Flash Friday Fiction

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Photo courtesy of Renee Heath

Steganography is the art and science of writing hidden messages in such a way that no one, apart from the sender and intended recipient, suspects the existence of the message, a form of security through obscurity. The word steganography is of Greek origin and means “concealed writing” from the Greek words steganos (στεγανός) meaning “covered or protected”, and graphei (γραφή) meaning “writing”.

The advantage of steganography is that messages do not attract attention to themselves. Where cryptography protects the contents of a message, steganography can be said to protect both messages and communicating parties.

Word Count: 99

In Plain Sight

As a kid, he dreamed of being an international spy – to be James Bond.  Now he dealt with casualties of terrorism at a local level.  His job was to try to predict the next attack.  Clues were hidden in plain sight, on bulletin boards, on shop signs, in classified ads. Interpreting these in time meant the next target might be spared.

Once identified, the clues were easy to see.  In fact, now he couldn’t miss them. Everything looked suspicious to him.

Looking at the bodies in the smoking rubble, he knew he’d never see the world the same again.

Please check out the links to all the other Flash Friday Fictioneers, which can be found here.

18 thoughts on “Flash Friday Fiction

  1. This is the downside to being a spy for sure – I doubt they can ever switch that off – a really unique take on this week’s prompt. I read it a few times. Good scene setting.

  2. My aunt used to be a court stenographer for a number of years, and I remember listening to a fascinating programme on the radio about the art and science of this skill, not so long ago. I agree with neenslewy – once you get involved in the spying game, I think it should be very hard to ‘put it down’. A great and unusual take on this week’s photo prompt!

  3. Dear Erin,

    I loved your intro so very much and was waiting to see what you had divined from the letters in the signs on the windows and on the buildings. Your story had me going, ready to be enlightened and then the ending fell flat (for me) even though it was obviously supposed to pack a punch. There was a disconnect between the intro and the lead up and your conclusion. If I’m wrong or have misread it, please forgive me. I thought this story was very cool up until the very end. (Now I feel bad for laying this on you, but I thought you’d like an honest read on the read.)

    Aloha,

    Doug

    • Dear Doug,

      My first reaction was to rewrite the ending – or consider how it could be different because I value your feedback and perspective. The interesting thing is that I started with the end in mind. I had this guy who was feeling powerless after missing the clues that were present and the line “He’d never look at the world the same again” was what prompted all of the rest. To me, that was the real message – he can’t see the world as normal people do because of his training and after seeing the disaster, his innocence was lost.

      I do think it was an abrupt switch – and I think if I had maybe 50 more words, I could have made the transition a litle more neat. However, you know how Rochelle is about the rules!!! 🙂

      You are a reader that I strive to please and I completely appreciate your honest feedback on how this felt for you. Thank you for the time you took both reading it and commenting – and if I can come up with another way to end it that is a little more clever (like reading a clue in the tutu of the person (man or woman, I’m still not sure!) across the street, then I would have a story that would be truly one of a kind.

      Thanks again –
      Erin

    • As always, I miss the real dialogue in the FF land. I am just now catching up on the concrit controversy you started. 🙂 I am lucky if I get a piece written, posted and read a handful by Friday. I do try to provide careful feedback and I listen to the feedback I receive. That is the real value of this group to me. I have taken the chicken path by not being more open if I don’t think something is working – but sometimes it’s a time thing as well. I know I have offended one or two people unintentionally. It’s a hazard of being in a group like this, I suppose. My skin is thick, my ego is small – I just enjoy writing and I hope that there are readers out there who don’t mind reading my stuff. I’m simple that way. And I hope you read mine once in a while – I like your encouragement as well as your concrit! It is all good.

  4. Like Doug, I guess I expected a different ending. Our hero got punched in the gut. Maybe he’ll learn enough from this experience to avert future instances of violence.

    • Yes – now that I’ve reread it after Doug’s comment, I can see how it takes a turn for the worse. I have pondered several other endings but so far, nothing that is making the cut. I will try for a happier tone next time!! 🙂

  5. I absolutely adore your take on this. (And the added information on steganography!) In particular, I love how neatly you flipped everything around in only 99 words — from the youthful dream of wanting to be James Bond, to bodies in the smoking rubble. The contrast packs such a punch.

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