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Dying Light

February 3, 2012

This is the photo prompt from Madison Woods

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

Dying Light

As Martin turned down the dirt road toward home, a tender voice came on the radio, singing an advertisement about deodorant protection. It was a catchy little tune. He sniffed his armpits, trying to remember what he used, then turned up the radio’s volume until the old pickup’s speakers cracked and hummed, and the rifle across the passenger seat lost its warmth.

Ahead, sunset, painful in its brightness, blacked out the view of the cottage where he lived alone.  More than anything he wished he could carry a tune. Maybe then the newspapers wouldn’t call him a monster.

26 Comments leave one →
  1. February 3, 2012 3:16 pm

    Great the way you made us use our imagination about the horrible unnamed thing this guy has just done. You managed to mix comedy and tragedy into a potent combination. Great story!
    Here’s mine:

    • February 4, 2012 2:34 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. I wanted to leave his deed unnamed because our imaginations usually come up with something far worse. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  2. February 3, 2012 4:50 pm

    Excellent job here. To go from identifying with Martin’s foibles, to feeling sympathy for him, to that shocking final reveal, at such a breakneck pace. A real rollercoaster, this one. I loved it.

    Here’s mine:

  3. February 3, 2012 8:35 pm

    This is really creepy and I LOVE it!
    The foreshadowing you used with the the rifle feeling cold and the sunset painful in its brightness is so effective!
    Well done!

    • February 4, 2012 2:38 pm

      It took a few tries to get the rifle wording the way I wanted it. I appreciate your stopping by and commenting.

  4. February 3, 2012 10:47 pm

    You build it up nicely, rifle cooling down made me think of a return from a hunting trip until I reached the last sentence.

  5. February 4, 2012 12:30 am

    Hi there, Both Sides,

    This perfectly titled story was a very well rendered slice of life that effortlessly carried me along to the chilling end with smooth prose and an even tone. I was reminded of the phrase, ‘Every villain is a hero in their own mind.’ Well done.



  6. February 4, 2012 1:08 am

    Very effective, especially the part about the rifle losing its warmth, it is subtle, yet at the same time, a clear statement that makes you wonder what it had been used for. The last line is a killer. 😉 Excellent writing.

  7. February 4, 2012 1:34 am

    Nicely done. I suggest you might rework this sentence: “and the rifle across the passenger seat lost its warmth.” The word choice, to me, doesn’t convey enough danger or menace, which is crucial to foreshadowing the power/revelation of the story’s last line.

    Here’s my contribution:

  8. February 4, 2012 1:56 am

    Yes, we all agree. This is tantalising story snapshot. I love the detail and singing along with a commercial, which I do all the time, but Joe is right. The rifle across the passenger seat doesn’t work. “Only his loaded rifle for a passenger” or something like that or for company, whatever, would seem a better fit.
    but otherwise, its a fantastic take on the prompt.

    • February 5, 2012 1:03 pm

      What I had in mind about “lost its warmth” was to suggest it was just fired and also to suggest warmth in the comforting sense. In that light, maybe it makes more sense. Thanks for your comments.

  9. February 4, 2012 4:09 am

    I thought this story had real originality and great possibilities. I agree with the others about the rifle sentence: the meaning doesn’t come across clearly. “…hummed as the rifle cooled” or something like that. This is a little thing — but the big thing is great: the deodorant advert and singing along with it by the guy in the pickup truck on a dirt road; that’s magic. Frankly, it’s not even necessary for him to be a monster, just the juxtaposition of the guy and the advert gives it all the meaning it needs. Brilliant!

  10. Madison Woods permalink
    February 4, 2012 8:25 am

    Very well written! Incredible blending of humor and horror in so few words. I love how you didn’t tell us he shot anything, but informed us that the gun was cooling so we could infer your meaning. That is my favorite kind of writing to read 🙂 I wouldn’t add anything more to clarify it.

  11. February 4, 2012 10:07 am

    Excellent. Love the jingle is about deodorant.

  12. February 4, 2012 5:46 pm

    The image that this brought to my mind was of Robert Duvall in “Get Low.” LOL!

    Here’s my story:

  13. February 5, 2012 1:10 pm

    Duvall is great. I’m not familiar with Get Low, though. Have to check it out. Thanks for stopping by.

  14. February 6, 2012 3:32 am

    Beautiful piece. I really felt for him – having taken him to be a hunter who had made a mistake. I love the reference to the rifle cooling and the simplicity, but great description, of the radio and the speakers. Great stuff.

  15. February 7, 2012 5:51 am

    I don’t think I was as forgiving as loustar — seems like someone who’s committed some terrible atrocity yet there’s this balance of humanity in him that lets us see him sniffing armpits and hoping not to be vilified. Great characterization. Thanks for posting!

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