Friday Fictioneer 100 Word Story #13: Universal Love

Universal Love

The aerial view confirmed it: bones. The craft’s lens was able to focus closely enough to identify a femur, a tibia, scattered bones in the shadow of a great rock. The sight of them was a blow that knocked me nearly unconscious; can this be happening again? Years later the discovery of my missing daughter still tears at my heart.

And now, again. How long had these been hidden in the shadows of a field of greys and iron reds, unperturbed by air or moisture? Did anguish like mine, millennia before, on another planet, fade with its atmosphere?

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50 comments

  1. Love it. Very intense.

    Tiny concrit: In the last question, should the first word be ‘did’? I’m wondering if the tense is exactly right… if maybe ‘would’ or ‘could’ might flow better/be more precise?

    Other than that, gorgeous piece. The movement forward has striking diction and words like ‘anguish’ are just powerfully and perfectly placed.

    • Thank you very much, Lime; your comments are lovely. Funny, I thought about that same question. It is questioning the original anguish over millennia-old remains, so I think the tense is past, but is muddied a bit by the modifying phrases.

    • I went to your site looking for a Friday Fictioneer story but didn’t find one. But I did find your editorial about the striptease shows at your uni and, boy, do I completely agree. But then, as an older person, I am always amazed at the regressiveness of human social evolution. (I believe we live in the same time zone, by the way, though I’m about to embark on a 3 week trip to California).

      • Just did my story! So now you can go back if you feel like it.

        Thanks for checking out the editorial piece, though! It’s been quite a roller-coaster over here and people have been a little upset about what I’ve written, but I think it’s worth it to have the discussion.

        Enjoy California 🙂

  2. I loved the idea of someone from long ago witnessing the excavation of graves today and actually knowing the remnants owners. (Whether it was from present or future viewing). Neat perspective I hadn’t thought of. I liked that, Carlos!

  3. I never thought of looking at the photograph in terms of an aerial view. Smartie points for lateral thinking there. ‘The sight of them was a blow that nearly knocked me unconscious’ is a very powerful description of the effects of shock. Nice work.

  4. hi Carlos! You certainly evoke a lot of emotion in this short piece, and I like how you used the new discovery to bring up an old grief.

    Like the Lime, I stumbled a bit over the tenses. For example, in the line “can this be happening again?” I thought it ought to be “could this…” to match with the past tense of “was a blow…” in the previous phrase.

    But what are tenses between friends? A very evocative story, with so much behind it.

    • There was a song by the Talking Heads a long time ago that always stuck in my mind, The Big Country, where the narrator is looking down from an airplane seeing American life. It’s not necessarily relevant to this, but it always sneaks into my mind when there’s an aerial view.

  5. This piece was drenched in emotion, but I loved that you didn’t dwell on describing it too us. I just felt it. Very well done.

    And like the Lime, I also stumbled over the tense in the last line. But then I decided that you (obviously, because we writer’s don’t make mistakes 🙂 ) wrote it that way for a reason so I changed my interpretation to match what was written.

    Mine’s here:
    http://threedescriptors.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/flash-fiction-10-bones/

  6. Excellent writing, and who can help but feel his anguish, far away past bringing up memories of a more recent past, a loss. that becomes fresh again by association.

    • Thanks a lot, Charles. I do believe in the soul, and I do believe there is a way that we see our bodies from above – it happened to me when I was a child and very ill. Beyond that, I don’t know.

  7. You communicate a clear sense of isolation and loss here. I felt like I was along for the ride, exploring what I imagined to be Mars (based on your clues in the narrative). I was affected both by your character’s experiences and the question of whether such emotional turmoil might be shared by our ancient alien neighbours. Apologies if my read is way off. This is powerful stuff, well written. 🙂

    • Thanks, Andy. I think you were one of the few to get the Mars reference – congrats! It began as two possible stories, one being sci-fi, and I thought I’d just start writing to see which story emerged; they both did. I didn’t want to use the word “Mars” because it has too many associations, but, yes, I was thinking of Mars as the future of Earth.

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