Home > Fiction > Workshop at the End of the World

Workshop at the End of the World

It’s Friday Fictioneers again! Doesn’t time fly? Hosted as always by Rochelle, a bunch of us get together to write roughly 100 words to a photo prompt, supplied this week by Claire Fuller – thanks Claire!

I had a spot of bother with this one. I toyed with a couple of ideas but none of them seemed to work, or were based on visual gags. I finally fell back on old faithful – post-apocalypse. Last year I was obsessed with slaughtering people, this year it’s the end of the world. Just once I’d like to write a rom-com.

I also had major words count issues so it doesn’t flow as nicely as I’d hoped, but that’s the challenge, isn’t it?

You can view other people’s entries here – have a read!


Copyright Claire Fuller

Zed knew the structure to be a workshop – he had a stash of old books and had seen pictures. He had even deciphered some of the scribbles.

Inside he could see… machines? lying dormant. They would ever be so. They needed sparkfire to run, he remembered, and the knowledge to harness this was lost in time.

He gazed at the scribbles over the entrance. “No… smok-ing” he sounded out. Why would one wish to catch fire inside to require such a command, he pondered? Chuckling, he went in out of the sun, took a seat and lit his favourite pipe.

  1. NotAPunkRocker
    January 29, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    And he lived happily ever after? 😉


  2. January 29, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    A nice and witty tale. I pictures a elderly man in blue overalls. 🙂


    • January 30, 2014 at 7:50 am

      I also pictured him as quite old, gone out wandering in the wasteland.


  3. January 29, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    I want to write an apocalyptic thingie too … I’m warming up by reading YOU 😛


    • January 30, 2014 at 7:51 am

      You can add in mutants and all sorts too, it’s fun 🙂


  4. January 29, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Well done good Sir, I did enjoy this take very engaging.


  5. kz
    January 29, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    your post-apocalyptic tales are always very engaging. well done 🙂


    • January 30, 2014 at 7:53 am

      I’l probably have enough for an anthology soon 🙂


  6. January 29, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    Always nice to take a break from slaughtering people. 🙂 Good job.



    • January 30, 2014 at 7:53 am

      All that mayhem was getting old 🙂


  7. January 29, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    Really well captured. I’m struggling through Margaret Atwood’s latest right now; I wish she’d taken a leaf from your book about creating a post-apocalyptic setting.


    • January 30, 2014 at 7:57 am

      I’ve never read any of hers, I keep meaning to give them a try.


      • January 30, 2014 at 10:57 pm

        If you ever do, remember: Oryx and Crake is fantastic but spawned two disappointing sequels. I don’t know enough about her others to have an opinion.


      • January 31, 2014 at 7:54 am



  8. January 29, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    You have knack for writing these post-apocalyptic stories. This one must have been pretty far in the future dark ages for so much of humanity’s technology to be lost. Nice little tale!


    • January 30, 2014 at 7:58 am

      Thanks! I guess for a couple of generations people were struggling just to survive and by the time things were beginning to stabilise, most of the old knowledge was already lost.


      • January 30, 2014 at 2:22 pm

        You’re welcome! It’s a fascinating idea, really. It’s like a second Dark Ages. I wonder, have superstitions and other strange belief systems taken over?


      • January 30, 2014 at 3:08 pm

        I would imagine that many people, less well educated than our Zed, have found all sorts of strange and wondrous things to worship!


      • January 30, 2014 at 6:55 pm

        It’s probably an interesting world, to be sure!


  9. January 29, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    Good Story – I can picture the guy sitting down. Well done! Nan


    • January 30, 2014 at 7:59 am

      I also have a very clear picture of him – quite old, he’s had enough of the community he was living in and has ventured out across the wasteland…


  10. January 30, 2014 at 2:08 am

    Explosive ending…subtly interjected.


  11. January 30, 2014 at 7:12 am

    A nice post-apocalyptic tale. I’m not averse to weekly slaughter though. 😉


    • January 30, 2014 at 8:00 am

      Maybe when I get the appropriate photo – post-apocalyptic slaughter 🙂


  12. January 30, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    ohhh and this was refreshing, although I like the dark tales too.


    • January 30, 2014 at 12:52 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it (and the dark tales – I’m sure there will be plenty more of those to come!).


