Following Sasha

6 Jan
Please find below my 100 word FridayFictioneers submission for this week in response to the photo prompt promulgated by Madison Woods here–>  Check out the links to other stories by wonderful authors found on this page and read to your heart’s content, then feel free to comment and critique. That’s how we learn.
Thanks for reading (100 words goes fast, so dive in.)

He was following Sasha on a snow covered road devoid of life, through a landscape as silent as a graveyard. They’d been inseparable for all of his youth, exploring the wild lands that spring to life in the mind of a child and which exist forever in the memory of an adult.



Moments ago he’d been driving home when black ice left him holding a useless steering wheel as his speeding car hurtled off the shoulder and crashed. He’d woken to the beautiful mid-winter’s day laid out before him.


A new road beckoned. He wasn’t afraid.

The dog was a nice touch, though.

29 Responses to “Following Sasha”

  1. Lindaura Glamoura January 6, 2012 at 11:17 am #

    As usual, your story is a good one. The evocation of the snowy world, perfect. How do you do these so early? I forgot where you live…Anyway, I like it and the dog’s name is perfect, too. Sasha…
    from Lindaura

    • dmmacilroy January 6, 2012 at 11:25 am #

      Dear Lindaura,

      I live in Hawaii and work on the cold, snowy summit of Mauna Kea at one of the observatories there. I put this together last night and saved it for submission today. It’s 1:22AM and I just got down to sea level after working a three-and-a-half night shift. I’m wide awake now so it was easy to post early. Love that you like Sasha’s name. Actually spent a lot of time imagining one that flowed off the tongue, so to speak.

      Thanks for reading. looking for yours now.

      Aloha (and Happy New Year!)


  2. Jan Morrill January 6, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    Oh, so beautiful and poignant, Doug. I love ” . . .exploring the wild lands that spring to life in the mind of a child and which exist forever in the memory of an adult.” Very nice!

    Bye y’all,

    • dmmacilroy January 6, 2012 at 11:58 am #

      Thanks Jan,

      I never had a dog, but I roamed winter landscapes like this one for days on end as a child. We lose something of that as we get older. Madison’s picture brought memories to life again.

      Off to look for your story now Happy New Year.



  3. Carlos Repuesto de la Tabla January 6, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    HI Doug,
    Once again, a beautifully written piece. I liked “…exploring the wild lands that spring to life in the mind of a child and which exist forever in the memory of an adult.” I did wonder about the abrupt change of tone in the last line, but liked very much (unlike my story) the uniquely positive view of heading into the unknown.

    • dmmacilroy January 6, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

      Hi Carlos,

      I’m thinking from the responses so far that I’ve missed the mark somehow with my story. The changes are many in it, but I must not have made them clear enough.

      The dog walking ahead of him is the Sasha of his youth, long gone until now, when he finds himself walking down a cold, silent road to where, he knows not, following the crash of his car in the second paragraph.

      He realizes he is probably dead and that Sasha has been placed in his new world to anchor his mind and accompany him on his new journey. He is not afraid, perhaps because of Sasha’s appearance. Either way, he comments on his old companion’s presence and walks on.

      Oh, well. I’ll try again next week.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



      • Carlos Repuesto de la Tabla January 8, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

        Well, I figured he was dying, going down that last journey into death, where, I imagine, memory becomes reality, and I think your story evoked that with subtlety and elegance. I suppose it was just that last line, because it was a kind of jarring change in tone, seeming too light-hearted. I felt you were trying to convey that memory like a painting, and the dog “was a nice touch,” which is in itself a nice touch. It’s just the tone, nothing else. A superlative story is there with a little ironing.
        There’s snow in Hawaii? I never see any on Hawaii 5-0. There’s not even snow in California this year.

  4. Caely January 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    Dear D,

    Like you, this week’s photo prompt brought back many childhood memories and so I based mine on such a memory (even though I never had a dog).
    I really liked the twist from the second paragraph on, really put a good feel to it even though I had to read it a few times to actually understand it that way. Good job, as usual.


