Foxy Lady: 99 Word Flash Fiction

At long last, time for some Flash Fiction! Charli’s Flash Fiction prompt this week asks us to write about ‘an old mystery in the current time.’  Now, I love a good mystery.  Enid Blyton has a great deal to do with that: with titles like ‘The Mystery of the Missing Necklace’, ‘The Disappearing Cat’ and, my favourite, ‘The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage’, I spent many a night as a girl reading in bed long after I should have been asleep.

But what is more mysterious than a walk through an ancient wood, and the stories it brings to mind?  A walk at the weekend through Duncliffe Wood in Dorset inspired me for this week’s flash, as always, 99 words, no more, no less. I hope you enjoy it:

Duncliffe Wood, Dorset, England May 2015 (c) Sherri Matthews

Duncliffe Wood, Dorset, England May 2015
(c) Sherri Matthews

Foxy Lady

Rumours of a naked, red-headed woman living in the woods were rife amongst the locals at The Wooden Dog.

“I’ve seen her,” said Jim, gulping his ale. “Twice.”

“Probably George’s missus,” mumbled Burt.

“No -I heard she ran off with that toy-boy of hers to Spain.”

George spent his nights stumbling through the woods, half-crazed with desire for his long-absent wife.

And then, at last, bathed in moonlight, she came to him.

“Hello George,” she smiled, as she plunged a knife deep into his heart.

A vixen’s screams filled the air, awakening every villager. George’s body was never found.

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
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109 Responses to Foxy Lady: 99 Word Flash Fiction

  1. mumblypeg says:

    Spooky!!!

    Like

  2. Superb!
    That’s it! I’ve been holding back, especially with this last prompt, and I don’t know why. You have inspired me, lady. ❤ No more! The monsters must come forth and show themselves. Therein lies a good story.

    Like

  3. Sherri, you really would make the best mystery writer, I just love this flash 😎

    Like

  4. jennypellett says:

    The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage, I remember that, even the cover. Bought for 2/6 old money at the local bookshop. Fatty as always solved the mystery and the stupid policeman had egg on his face again – what was he called – Goon, was it? I had loads of her books as well as horsey ones – what a memory, Sherri.
    Oh, and your flash is pretty good too! Haha!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh yes, me too Jenny! I loved that book so much. Haha…yes, Goon! I loved her books about pixies and fairies and toadstools, all the woodland folk, not so much into the horsey stories (although, like so many girls, I went through the wanting my own pony stage and adored horse-riding when older). We have much to thank EB for don’t we? And glad you liked the flash…within the 99 words I have a shape-shifting kind of a thing going on, thanks to some magical mystery in those dark woods. The morale, of course: watch out villagers, the fox is on the loose 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Anything with trees, Sherri, with woods at nighttime and strange floating sounds, is my kind of story. I checked out every mystery in the children’s library, and the librarian would see me coming and tell me which books of stories had dark wooded areas in them. I was so predictable.
    Poor George. I somehow wished the wife’s boy-toy had gotten stabbed by mistake. 😉

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh you and me both Marylin, love it! What a great librarian you had. I would have been after those very same books too 😉 As for George, well, all I will say is that as a mystery, all is not quite as it seems.. 😉

      Like

  6. Dear Heaven – I read all those books! Like Jenny I can remember the pictures on the jackets, the size, feel and smell of the book – mine were used copies…… But not the story any more alas, those have all melted away with time and the sheer volume of EB books that were devoured back then. Your 99 word imagination scares me! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Pauline, I remember my old EB paperbacks too, probably second-hand too, I can’t remember (remind me to ask Mum!). I think mine went the same way as yours sadly. And sorry this flash scared you…but remember, foxes are so beautiful and since this is a mystery, all is not as it seems… 😉

      Like

  7. Sue says:

    Wow! Some dark fantasy here, Sherri!

    Like

  8. You give Agatha Christie a run for her money, Sherri. During your 99 words, I gnawed my fingernails to the quick. Truth be told, I started gnawing when I saw the photo. 🙂 I’m a big chicken! Great job! xoxo

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Haha…well, I’m not so sure about that Jill, but thank you very much!! I edited the photo to make it more spooky as it was taken in the day, so that was a bit of fun too! Hope I didn’t scare you too much 😮 🙂 xoxox

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Heyjude says:

    Shivers down the spine Sherri!

