Sticks and Stones – Flash Fiction for 2/24/12

Photo courtesy Madison Woods

Whenever anyone in the tribe died, the priestess would lay a small stone in the sacred place. When a baby was born, she added a stick to the collection. It was foretold by the elders that as a person got older, the stick would warp, crack and rot, but the person would continue to live as long as the stick was unbroken.

The priestess knelt on the rocky ground and a sob broke from her as she reached out and gently laid her lover’s stone among the others. Then she picked up her husband’s stick and snapped it in two.

39 responses to “Sticks and Stones – Flash Fiction for 2/24/12

  1. I feel a bit dim after the first reading – I didn’t even twig (pun unintended) that the lover and husband were two different people! Only upon a second reading did it become clear to me.
    Or perhaps I just have a more innocent mind sometimes.

    Very nicely written, well done!

  2. Oh, I completely didn’t get the difference betwee the two guys until I read the comments. I thought this was a heartbreaking gesture of love. Now I realise it’s full of menace instead!

    • Oh Carlos! I read the blog too – cause you know I never know what is going on in the world anymore since I began to hate all news reporting that we get here in the UK. I saw a photo of Marie Colvin on the cover of a newspaper, but didn’t even read the headline.

      I commented on the article also. I was truly touched by the tragic waste – and the torment they must have experience at the end of their worthy lives.

    • Susan, you’re not overthinking. You’re thinking just right. I was trying to include the very idea you expressed in this, but just couldn’t get it in there in 100 words. You’re very perceptive to have picked up on that. Havn’t gotten to yours yet, but I will sometime today.

  3. Nice subtle tale of revenge (or maybe revenge fantasy), and an interesting take on the old proverb. Not the most persuasive of proverbs to be fair, as I’m sure a certain old friend of mine would agree had he not been killed by a falling Asda sign.

    OK, that didn’t really happen. 🙂

  4. Whoa! Really, this blew me away. For a few words, it packed a powerful punch–It wasn’t the ending I anticipated at all–and I’m so glad! This had depth and layers of meaning. You should be proud of your work here. Thanks for sharing with me.

  5. I was so engrossed in the ancient tale that the ending came as a total surprise and made me gasp…literally. I believe she planned this payback in advance and could not wait to take final revenge. She must have been a Scorpio. They are known for waiting patiently for the right time to take revenge. Here’s mine:

  6. Like a master story-teller you held the reader spell-bound and gave a perfect delivery though with open-ended questions…Did the husband killed the lover? Was the priestess unfaithful? And the gods what will they do to this betrayer of trust?

  7. A great little tale. Tragedy, romance, and revenge, all wrapped up in 100 words. What drama! Wouldn’t it be fun to do a primitive soap opera? Lone Bear comes home to find Snowbird has been sleeping with Nighthawk . . .

  8. Wow. This was a powerful story.
    I loved the idea of the meaning & mythology you created behind the gathering of sticks and bones.
    Great dramatic twist at the end.

  9. This packs a powerful punch for such a short tale (it actually doesn’t feel like a flash piece). The belief system feels like it would shape many aspects of their lives. I wonder: had the priestess brought her husband’s stone with her? Very well done indeed. 🙂

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