Flash Fiction / Short Story – “A Family of Marionettes”

Hello dear friends and avid readers of this realm.

I have submitted another story to a competition and received the most wonderful feedback.

This has now made me very excited to share this piece of Flash Fiction/Short Story with you all.

I’ve included the comment below but feel free to shower me with your own at your convenience – hope you enjoy it!

Magic (1978 film) - courtesy of 20th Century Fox

(Pic courtesy of the film “Magic” with Sir Anthony Hopkins / 20th Century Fox)


“A Family of Marionettes” by David Ellis

You know that feeling when your mouth runs away with you? That there’s another entity piloting the mothership and all you can do is simply go along for the ride? Well, that happens to me all the time.

I try to apply a filter, shut off what shouldn’t be there, in an unforgiving and viciously scrutinising society where one false step can be make or break in an industrious career. There’s something or someone living vicariously through me, taking liberties at my own expense, with no cares in the world and he’s got no brakes.

I once tried to cut him off, give him a season pass to a show at the bottom of a bottle but he rose up again, a phoenix from the dregs, dusting himself off and putting himself back as the centre of attention.

It would appear that he cannot be killed by conventional weapons, a vampire leeching off of my soul with no agenda other than to show that I’m an off kilter roller coaster with no disregard for my own goals.

My father once trod this very same path, when he too couldn’t contain himself. Always making a spectacle of himself until he literally became the spectre of himself, after ruffling far too many of the wrong feathers in the seedier side of town.

He owed money to the wrong people, the kind of guys where if you shook hands with them, you would check to see if you still had your fingers. My Dad racked up massive debts and to be honest, was it any wonder when the question was asked about how difficult it would be to pick up your teeth with broken fingers what the answer would be?

This was not a rhetorical question, he soon found himself sinking to the bottom of a bottle and never managed to find his way back.

Now it would appear that the apple does not fall very far from the tree. I’ve mixed myself up with the very same people. Perhaps I can talk my way out of this? My own problem is I’ve insulted all of their Mothers and you don’t do that with Italians.

It is very much a case of “Cheque, please!” but I fear that paying the bill will be the least of my worries.

When pulling the strings, be careful what you say or you may live to regret it. I started out wanting to be a star but a war of words has turned this dummy into a family of marionettes.

Pass me the bottle, I’ve got a feeling that this isn’t going to be a long night.

Feedback provided on submission:- “A Family Of Marionettes – ‘There’s something or someone living vicariously through me taking liberties..’ Stylish & seemingly effortless; a tour of the underworld. Keeps you reading…the writer has a great way with words. Came 6th (out of 15)”.

For more blog posts inspired by the notion of what people wanted to be as a kid when they grew up and if they achieved their goals, check out the links below:-

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10 thoughts on “Flash Fiction / Short Story – “A Family of Marionettes”

  1. This is a fascinating and well crafted story — the choice of language is precise and yet leaves room for additional interpretations and notions.

    Stylish and I enjoy the brevity of the story. An interesting way to present a “traditional” theme – but in a very “upbeat” but heavy way. The voice is almost self-mocking.

    And I love the metaphor of a “family of marionettes.” Well done and Bravo on your “score” in the contest.

    • Thank you so much Pat – your comments mean a lot to me, along with your praise, which I am grateful for. I was dead chuffed with the outcome of this story, as it is like baking when doing timed Flash Fiction, you never know if you are going to end up with something tasty or a total mess when you throw all the ingredients together!

  2. Nice job. I love the metaphor here. As a side note, “Magic” was always a film that scared the snot out of me as a kid. Thanks for posting that nightmare picture.

    • Hey there Roger, thank you for taking both the time to read the story and for your comment, I appreciate it. It is amazing how that film evokes such scary images, probably more so than the Chucky Doll and I this is all due to the superlative acting talent of Sir Anthony Hopkins. Another intersting piece of trivia is that Magic was made in the year I was born – maybe that’s why it holds such significance for me!

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