    And another EB fan here 🙂 She has a lot to answer for…

    Like

  10. I didn’t anticipate that ending but as always, you leave me wanting more. LOVE the photo! 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh thank you Lilka, so glad to hear that, love that you enjoy these FF’s….and glad you like the photo too, I had a little editing fun with it to make it more spooky 🙂

      Like

  11. Well, that was an unexpected turn. Loved this story. A bad women always picks a vulnerable man. Well done!

    Like

  12. Amy says:

    Very much unexpected… Beautiful photo, Sherri. Love the lighting you captured.

    Like

  13. Charli Mills says:

    That’s a hauntingly good mystery! Great inclusion of the bar-talk to make it all seem plausible. And the ambiguity of “she came to him.” The foxy lady could be his long lost wife, or not!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ha! Well, I thank you so much Charli, and you do a fantastic job of reading between the lines as always…and we all know how blurred those lines between mystery and the truth can be 😉

      Like

  14. Pingback: Old Mysteries « Carrot Ranch Communications

  15. mj6969 says:

    Amazing “mystery story” – so very well told – and fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. ooh…….very interesting and you left me wanting more!!! Beautiful spooky enchanted photo of the forest. Loved it!!!!! xoxo ❤

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Think I might have to write more about this one, ha!! I did a little editing of my photo for the spooky effects with the dark blurring around the edges, glad it had the desired effect, and thrilled you enjoyed it, thanks so much Diane! We do love our mysteries don’t we? 😉 ❤ xoxo

      Like

  17. Loved Enid Blyton, Loved your photo and loved your story. You hooked me right from the start with “rumours of a naked red-headed lady…” and I couldn’t stop reading the gossip in the pub and then the awful events as the foxy lady plunged in her dagger.It was good you left it to our imagination as to who or what this lady was. Great mystery. ❤ 🙂 I think you could have a career here when your memoir is completed.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh yes, a few EB fans here it seems Irene! And of course, I’m thrilled you enjoyed the FF and the photo too, thanks so much 🙂 The photo has a touch of editing for the spookier effect. But I’m delighted to know that the story hooked you from the start, woo hoo! I’m so grateful for your feedback about leaving the conclusion to the reader’s imagination, as I struggled a bit, I admit, wanting to try and bring in the red-headed lady really being a fox (shape-shifting thing going on,in those mystical woods) but within the word constraint I hoped it would work to leave it as it was, and of course the mystery over George’s body. Oh isn’t this fun 😀 And goodness Irene, you are so kind, wow, well, let’s see. I know one thing, like you, I am so enjoying writing FF. Yay for Charli’s superb prompts 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Love the evil woman theme going on between us, Sherri. I think women always make the best baddies in movies, books and short stories.

    Great ending. Scary stuff that set my hairs on end.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Haha…yes, actually, that’s true right now isn’t it!!! Thrilled you enjoyed it Hugh…even better that it scared you, since you’ve scared me a few times as you know! And did you notice the name of one of the Enid Blyton books I used to read…’The Disappearing Cat’? I thought of you for some strange reason 😉

      Like

      • I only ever read Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven books, Sherri. I was a huge fan of them and read them all several times. I didn’t read any of her other books for some reason, probably because I was not a huge fan of reading because of my dyslexia. However, I loved the Secret Seven books and didn’t really know of her other books apart from the Famous Five ones.

        So thrilled that “The Disappearing Cat” reminded you of me. I think I can probably work out why. Something to do with teeth…I think 🙂

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        I loved the Secret Seven books too Hugh! I think the ones I mentioned here are from the Famous Five series. EB charmed an entire generation with her books, no doubt about it! So sorry you have struggled with dyslexia, but how wonderful that you are writing now. My daughter has the maths version called dyscalculia and struggles with telling the time and knowing her left from right. But she is a computer whizz, no doubt about that!
        Haha…yes Hugh, teeth did come to mind for some strange reason 😉

        Like

  19. Such good number of awards I had not seen in any of the Blogs.
    Its really great.
    I liked your Blog and the About.
    I am scared if I will be lost in your such a big following.
    I am rather afraid to invite you, to visit my Blog.
    Hope to visit you sometime.
    Shiva

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Shiva! Thank you very much for visiting my blog and for your likes and lovely comment. The Summerhouse is always open with a warm welcome and I sincerely hope you will visit again. There is no way you will get lost here 🙂 And I look forward to visiting your blog too. Have a lovely day, it’s lovely to meet you ~ Sherri 🙂

      Like

  20. Gwen Stephens says:

    Nice, Sherri. Love the photo, too!

