Graden’s Climb

In Writing on June 1, 2012 at 8:15 am

dormant volcano, caldera

Graden began his climb. Up the father-mountain. Up the winter-road.

They were kin, now, he and the mountain, both fierce warriors grown old — once dark-eyed and full of fire, now crowned with snow and whiskered white.

This was his last climb. He felt it in his knees and in the healed fissures of his battle-crushed bones. The pain called his triumphs to memory, but he no longer cared to think of such things.

At the peak, on the mountain’s shoulder, he stared out at the gray sky and vibrant fields below and, stooping, wiped gently the snow from her grave.


This story is my response Madison Woods Friday Fictioneers prompt (the picture, supplied by Doug MacIlroy at ironwoodwind, is the prompt). Check out the other stories (including Madison’s) and submit your own on the story page!

Feedback and other stories welcome below! Please feel free to check out some of my other fiction — I love constructive criticism!

  1. Brian,
    Great story, we were sort of on the same wave length. Here’s mine:

    • Wow, you’re right – we were very close! I have to say yours feels a lot more real, and the way the end forces a shift of perspective on the whole story was really nice. Thanks for your comment!

  2. great pace, word choices, imagery. very well done.

  3. A wonderful story of remembrance and the challenges of becoming an old dog. Well written indeed.

  4. I wondered what he would do at the top… the last 7 words were lovely.

  5. I liked the sentence, “they were kin, he and the mountain, both fierce warriors grown old.” Really says a lot in just a few words….

    • Thanks! I read a couple of the writersclub responses today and really enjoyed them both. These things make Friday’s even better.

      • Friday Fictioneers are so fun huh..really gets the imagination going reading all these stories!!

  6. A fine story about growing old and more with a gentle and sad twist at the end. Mine is here:

  7. I love this: “They were kin, now, he and the mountain, both fierce warriors grown old — once dark-eyed and full of fire, now crowned with snow and whiskered white.” Beautiful!! Here’s mine:

  8. Vivid and sympathetic, you captured this last climb fantastically. If I could change one little thing I’d say “gently wiped” not “wiped gently”, but I loved the whole piece and especially the comparison between him and the mountain.
    I’m over here:

    • Thanks for the nice review! Week after week you have a knack for picking out the one part I’m least certain about 🙂 so I’m yet again grateful for your constructive criticism. I went with ‘wiped gently’ because I wanted the emphasis to feel like it fell on ‘gently,’ but I’m still by no means certain of my choice haha. Thanks again!

  9. enjoyed this muchly

  10. What a great site for a final resting place. Enjoyed the read.

  11. This is very nice … great job! 🙂

  12. Wonderful piece. I really liked the comparison between the man and the mountain. Fab job. 🙂

  13. What a sweet tale of a mate perhaps, still loved and of the ravages of life in old age. He still made the climb once more to visit her. I loved it!

    • You got it! And now I’m starting to think this character would be good for a longer piece. I can just imagine him undertaking some terribly long trek at his age. Thanks for reading!

  14. A touching story. The loss and resignation come through so well. I was wondering why he needed to climb the mountain – your reason took me by surprise and fit so well!

    My story –

  15. It’s so sweet, and a really great ending. For those who haven’t seen it:

  16. A very simple yet powerful piece. Brings to mind Tibetan Sherpas perhaps.

  17. Dear Brian,

    That old warrior is me.

    I thought you clairvoyant as I read.

    Wonderful the way you brought the photo to life.



  18. I enjoyed the slow winding pace of the story as it mirrored the climb. Great work. Here’s mine:

  19. that was very enjoyable. wasn’t sure where it was going, but it went well.

  20. See? This is the reason you’re getting all those awards! Effortless prose that grabs the reader in a heartbeat, and then the revelation hits and it’s even more than expected. I could hate you if I didn’t enjoy the reading so much!

    Grrr (with affection)

    • Well that’s definitely the nicest comment I’ve gotten yet, on any post, so thanks! Next step: convince the world’s publishers to see it the same way ha

  21. I loved your story, with an emotional ending. Very nice, and easy to see it all without a lot of explanation. Clear enough to one not having to ask the question ‘what’ is it about. I can relate too to the ‘bad knees’. I have had a knee replacement, because of an injured knee.

  22. I really liked this. Especially the comparison of the man to the mountain – or vice versa. That bit really struck me. That and the ending. Very gentle.

    In case any of your readers wants to read mine, it’s here:

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