Shadows on the Wall

In Fiction on December 12, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Campfire-flames

Shadows on the Wall

The fire rages and the timbers fall. Ash and smoke and glowing filaments twist into the sky and disappear. A distant siren wails.

In the yard, my curved shadow stands long upon the ground. Never have I felt such heat, nor such freedom – nor such aching, terrible guilt. I fear I am a sick man.

They say every story has been written and, by that token, every life (for what is a life if not a story) has already been lived. Specific joys, specific tragedies – these change – but the basic arc of any one life, the skeleton beneath it all, is nothing more than a copy of some ancient form.

Who lived that original life, I wonder—the archetype and anticipation of my own? Was it Adam or Eve? Cain or Abel? Or was it some proto human, shivering in a cave by a tiny fire, imagining in the shadows cast upon the wall some strange reflection of his own life? Some comforting vision?

Well… I have built a fire, and I see the shadows, but I feel no comfort.

Even sin is a cliché.


I swear I’m a well-adjusted individual, yet somehow I continue to churn out these dark, depressing responses to the Trifecta Writing Challenge!

This week the prompt was Anticipation, the third definition of which is somewhat formal: a : visualization of a future event or state b : an object or form that anticipates a later type.

Next week can the prompt be ‘puppies’ or something? Please? I’m fairly certain I couldn’t twist that to the dark side.

Anyway, leave your comments, criticism, and therapists’ phone numbers below!

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  1. Really like this one it is wonderful!!

  2. Dark is okay as long as you continue to classify your posts as fiction. If I found this under the heading “Memoirs” I’d be worried. I love your turn of phase and the complex ideas that you weave in just a few sentences. Dark, funny, poignant, loving, uplifting or twisted is all okay by me because what you always turn out is damn good. Nice work.

  3. Loved your opening sentences. Apocalyptic ending a bit disconcerting, but aren’t all apocalypses?

    • Thanks, Kymm – guess it’s his own mini apocalypse. I wrote this almost backward, so I’m glad you liked the beginning, I think that’s when I was hitting my stride 🙂

  4. This is good. the words just fit in together.

  5. I really love the question: Who lived that original life? And the last line is perfect.

    Honestly, I’d love to watch you twist puppies to the dark side!

  6. Sure, it’s dark, but it’s gripping too. Really well done.

  7. I like how you worked in anticipation with questioning who lived the original life. Nice writing (even if it is a dark story :))

  8. This is superb! I especially loved this bit: “…the basic arc of any one life, the skeleton beneath it all, is nothing more than a copy of some ancient form.”

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