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The Weight

January 6, 2012

This is the Photo Prompt from Madison Woods:

Come up with a story, 100 words, more or less, based on the above picture

The Weight

At that moment Gerard looked up, the cold weighting his sight.

A few minutes more and he’d have been clear of the burning hickory’s scent, clear of the tracks that would wind back to the front door, far enough from its curtained windows not to look.

But this rascal, this messenger, this thrusting dagger had come between him and his plans.  If only it had been fallen clumps of snow that brought his sight heavenward, and not such sure and careful and sickeningly purposeful strides, then perhaps the trail would have ended as planned.

And he would not now be wiping his eyes.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. January 7, 2012 3:50 am

    Well, here I am, late at night in Hawaii and I’ve read The Weight several times trying to tease the thread of your story from its words. I’ll blame the need for sleep, yet hate to go there unsatisfied. What did I miss? Whose purposeful steps drew Gerard’s sight skyward? The dog’s? Was he walking away from his own house to commit suicide? Why the tears?

    Perhaps I should have waited until other commenters weighed in, but that would be cheating.



  2. January 7, 2012 5:01 am

    The words are beautiful, truly, this part especially “this rascal, this messenger, this thrusting dagger” But I’m with Doug and don’t really catch what is going on.

    But maybe that’s the point. Interesting in any case.

    • January 7, 2012 6:34 am

      Thank you for the compliment.

      My writing tends to be cryptic. I think it’s a combination of being paranoid about overstating things and not being exactly sure of what I want it to mean.

      Your comments are definitely helpful.

  3. January 7, 2012 5:23 am

    It started out with the badger’s purposeful steps reminding him how unsure and without purpose were his own steps.

    As to why he’s wiping his eyes, well, that’s open to interpretation (and maybe further exploration). Perhaps, because his planned failed and he regretfully must face what he intended to leave. Or perhaps his vision is now clearer and he’s grateful his plans didn’t come to pass.

    Then again, maybe instead of clearing things up, I’m muddying it even more.

    I appreciate your honesty.

  4. Madison Woods permalink
    January 7, 2012 5:39 am

    My interpretation is that he burned the house down (perhaps to kill someone) and his plan to get far away from it was foiled by the dog, who will see him running away, a witness to what he had done.

    thanks for joining us!

  5. January 7, 2012 7:34 am

    Being cryptic can really make a reader think about things. I read TheWeight about five times, poring over it for clues, coming up with different ideas. When things are left to interpretation, the mind really races trying to put meaning to the story. I would have liked a couple of more clues to hint a little more at what happened. The writing itself has style, flows smoothly and is intriguing.
    Thanks for your comments on my piece.

    • January 7, 2012 7:45 am

      I appreciate your comments. I’ve re-read it myself several times and there definitely are places where I can delve more into what’s going on. Thanks for stopping by. Your comments are very helpful.

  6. Parul permalink
    January 7, 2012 8:03 am

    So Gerard is trying to flee after committing a crime, perhaps an act is retribution.. And this hound has followed him. Maybe he’s a faithful of the one Gerard just hurt/killed..
    And before Gerard’s footsteps are covered by snow, the hound is behind him.. To kill him? Or maybe he will raise an alarm?

    Thats my interpretation. But I couldn’t understand some phrases here and there.
    Perhaps because its been a very long day! 🙂

    I like the choice of words in your story. It leaves a lot for guessing keeps you thinking for a very long time.

    Though I’m myself a newbie here, but welcome to the club! 🙂

  7. January 7, 2012 10:31 am

    I have to also concede, I could not gauge all that happened in the story, but I was able to reach a lot of conclusions of my own.
    Perhaps the only post that made my grey cells to a lot of work! 🙂
    I like your choice of words a lot! There’s a strange poetic feel to it.

    Welcome to the club! 🙂

    • January 7, 2012 11:11 am

      I welcome all the comments as each one helps in some way to let me know where and what to revise and develop. I also think it’s good to reach a lot of conclusions. That’s the beauty of writing. Thanks for commenting.

  8. January 7, 2012 10:51 am

    While it’s true the story itself is a little opaque, what I’m seeing here is you writing yourself into an idea. I think Ron and Craig are both right to comment on the beauty and flow of particular phrases and sentences — “cold weighting his sight” is really beautiful and I don’t think it’s been mentioned yet.

    Good luck developing it further and getting your own grasp on what you want to communicate; I bet it will transform into something really fantastic.

    • January 7, 2012 11:16 am

      Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. You’re so right about getting a grasp on what I want to communicate. I’ll be working on this a while

  9. January 7, 2012 11:54 am

    I think he was walking by a past lover’s house with the intention of not being reminded of the affair, but as the scent of the fire and the familiar path caught his attention, he was pulled right back to her..
    Great post!

    • January 8, 2012 5:46 am

      You’re close. He’s leaving one lover for another but because he’s now aware of his own indecisiveness about his relationships, seeing the badger’s purposeful strides, he’s having second thoughts.
      Thank you for your helpful comments.

  10. January 7, 2012 12:00 pm

    Beautiful sensory images. A teaser which makes me want to know more of the story, before and after.

  11. January 7, 2012 8:11 pm

    I too am guessing he set the fire to cover up perhaps a misdeed…I’d be interested to read more to fully understand what happened and what is going to happen.


    • January 8, 2012 5:53 am

      I can see now how the fire connection might fit in and I guess it’s always good to consider other ideas off a first draft.

      Thank you for your interest and comments.

  12. January 8, 2012 8:12 am

    Welcome to the site! I would echo most of the previous comments on the opaqueness of your story, but would like to add that I think it’s better to begin at the undecipherable end of the spectrum and work your way, writing-wise, into focus. This can be solved through writing technique; the other way requires a change of psyche.

    • January 8, 2012 10:52 am

      Now my wife has told me my comment is undecipherable! I meant that writing without imagination presents a more insurmountable problem than learning how corral imagination into clear prose, a process I am obviously still mired in. Cheers!

      • January 8, 2012 2:01 pm

        I appreciate both you and your wife’s comments. I agree with your first observation. It usually takes me several tries before I know what’s going on, and it’s often some little phrase I wrote that seems to unlock it. I also believe a reader’s interpretation can be perfectly valid yet completely different from what the author intended.
        I’ll be the first to admit I’m always learning. Thank you both for being so helpful.

    • January 8, 2012 2:09 pm

      Thank you. I agree that’s the better way to go.

  13. January 8, 2012 12:12 pm

    I felt like the flow of words is a strong element here, you talk about the weight of the snow and I instantly got what you meant by that- though I always think of the light and ethereal when I think of snow(possibly because I never really experience it where I am?)
    I also thought it was cool that we all thought of different things after reading this- I thought that the strides were his killer’s and that the dagger had been thrust into him and sent his eyes towards heaven as he lay dying!

    • January 8, 2012 2:07 pm

      Thank you for your comments. I think it’s great that it sparked so much helpful discussion and feedback. It’s given me a lot of food for thought.

  14. January 16, 2012 6:50 am

    I thought it was a dog or a cat escaping from a house then thinking twice about it so I suppose I wasn’t too far off base. I must admit that the leap from that to his death was a little subtle for me (that’s just me) but I felt extremely sad for him as he lay dying.

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