    Like

  21. Ah, I do love your flash fiction stories Sherri! Such intrigue 😉

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Heather, and I love that you love them, even when I go down a bit of a dark path. A bit of fun with some mystery…after all, who is the ‘Foxy Lady’ really? And what did happen to George’s body? Hmmmmm….. 😉

      Like

  22. kalpana solsi says:

    woaaaa. hauntingly scary.

    Like

  23. TanGental says:

    I was going to take Dog for a walk in the woods, but I think the park today… Nicely handled in a gross, over the top Hammer Horror kind of way! Vixen screams indeed!

    Like

  24. Uh oh, Sherri! I used to dye my hair reddish-brown, and my husband’s name is George! Great story.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh no!!! I should do a disclaimer that any likeness to names or otherwise is completely unintentional!!! So glad you enjoyed this bit of fun, thanks so much Patsy, be in touch soon 🙂

      Like

  25. restlessjo says:

    Great photo but I’m not going NEAR those woods, Sherri! I think I was less scared by Enid Blyton 🙂

    Like

  26. Blood-curdling and chilling. Terrific story-telling, Sherri. You knocked this out of the park! ❤ ❤
    😀

    Like

  27. Rachel M says:

    Oh dear poor George! Perfect photo for the story and when are you writing the screenplay?

    Like

  28. prior says:

    ok – so you completely caught me off guard with the ending – even tho I should have known (with the theme) but it was succinct and good mon amie.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh good, love it when that happens! Had a shape-shfting thing going on here, lol! Glad you enjoyed it albeit it a little dark, thanks so much mon amie 🙂

      Like

  29. Seyi sandra says:

    Now that’s what I call a bam! You nailed it Sherry, I wasn’t expecting the ending!! It was too good and too short. I wonder if I should join this flash writing… No time. Love, love, love it!!! I hope you’ll write stories like this often.
    Much love from your friend. 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Haha! Well, that’s great Seyi, thank you so much, wow, high praise indeed! Writing memoir, creative non-fiction and poetry has always been where I feel most comfortable; I froze at the thought of writing fiction. But then I discovered a love of writing Flash, finding that it helps me let loose with stories I never thought were there, unleashing a different kind of creativity. I’m thrilled you enjoy reading them, and I hope to keep writing them more again too. It’s frustrating though, I know just what you mean…so much writing, so little time :/ Much love to you too my friend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  30. I’m not going to read that story to my dog, or she’ll start chasing redheads as well as foxes! That end to your story is brilliant, Sherri, as I can’t decide whether George was drunk and just met with an accident (to then get gobbled up by the vixen). Or he met a shapeshifter variously posing as his wife or a vixen. Or whether the vixen attacked him, killed him, and gobbled him up.
    PS I loved Enid Blyton, too, although I don’t remember anything quite as scary in it. My favourite novels of hers were the ones in the Adventure Stories series.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Haha! Oh Sarah, you crack me! The vision I have right now of naked redheads running across the Sussex Downs with your dog chasing them, a few foxes in tow, has me in stitches 😀 I’m delighted that you enjoyed this story, thank you so much. I love all your ideas as to what really happened. Definitely in my mind a shape-shifting thing going on, the woman really a vixen but possibly with designs of pursuading George to join the pack.,,but he was in a bit of a state, so who knows what really happened to his body in the end? Oh the beauty of flash fiction and all the possibilities! And yes, loved Enid Blyton’s adventure stories too. Hopefully she understands that escaping down this darker writing path is no reflection on her wonderful childrens’ stories 😉 xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Some children’s fiction is very dark these days. Perhaps Enid Blyton would have got away with slipping more darkness in, if writing for modern youngsters. How things have changed, Sherri. I’ve heard that the poor woman is not considered politically correct reading now in schools, due to her stereotyping of the two genders D:

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        Ahh…things certainly have changed Sarah, in so many ways…

        Like

  31. Ste J says:

    I love the Mystery of the Burnt Cottage, I first read it in my 20’s and then went and picked up the whole series on the back of it, great stuff.

