Cellar Dwellers – Flash Fiction for 3/9/12

Photo courtesy Madison Woods

Delbert’s my little brother. When he was born, he didn’t come out right. Mama keeps him locked in the cellar. Delbert don’t talk or wear clothes. Sometimes mama makes me hose him down. He whimpers some when the cold water hits him.

Mama went to a tent revival last year. The preacher healed the sick and afflicted. She got him to come pray for Delbert. He went in the cellar and prayed a long time. It didn’t do no good. He gave up, but mama told him to keep praying until Delbert was fixed. To this day, he’s still praying.

29 responses to “Cellar Dwellers – Flash Fiction for 3/9/12

  1. Dear Ron,

    Delbert’s tale was well told and, sadly, I know he’s out there somewhere, shivering and alone. A veiled commentary on the power of prayer, perhaps, and a very good story.



  2. Wow, this is a sad and tragic tale, and you tell it so well. The voice of the narrator (brother? sister?) is so well done, I can hear the words in my mind, and they express a certain culture of simple folk, dare I say ignorant? Really well done!

  3. Wow, in such a small space you sure opened up an awful world of visual. That was written very well and if it had been the opening paragraph it would be to a book I’d wished I hadn’t picked up. Who could put it down until that one was over, no matter how terrible the story?

  4. I enjoyed the use of informal language in your writing. It makes the character come to life.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Brilliant. How you got all that in there amazes me. Delbert kept in the cellar wouod’ve been enough, but then to add prayer, revival meetings and wind up with a gothic horror ending. Very Hitchcockian.

  6. Poor Delbert. Locked away for a lifetime I expect….I really liked the dialect and that the protagonist may have felt caught in between the two of the them.

  7. The distinctive voice is reminiscent of Doug’s entry, and just as effective. Faith healers, along with psychics and the really hardcore fundamentalist nuts of any religion, are a pretty contemptible bunch. The sad thing is no matter how many times they’re exposed people want to believe in them, so they get taken for a financially and emotionally expensive ride. I can understand and empathize, but it’s just heartbreaking to watch.

    It’s like the proverb almost says – give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Give a man religion and he’ll die praying for a fish. Give a man a fishing rod and he’ll use it for firewood. Or swap it for a fish.

    Hopefully that lightened the mood!

  8. I’ve had some kin folks like Delbert, bet you have too. We didn’t lock ’em in the cellar, but sometimes they caused us to whimper. All I can say is, “That boy ain’t right.”

    excellent take on the prompt!

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