Friday Fictioneer 100 Word Story: X and O

X and O

 Black and White. Yes and no. X and O. Good and Evil, Life and Death, Mind and Body, Love and Hate… Life or Death.

He lay, unable to move, heart given out on this walk in the woods. He knew it was over, happy that it happened in soft nature, lying in a bed of decaying leaves, a bed that not he, but his body, would soon become part of.

But he didn’t expect this, the Duality, to be spread out before him so clearly. He wondered, was this pattern in him or the universe? as X turned to O.



    • Yes, it was me. Thanks for your generous comments. I’m of an age where death is becoming real: lifelong friends are going and gone. I suppose it’s on my mind, though the first thought in writing the story was the black-white thing.

  1. Wow…this piece struck home for me. My character gives up at one point and decided to lie on the forest floor until she rots away and becomes nutrients for the trees. But, she gets up. I sense that your character thought about doing so too, for a moment, before X turned into O. Thank you for sharing…I liked the split you illustrated between 1’s and 0’s, on and off, positive and negative (the computer technician is coming out of me now…haha).

    ~Susan (here’s mine:

    • Thanks very much. I wasn’t thinking of stoicism when writing it, but, you’re right, it’s there, though I think that everyone’s death is stoic in the sense that we are alone with the universe when we die. Though I am old enough now to realise how presumptuous it is to make these kind of judgements.

  2. I loved the philosophical nature of your story. This duality is one of the main themes of my Symbiosis wip, too. It’s a favorite subject of mine, that and the relationship between predator and prey.

  3. Dear Carlos, This is one of the most beautiful pieces you have ever written. And it is perfect. Both beautiful in its absolute clarity and perfect in the prose you have used. The duality is clever, yet poetic, deep and rich and somehow, still, amusing…
    Perfectly perfect, no negatives here; only positives. Positively, consumately, perfectly rendered, this world view of yours.
    XXX not 000

  4. Quite a good take on the prompt. It’s true, the picture does show both light and dark at once. Very good idea you had there.

    The first paragraph I thought was so repetitive in tone, though, that I sped up in reading it, so I skipped over the ‘…’ part. Or maybe it was the transition from full stops to commas… Either way, I felt I didn’t read it right (I hate that feeling).

    But besides that…

  5. Thanks for your comment. I am a little puzzled by your view of the first paragraph, as it’s not actually repetitive, but is 24 words stating different aspects of the Ying Yang duality that seems to run through life, which is the central idea of the story. I was writing intentionally poetically, trying to organise the words into a flow and rhythm, thus the change from full stops to commas and to the ellipse. Sorry it didn’t come across to you.

    • Thanks, Bridges, I’m glad you liked the metaphor, and it’s quite nice to be connected to Edward Abbey! I do like the idea of dying in nature, though I know one can’t always control the circumstances of one’s death. Bishop Pike of the Epicopal Church also died in the desert, quite intentionally, his passing being in the Holy Land. He was a friend of Philip K Dick, who wrote veiled book about him, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer.
      I’m sorry I haven’t got to many stories this week, suffering from jetlag and way behind in work. I’ll go to yours now.

  6. I like the “at peace” sense, Carlos. The narrator is so straightforward with us — we can sense there’s no more to the story than just what we’re told here, and that’s a powerful thing sometimes, to just be told what we need to know, to be pulled into a thought process. Lovely work.

    • Thanks, Lime, I missed you this week. But I’ve been jetlagged and time-changed and suffering from the cold weather in LA.I think I wrote that in LA but I can’t be sure. I thought it was resignation, but maybe, in the end, that’s peace.

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