Five Travellers in a Small Ford

This short short story features in ‘Bonsai: Best small stories from Aotearoa New Zealand’, published by Canterbury University Press with the support of Creative New Zealand.

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Adults, Young Adults, Quick Read
James Norcliffe | The commuting Book
James Norcliffe

Aug 01   ●  1 min read

Five travellers in a small Ford travelled across the Ardennes. The Hautes Fagnes.
The High Fens.

The fifth traveller, strapped in a car seat, cried with hunger.

Clumps of cotton grass rose from the bog land on either side.

The car pulled off the road for the fourth traveller to nurse the fifth traveller.

The sky was grey and despite the late spring there were patches of snow in the

The third traveller puzzled at his mobile as the navigation system was awry.
Luckily, a signpost directed the travellers towards Eupen.

The second traveller, seated beside the third traveller, regretted not making muffins
or packing fruit as, like the fifth traveller, the other travellers were hungry.

In 1940 Eupen was declared judenfrei. Its citizens celebrated.

The first traveller sat in the shadows of a deserted stadium and put his notebook to
one side.

He was a liar.

There was no fifth traveller, no fourth traveller, no third traveller and no second

This was okay. For this is fiction.

In 1940 there were no Jews in Eupen.

This was not okay.

This was not fiction.


From Bonsai. Best Small Stories from Aotearoa New Zealand
A version of this work was published in Landmarks (UK NFFD anthology, 2015)