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The End

July 1, 2010

Photo by Angie McNeill

McNeill Farms, Mulhall, Oklahoma

The sun burned a hole in the sky, fighting for its last moments before the world turned its back for one more night. Jim turned his head and squinted into the light, reaching for the last rays of warmth. His eyes slid shut; the orange glow branding his lids as the coarse fibers scratched and poked at his neck.

He’d lain there listening to them work since sunup. The sounds of hammers and taunts, saws and curses, couldn’t force him to look. There was no point. He knew what fate lay below the window, just as sure as they knew his guilt. Stretched out on the wooden bunk, he’d focused on the sound of his breathing instead; watching the rise and fall of his chest from beneath the brim of his hat.

He hadn’t strained to hear hooves pounding in the distance or gun shots blasting in the street like the last time. There would be no “blaze of glory.” No “one last stand.” There was no one left to come.

This wasn’t the end he’d imagined. At forty-two, he’d survived more brushes with death then he cared to count. He just never thought it’d come to this. Of course, he had never offered a choice to his victims either.

It had been a long, bitter road, and the world was through with him now. Their backs turned, the night coming. A flame burned in his gut, urging him to fight like the sun for that last drop of light. But a small part of him was glad to be done.

The rope burned as it tightened across his throat. One last glimpse of the blazing sun. And the world stopped.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. Jax permalink
    July 1, 2010 10:07 PM

    I love how well you match the story to the pic. Did you see the pic first?

  2. July 2, 2010 6:30 AM

    Thanks, Laura. Sometimes I see the photo first and write from there. This story came to me first and I remembered the photo and thought it would be a great fit.

  3. July 2, 2010 9:10 AM

    I liked this a lot. And the pic is awesome too 🙂

  4. Kelly permalink
    July 2, 2010 9:12 AM

    I love how you take a photo and create such an articulate story from it. As both a photographer and an aspiring writer, its a beautiful blend. Great piece this week.

  5. July 2, 2010 10:32 AM

    Really great story. Nothing left to do but die. Perfect description and imagery, and that photo is perfect, too. Loved this.

  6. July 2, 2010 11:21 AM

    Great detail on this one! Love the picture – they work well together!

  7. July 2, 2010 11:24 AM

    lovely story and amazing picture – great work

  8. July 2, 2010 12:25 PM

    Not with a bang, but a taut rope. Nicely done.

  9. July 2, 2010 3:27 PM

    I liked it except for the fact that the main character is implied to be some sort of a ‘killer,’ at least in my perception of reading it. Otherwise, the imagery you used was fantastic. I like the ties that the protagonist has to his surroundings. It’s something that I think is very admirable in writing – a connection with nature.

    With Love and Gratitude,

    The Intentional Sage

  10. July 2, 2010 4:14 PM

    Excellent description of his final moments. As others have said, the picture mirrors the story perfectly. Good one!

  11. July 3, 2010 5:50 AM

    A wonderfully conceived insight into a prisoner’s final moments. I enjoyed this a lot. 🙂

  12. Ian permalink
    July 3, 2010 7:14 AM

    Chilling. And, he leaves with no remorse. How fitting.

    Great piece. You just keep getting better and better.


  13. July 3, 2010 3:22 PM

    Wow, that was good. Nice and tight. A man, not one we should particularly like, resigned to his fate. Yet his fatalism makes his quite approachable as a person. Well done.

  14. July 4, 2010 9:24 PM

    Since watching Deadwood, I’ve been really into the whole Old West mentality, and this is fabulous. It really sums it up for me.

  15. July 5, 2010 3:15 AM

    Nicely told tale, Danielle. The opening paragraph was very descriptive and the reader just had to contiue on.

  16. July 8, 2010 12:44 PM

    Thank you all for the great comments! You guys are awesome!

  17. July 10, 2010 6:33 AM

    This flash piece was descriptive and to the point. An insightful trespass into the mind of a killer and the correlation between the last sunset he views and his life coming to an end. Wonderful as usual.

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