“Flowers for the Fallen” Short Story

Though I probably didn’t need to get distracted by a writing prompt this weekend, sometimes inspiration can’t be discouraged. I opted to go ahead and write a short piece for my friend Ray’s picture prompt (found here: First ever Ray-Sponsored Writing Picture Prompt!). Even though it’s a couple weeks late. And even though I may not have needed a short piece to distract from my larger projects. I just couldn’t help but enjoy writing it all the same. I hope you enjoy.


He affixed more than just a handful of flowers to the wall. He collected all the pain and grief in his mind and appended every petal to a memory. After all, the memories were the greatest burden to carry, and a painful burden. He was a coward; instead of holding her forever in his thoughts, he would rather forget her. He would rather leave her there with the flowers on the ledge where he had last seen her.

Hesitantly, his fingers brushed the stems one last time, lingering on the leaves that were soon sure to die. Which was fine, really. Maybe when the last of the colorful plants finally died, the memories would die with them. He would be free from the burden of her. With a wistful smile, he turned and fled the room.

Every step of the stairs took him further from her. Pounding footsteps echoed around the stone walls. So that he might not hear her voice crying out after him, he focused on the sound of his feet. The confining stairwell expanded suddenly into the glorious, candlelit sanctuary. Even just standing in the room purged his wrongs from him, cleansed him of her. To be sure, he moved to the water basin standing sentry at the towering doors of the cathedral.

“Forgive me Father, for I have sinned,” he mumbled, dipping his fingers in the water and raising them into a cross. As his hand crossed back to his heart, peace settled in his veins. The holy water absolved him of her. Without her, he could finally become all he was meant to be. Without her, he could be happy.

Leaving her with the flowers above, he strolled out of the church. He was free. For his own satisfaction, he even forced his path over the pavement where she’d fallen. He’d forgiven himself for his betrayal. Perhaps she would forgive him too.

Above, unseen, she watched him go – a ghostly figure observing from the window where he’d pushed her.


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“Tennessee Nathan and the Ghost of Dragon Roost Road” Short Story

A/N: To be honest, this piece was written entirely as a joke. In fact, I had a hard time taking myself seriously with every word I put on the page. My good friend told me a “creepy” story the other night, which instantly provided inspiration for the title. From there, well, the rest is history. This piece is inspired by and dedicated to my old and dear friend, Tennessee Nathan Amerman. Dragon Roost Road is a fictional place, and somewhat an inside joke, but was the perfect setting for a ghostly misadventure.

“Tennessee Nathan” turned out to be quite the farce. I just needed an exercise of my own to do between editing jobs that didn’t involve getting too immersed in one of my major projects. It was silly and absurd, but I had fun. So why not share it? And who knows? Maybe the character, along with his trusty whip and hat, will make another goofy appearance somewhere down the line.


Tennessee Nathan was not afraid of things that go bump in the night. In fact, when he first heard the sound from the woods, he was immediately on the alert for adventure. He only paused before investigating to retrieve his trusty hat – given to him by an old friend – and his trusty whip – that had itself become an old friend.

The woods along Dragon Roost Road clustered together like a gossiping clique. They whispered otherworldly words amongst themselves and harbored shadowy secrets. Trying to peer through the shadows only made evident more shadows. Even straining his eyes, Tennessee Nathan could see no source for the strange sound.

A twig snapped loudly underfoot, and he winced at the betrayal of his position. The rustling grew louder, more agitated. Cautiously, his grip tightened on the coiled whip at his side and he stepped further into the trees. The rustling sounded uncomfortably like the shuffling of feet. Of course, there was always the chance that this could just be an average animal: rabbit, raccoon, fox. The daredevil in Tennessee Nathan hoped it would be more.

Suddenly, the shuffling stopped. Tennessee Nathan stopped with it. When there was no sound for the next few moments, he inched forward again. The animal loomed up out of the darkened brush before him. This was no ordinary woodland animal; this was a beast.

The hulking beast let out a spine-shaking roar and glared down at where Tennessee Nathan stood. It’s eyes burned the red of dying coals. It’s humped back was lined with jagged spines. It was a monster straight from the most horrid of nightmares.

Without further hesitation, the beast swung a wicked clawed hand toward Tennessee Nathan. He threw his whole body into a dodge, rolling away through the detritus. As he sprung to his feet, he reached for his whip, only to find that it was gone. Panicked, he looked around. There it lay in the rotting leaves where he had stood moments before. And there beside his trusty whip was his trusty hat.

“Confound it,” Tennessee Nathan muttered.

The beast’s growl rumbled in it’s caged chest, furious that Tennessee Nathan had avoiding it’s attack. Tennessee Nathan was no stranger to tense situations. Using his honed adventuring mind, he fumbled to find something in the woods around him to use as a weapon. He wandering hands clasped on a think branch and, with a handsome feat of strength, he ripped the branch free.

With a grunt, he hurled the branch at the beast. The wood passed right through the monster’s head, just between the eyes. Of course, it was a ghost beast. What else was to be expected in the woods this late at night?

Thankfully, his whip was also endowed with ancient magic. If only he could reach it.

The beast swung another large fist at Tennessee Nathan. If the adventurer had any window of opportunity, it was now. He spun from the massive hand, then launched himself above the beast’s arm. Tennessee Nathan recovered in a roll mere feet from the twisted claws.

Before the monster could move – it’s reflexes were absurdly slow –Tennessee Nathan yanked the whip from where it lay on the ground, cracking it once to show he meant business. Then, casually, he stooped to pick up the hat, placing it fluidly on his head. Now he was ready.

With the trained, elegant grace of an expert whip-wielder, he cracked the weapon around his head, sending sounds like gunshots echoing through the trees. The trees ceased their whispering. Even the shadows turned to watch the events unfold.

With a mighty snap of his wrist, he sent the whip flying forward. It curled around the creatures arm and pulled tight. As Tennessee Nathan pulled, the whip began to glow. As the whip began to glow, it also began to sever the beasts ghostly flesh. The arm tore off and vanished into a cloud of ethereal smoke.

The beast bent to Tennessee Nathan’s height and roared, pained and agitated. He looked like he meant to charge Tennessee Nathan in a final show of strength. The gust of air from the roar alone almost knocked Tennessee Nathan off his feet. It certainly knocked the hat off his head. With a cluck of his tongue, Tennessee Nathan commanded the whip to return to him, only to send it flying back towards the monsters neck. It only wrapped once, but once was enough.

As Nathan yanked back on the whip, the ghostly beast exploded into purple smoke that dissipated into the shadows. A gasp echoed from the trees. Tennessee Nathan bent down to pick up his hat. Patiently, he dusted off the dead leaves from the brim. Then he rolled he hat back where it belonged and walked casually back to the house, undeterred by any other malicious creatures of the night.

No, Tennessee Nathan did not fear things that go bump in the night. Things that go bump in the night fear him.