Flash Fiction February 2020 – “Sammy”


I continue with my illustrations for Flash Fiction February 2020, twenty-nine days of flash fiction stories at Fictive Dream,  an online fiction magazine featuring short stories.

For the event I created a small abstract painting for each selection – in fact, I did more than one painting per story. I am showing you all the images, day by day, throughout February. I’m also including a short write-up as to how I went about turning the authors’ words into pictorial representations.

I hope you’ll take a look at my art, then go to Fictive Dream, see which image editor Laura Black chose for the magazine, and read the story!

Thank you to Laura for her faith in my work and to the authors for such wonderful material to work with.

Today’s story is:

Sammy by Sarah Leavesley. Read it here at Fictive Dream.

Here are the artworks on their own:

and here they are with the banner.


This story relates a small incident with big symbolic significance – a young girl’s dog is temporarily loose and lost as she has just learned her beloved grandmother has died. I focused on the descriptions of the dog – he’s described in weather terms: “a muddy cloud with legs”, “a bark to rival thunder”, “a small white cloud”.

Image 49 –This picture is an overview of these two important relationships in the narrator’s life as they are intertwined in this story. The pink represents the warm relationship the girl has with the dog and with her grandmother. The dark streak represents the bark like thunder, and I have set a swirly active cloud over it with rays breaking through.

Image 50 – In this picture I focused on the moment Sammy returns to the narrator, running out of the sea. I created a streaming cloud to represent Sammy, since here he’s described as a white cloud. The rest of the picture depicts the stone-covered beach and the ocean.

Read the story at Fictive Dream.

6 thoughts on “Flash Fiction February 2020 – “Sammy”

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. This story was appealing to me because of the feeling of healing in it and also the author gave clues for the dog’s appearance that helped me depict it without be literal about it.

  1. Laura (PA Pict)

    Oh man. That story got to me. When my beloved Granddad died, one of my sisters took his dog to live with her. When the dog died, it triggered the grief of losing our Granddad all over again. Therefore, the girl connecting her bereavement to the attachment she has to her dog was something I could connect to. I like the chosen image because it symbolises the reunion and, therefore, the comfort and solace Sammy provides in a time of turbulence.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I am really taken by the fact that your personal experience so parallels this story. And I am glad you see the image as hopeful and healing. I liked this story.

  2. Laura Black

    Sammy by Sarah Leavesley is a beautiful story as are the two illustrations. I chose image 50 because it represents the coming together of the young girl and her dog after some tense moment when the dog appears to be lost. The colours are bright and happy and I love the representation of the dog as a white cloud. Just lovely.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      The author twice described the dog as a cloud, and I could see him perfectly in my mind’s eye. The challenge for me was to make his representation in a cloud image, but also keep it a little bit looking like a fluffy little dog, while all at the same time keeping things away from looking like a sullen or bad weather cloud. A question of getting across the right feeling. I liked how this turned out, I think the hope did come through, also, because of the overall colors of the picture.

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