    What a delightfully macabre story you have going on there, I enjoyed it because I am a fan of trees and not for any mentioning of naked and revengeful type ladies.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh I love that Ste, Mystery of the Burnt Cottage is brilliant isn’t it? I devoured EB’s mysteries for years. Love that you read them in your 20s! Just goes to show how great her stories are. Haha! Well, I’m delighted you enjoyed this darker tale for the trees, thanks so much. I did think it best to show a photo of the woods rather than, well, the rest… 😉

      Like

      • Ste J says:

        I’m sure a different photo may have upped your hits somewhat but best to keep it classy.
        Enid Blyton may write many books that have a lot of similar themes but there is something of nostalgia contained in her books. It’s getting the weather to read them now as well which helps when you’re a method reader.

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        LOL 😀 And probably get banned from WP afterwards!
        Yes, got to have the right weather for these kinds of books and like you, I love all that nostalgia…

        Like

  32. Enid Blyton’s books were among my favourites while growing up. I love your storytelling style, Sherri. This one really got my blood pumping. Mystery and horror, all in one!

    Like

  33. Oooh…..how bloodthirsty you are, Sherri! 😯 Love your photo, but I definitely wouldn’t go there at night. Poor George. 😦 xx

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Haha 😀 Oh Sylvia, this story came to me while walking through the woods, but the ending changed as I wrote it! Duncliffe Woods are actually beautiful and lovely to walk through, but I think I’ve put more than a few off from ever going there, ha! Some editing on the photo gave it a spookier look, so I’m thrilled you like it. And remember, this is a mystery, and we don’t really know what happened to George… 😮 😉 🙂 Thanks so much for popping over during your travels, hope you are feeling better 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Eerie, but my sympathies are with the woman 🙂 This is like a modern fairy tale Sherri with the shape-shifting woman in the woods – I do love a tale about shape-shifting.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Letizia says:

    Goodness, I was not expecting the end of this story at all, haha! I just know I will be thinking of this next time I’m deep in the woods too!! 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Haha 😀 Truth be told Letizia, I wasn’t expecting that ending either! It never fails to amaze me what happens with a 99 word constraint! Hope you won’t be too scared though… 😮

      Liked by 1 person

  36. Norah says:

    I’m not sure I like this naked vixen having red hair!! It is a great, scary story though. Well done, Sherri.

    Like

  37. Intense and scary! Irresistible story my friend.

    Like

  38. Scary. Scenic. Interesting. But I wish she hadn’t killed him. Why did she kill him?

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Well, that’s a very good question Tracy! I had a few different ways to go with this story and in the end (and bearing in mind the 99 word constraint) I went with a shape-shifting kind of a thing, with George actually becoming a fox too in the end. Left up to the reader though, as there could be other possibilities…all part of the magical mystery of the deep, dark woods 😮 Thanks for reading!!

      Liked by 1 person

  39. Creepy! I love a good mystery too.

    Like

  40. Sherri I m glad I read this in the daytime. I love how a scene can fire up the imagination. Keep writing friend.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      I’m glad I wrote it in the daytime too! This took me in a few different directions, and in the end this was the what happened. Amazing isn’t it what happens with one photograph and 99 words. Thanks so much for reading Kath!

      Liked by 1 person

  41. Marie Keates says:

    Chilling. Love the photo though

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks Marie, glad you enjoyed the photo even if the story was a bit chilling! Sorry I haven’t been over to you yet, I’ll explain in a blog post, hopefully later this evening, but I’ve had to send my new laptop back to the manufacturer. Long story, but it’s been utterly frustrating for ages now. So I’m back to my old one in the meanwhile, but it’s soooooo slow with loading pages. I’ll do my best though, so just to say, I haven’t forgotten!!!

      Like

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