Certainly not a relaxing experience!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Might be a long time before we can fully relax in a crowd.

      Liked by 1 person

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