October 7, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes whispers. It can be beautiful or creepy and any genre. Where are the whispers, who are they from, and what do they say if they say anything at all. Go where the prompt leads!

Sardines – by Hugh W. Roberts

“I hope he doesn’t find us,”

“So do I,” whispered Richard. “We’re in big trouble if he does.”

“Why? What’ll he do?”

“God knows,” murmured Richard, “but it won’t be nice. Now, be quiet; I hear footsteps approaching.”

“Richard!” yelled Adrian as he entered the empty bedroom.

Creaking sounds from the wardrobe grabbed his attention.

“Oh no, I think he’s going to find us,” whispered Richard just before the two doors of the wardrobe opened. “Quickly, hide.”

“Richard! Found you. But who are you talking to?” challenged Adrian.

Keep your eyes closed, and he won’t see us,” whispered Richard.


What is Sardines? It’s a reversal of the game Hide and Seek. Instead of everyone hiding all at once and one person doing all the seeking, the game starts with one person hiding and everyone else counting to a predetermined number.


Richard and Adrian first appeared in Edge Of Summer – another piece of flash fiction written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge.

Image on an autumnal tree in a cemetery
Image credit: Charli Mills

Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch. Click here to join in.


Enjoyed this piece of flash fiction? Then you’ll love Glimpses


28 short stories and pieces of flash fiction take the reader on a rollercoaster of twists and turns.

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19 thoughts on “Sardines

    1. I wasn’t sure if everyone would know what the game of Sardines was, Charli. I’ve not played it, but it sounds fun, especially at this time of the year, what with all things spooky.
      The boys will certainly be back.

      1. In a longer story, that might not happen, but with only 1,000 words and such a complex plot and four characters, there’s lots of room for speculation. I love that you tease readers with even more ways to take it in your prompts. I’m giddy with delight!

        1. Charli only gives us 99 words to play with, so it’s a great way to make sure every word you use works in telling the story. Ever since I started participating in the 99-word flash fiction challenge, it’s helped me cut out all the unnecessary parts of stories. I used to be so bad at including stuff that added no value to the story.

          Thanks, Marsha. I’m glad my pieces of flash make you giddy.

  1. The title was helpful to me. That was a favorite game with some of my fourth graders and we actually played it just the other night at a family gathering.
    I got that Richard was not quite playing Sardines and also that he wasn’t really with another. Adrian has some interesting times ahead.

    1. I thought not many people would know the game of Sardines, so it’s great to hear that people are still playing it.

      Richard’s condition plays a big part in his life in some of these flash pieces of his and Adrian’s story. Depending on future prompts, we may find out who he thought was in the wardrobe with him.

  2. Thanks for the reminder about Richard’s condition. A great story here and I never knew sardines was the reverse of Hide-and-Seek, Hugh. I’m sure this story will continue to play out with the twists and turns we can all expect 🙂

    1. I’ve never played Sardines, Terri. But it sounds like a fun game to play. I hope you’ll all be able to keep up with Richard and Adrian’s life stories. These snippets of bits of their lives are all over the place, but I’ve grown fond of these two.

  3. How do I find out who Richard is talking to? Every time I think about whispers now, I think about the “whisperers” from the TV show “The Walking Dead.” Talk about creepy… Do you have that show in the UK?

    1. A few weeks ago, I published ‘Blizzards Of The Mind’, where we learned that Richard had the early stages of Alzheimer’s. The answer (of who he is talking to) may come up in a future piece, Liesbet. However, when Adrian opened the wardrobe doors, he only saw Richard there. But Richard is reliving a memory of when he was unfaithful to Adrian and when he was almost caught out. A combination of his condition and being in the wardrobe has rekindled the memory.

      We do have ‘The Walking Dead’ TV show in the UK, but I’ve never managed to watch it…yet.

        1. Because of the prompts, the stories are all over the place, Liesbet. I’m going to add a pingback to ‘Blizzards of the Mind.’ I don’t expect Adrian and Richard to appear every week, but the way things are going, I’ll have their life stories before you know it.

          I’m not sure I’ll watch ‘The Walking Dead.’ After watching ‘Black Summer’ on Netflix last year, my days of Zombies are done – for now, anyway.

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