The Bag

Photo prompt: © Ted Strutz


She stopped by to check on her elderly neighbor and saw a bulging bag on the curb. Odd. Trash-collection was two days away. Ethel could get ticketed.

She grabbed the bag. The thing was heavy! How did the ancient women lug this? She carried it up the path to the door.

“Ethel?” she knocked. “It’s Belinda.”

Silence. Was Ethel sleeping? Belinda knocked again. Waited. Rang the bell. Used her key.

There was no one home. All personal effects gone.

Heart pounding, Belinda rushed to untie the bag.

A mess of photos spilled out, scattering Ethel’s life to the ground.




For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers



57 thoughts on “The Bag

    • I don’t know!!!? Abducted? Dead? Lost? Who cleared her house? Why?
      I remember seeing a shoe box full of photos in a thrift store and wondering – whose were these? How did they get there? Who knew these people? Does no one miss them? Why did they end up where they did?
      The store clerk couldn’t tell me where the photos came from. “Estate sales or people donating things or whatever” (or some variation on this). It made me infinitely sad. As if a person just “poof” and disappeared and their life and identity was no more than the stories strangers could imagine for them.
      What do you think happened to Ethel?

      Liked by 2 people

    • I hope so, too, Anita!
      Maybe Ethel went someplace, but where did all her personal effects go, and who cleared out her photos? I worry for her, Anita … And yes, if Belinda doesn’t have some contact persons to contact first … a missing person report may be necessary here, IMO!


  1. I like the mystery here, the thought that Ethel has just up and left, an old lady just selling off her stuff and disappearing with a bag on her back. All sorts of interesting possibilities suggest themselves. Great writing Na’ama

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad it was photos in the bag and not Ethel… There is still the mystery of “Where’s Ethel”, though. My guess is a child or grandchild or greatgrandchild or other relative put her in a home and sold everything of value, throwing out the photos thinking them of little value…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Na’ama Y’Karah,

    Quite a nail biter you’ve presented and left us with a mystery. Did a saucer land and take Ethel. Was she turned into a bag full of photos? Oh the stories you could tell with this beginning. Good one!



    Liked by 1 person

    • Me, too … Or, that there is an aspect of this story that we don’t know (how long has it been since Belinda came to check on her neighbor? Did the family of Ethel know that Belinda had a key and could be informed about changes in Ethel’s life?) – Or … maybe the fairies. There are always the fairies … 😉


    • So true! It actually happened to a friend of mine that they were in VT and were planning on stopping by another friend’s house to say hello, only to find out that that friend had passed on a month before and they didn’t know of it because the friend’s computer – with contact information on it – had ‘died’, too, and the heirs didn’t know of (or didn’t have access to?) backup information (if there was any).
      It left them very sad. And it led them to ensure someone trustworthy had access to their backup/password-list/whatever, just in case. Trustworthy would be the key word here.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A great many good points in the comments above, Na’ama. I felt Belinda’s shock when the photos spilled out. I’m sure she was overwhelmed that Ethel was no where to be found . How could she not have been told? It looked like she was some kind of caretaker. Aaaah … many questions left unanswered . Great vignette

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Isadora! Yes, so many questions left unanswered (for me, too …) and with it the reality some might experience when the suddenly find out that someone they knew is longer among the living, and they hadn’t known and hadn’t been told and don’t know what had happened … Of course, the vignette amplified this, though we don’t really know whether Belinda was a caregiver or just a caring neighbor and how often she dropped by. She had a key, which is a key to some of it, but perhaps people leave keys with neighbors for all manner of reasons. And then … there is the question of why anyone would throw out a bag of photos. And where all the other personal effects are … and when it had all happened, and how long it’s been since Belinda had stopped by before … and and and … 🙂
      Thank you for the great comment! Na’ama


    • Ooops … (Well, yeah, while it wasn’t what I had in mind when I began writing, it did cross my mind – and fingers – as I typed … so … yeah … I’m glad it wasn’t Ethel in the bag, too!) 😉
      Thank you for the great feedback! 🙂


    • Thank you, Laurie! I hope it is the former … and if so, that it was done out of a wish to try one last new beginning and grand adventure … I certainly hope it was NOT the latter but … who knows … I was left with much of the same questions … 🙂


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