  13. January 30, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    I love that he doesn’t know what smoking is, but then goes right ahead and does it.


    • January 30, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      I was wondering if anyone was going to notice that! There were a couple of points I didn’t have enough words to explain away so I thought up answers just in case someone called me on them 🙂
      I’m thinking they’re probably calling it “puffing” or something. The pipe will either be a relic or some sort of crude hollow reed. Quite what they’re “puffing” I don’t know, but most civilisations on Earth throughout the centuries have found something to set fire to and inhale!


  14. January 30, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Ha.. Yes a lot is lost after the apocalypse even some memories.


    • January 30, 2014 at 6:53 pm

      So much effort is spent on trying to survive, inevitably much is lost.


  15. January 30, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    You do apocalyptic so well 😉


    • January 30, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      Thanks! I must try not to get stuck in an apocalyptic rut, though 😉


  16. January 30, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    One of the things I love about Stephen King’s Dark Tower series is the idea that the knowledge of technology would be lost through time — it’s frightening, really, how much we take for granted — I mean, can you REALLY explain to me how a telephone works? Could you build one? Brrrr….. chills.
    I’m not writing this week, but I’d love it if you’d drop by my blog for a second anyway, I posted a big announcement today


    • January 30, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      Frighteningly I have a PhD in laser physics so I could probably muddle my way through a telephone. I know what you mean, though. A car engine is a complete mystery to me. As for something like a computer – how can something that small do stuff that fast? How can it do stuff at all? Hell, I can’t even put up a usable shelf 🙂 I’d be pointless after an apocalypse!
      I did see your big announcement just before I left work – I’ll leave a comment over there in a jiffy.


  17. January 30, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    The only three things that will survive the apocalypse are cockroaches, Twinkies, and smokers… 😉


    • January 31, 2014 at 7:53 am

      It’s a good day to be a smoking Twinkie-eating cockroach.


  18. January 31, 2014 at 7:45 am

    This is an interesting piece with humor about an elderly man with lots of time, pondering on life. I enjoyed it.


    • January 31, 2014 at 8:00 am

      Thanks. I think that’s why he’s out in the wasteland all alone, to ponder on life.


  19. January 31, 2014 at 9:29 am

    How come my old man landed at your’s-oh,after the bomb exploded? 😉 Glad that he did not start something here with his “sparks” though,lol!

    This is a wonderful piece-you have really captured a frightening possibility-what if we cannot remember?Well done DR 🙂


    • January 31, 2014 at 9:46 am

      I think so much knowledge would be lost, for the majority of the population at least, in the struggle for survival in the early years 😦
      At least this chap has been reading the old books 🙂


      • January 31, 2014 at 9:48 am

        True that-hopefully it will never happen and yes I liked that -books are the best 🙂


  20. January 31, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    I like the perspective you took. I often wonder if the way he’s interpreting the scribbles is the way we interpret scribbles of the past!


    • January 31, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      That’s true – interpreted by our own knowledge, culture and experiences rather than the meaning which was originally intended.


  21. January 31, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Some things are better off left alone and not knowing. But then again, somethings should be remembered, like pipe = fire + sawdust = fire. You know, just little things. 😉


    • February 1, 2014 at 4:23 am

      Yes, those little details that keep you from getting eaten or going “whump” in a fiery blast 🙂


  22. February 1, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Dear Ali,

    For some reason this put me in mind of The Time Machine. Zed is an Eloi and I expect, at any moment, the Morlocks will be calling. Nice spin on the apocalypse and great take on the prompt.




    • February 1, 2014 at 9:50 am

      Dear Rochelle,
      Thanks for reminding me of that film! I always remember the name “Morlocks” but not the “Eloi” (it’s a good while since I saw it).
      I’m glad you enjoyed it.


  23. February 2, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    I always like a good post-apocalyptic story. Who knows how language will change from now until them. Very entertaining. 🙂


    • February 2, 2014 at 5:17 pm

      Language changes a lot through time anyway – I would imagine with the loss of education anything could happen to it.


  24. February 2, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    I like it. I like sparkfire. Clever piece.


    • February 2, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      Thanks! I tried to think up a couple of new words for describing lost technologies.


  25. February 3, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Even at the end of the world it’s all about semantics.


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