Image courtesy of Amy Reese

Two races inhabited George’s world. Top-dwellers soared, carefree, on huge silver wings.

George was a bottom-dweller, his undeveloped wing buds enlarged into calloused bulges, useful only for carrying heavy loads.

So George became a climber, labouring upward, encouraged by climbers above telling of wondrous treasures, until one morning he reached the final peak. Resting by a stream, he saw, reflected in its water, his  weathered face, aged and scowling.  Far below, he saw his family, abandoned on a grassy plateau. George was old and alone.

Frantic, he called to lower climbers: “Go back! It’s a lie. Be content.” But they heard only what they wanted to hear.


Perhaps my recent retirement from the workforce has influenced my story for Friday Fictioneers this week. I’m feeling particularly light and carefree, and I’m so looking forward to having the time and headspace for things I want to do. I didn’t make it to the top of the pile, but I have spent thirty six years as a bottom-dweller, teaching, and that has brought rewards of its own.

Thank you to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting Friday Fictioneers. You can read all this week’s stories here.

16 thoughts on “Upward

    • I’m glad its modern day relevance came through. There was so much more that I wanted to put in this one, but couldn’t fit. I was hoping it would still be meaningful. Thank you for your lovely comment, Joy.


  1. This reads almost like a parable, Margaret. Or perhaps I mean a fable. Whatever, I really enjoyed this, and read it several times. Congratulations on your retirement. It’s all uphill from here… 🙂


    • I’m glad you found it re-readable, Sandra. Thank you so much for your encouragement, and I’ll take it that the ‘uphill’ journey of retirement ahead of me won’t be about a tortuous climb, but about reaching new heights.


  2. Great style to this.
    Congratulations on your retirement.
    As teacher you will have had influence beyond the knowledge of those in charge and beyond your own knowledge – it’s a real iceberg job. Much of what you have done ( the important bits!) will have been invisible. I don’t know about the state of teaching where you are, but in the UK it has become hugely bureaucratic when in the end it boils down to people.


    • You speak as one who knows, MJ. Your comments about the burden of bureaucracy on education apply here as well. I agree wholeheartedly with you – the soul has gone out of the classroom. It has become a battle to keep the focus where it belongs; as you say, on people and learning, rather than on assessment and evidence and box-ticking. I like your ‘iceberg’ comment – very encouraging. And thank you for reading and responding to my story, too.


    • I understand your relief. It can be very traumatic supporting a young person through their high school career. I’m enjoying my ‘light and carefree’ moment, and hoping it lasts. Thanks for stopping by, Alice.


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