    • Caely January 6, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

      Oh I forgot, here’s my attempt on it:

    • dmmacilroy January 6, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

      Thanks Caely,

      I think I cut things a little too fine this week. i do think it becomes clear if you read it over again, but where to draw that line? Good question.

      off to read yours now.



  5. susielindau January 6, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    Nice imagery and evocative of death. It makes me wonder if he has passed on. Beautiful!

    • dmmacilroy January 6, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

      Hi Susie,

      Yep. He’s passed on. Sasha was sent to lead the way to…..

      Thanks for reading. I really appreciate your comments and feedback.



  6. Craig Towsley January 6, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    Morning Doug,

    I thought the whole “he’s dead, and his boyhood dog is there to lead him to wherever he’s going” was obvious enough.” Good job.

    By the way, one of the dog’s we had as a kid was named Sasha too.



  7. Russell January 6, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    I loved it, Doug. I reminded me of a story by Patrick McManus about three friends on a fishing trip. Everyday the fishing just got better, every meal was wonderful, and every night at camp a perfect delight. You didn’t find out until the end that a log truck had ran their car off in a ravine and they were all dead. However, if that’s heaven–sign me up!

  8. kdmccrite January 6, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    Lovely writing, Doug. I caught the transition bit immediately. You do have a way with words!

    Here’s mine:

  9. Madison Woods January 6, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    Doug, I thought the imagery was perfect and clear that the mc was experiencing the after-life journey when I read the second paragraph. You didn’t cut too close. The only part that might have been unclear was that the dog was one from his youth and not one he knew currently or that might have even been with him in the car when the accident ocurred. maybe that detail isn’t even necessary to know, though.

    Every winter when it snows I trie to get a photo of the stretches that haven’t been disturbed yet. It’s so hard to do when Badger and Bobbie Sue (another dog that was far ahead in the photo) run in front of me. There’s just something about the untrodden path that I love.

    My story is there now, too 🙂

  10. Susan Wenzel (@SusanWenzel) January 6, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    Oh! I got shivers. Good one, Doug. I especially liked the line, “spring to life in the mind of a child and which exist forever in the memory of an adult”…

    Aloha to you too,

    PS – I once, a long time ago, in an effort to stay in Hawaii, submitted a resume to the Keck Observatory.

  11. parul January 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    “exploring the wild lands that spring to life in the mind of a child and which exist forever in the memory of an adult.”

    Very poignant and deep. Kudos! 🙂

  12. John Hardy Bell January 6, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    Wow, dude. Did I ever miss your writing. Beautiful piece. Bet it makes you yearn to be State-side with all the snow! 🙂

    • dmmacilroy January 7, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

      Hi John,

      Sorry to get back to you so late. Strange as it may seem I have been standing outside in the cold on top of a foot of snow for the last four nights where I work so, no, I don’t wish I was back on the mainland (that’s what we call it since we’ve been a State for a while now:)

      Thanks for reading and where have you been that you are now back from? I, too, have missed your presence and writing every Friday since you vanished.

      Speaking of which, I’m off to find out if you’ve submitted something for Madison’s wintery photo.



  13. Siobhan Muir January 6, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    Wow, haunting, and beautifully written. Well done. 🙂

    • dmmacilroy January 7, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

      Dear Siobhan,

      I’m sorry you didn’t have time to write a 100 words for us this week. Looking forward to reading something from you in 6 days.

      Happy New Year!



  14. writingbothsides January 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    Nicely subtle and expressive. Good imagery.

    Here’s mine:

    • dmmacilroy January 7, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

      Working your way down the list, I see. I left you a comment after reading The Weight. Hope you can help me. I’m groggy, I guess.

      Thanks for reading. Looking forward to your reply.



  15. justlyd January 8, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    I love the idea of Sasha coming to lead him into the afterlife. There is something very calming about that after the jolt of knowing a car accident has occurred. I think snow is soothing anyway and the first part of the story and the last serve as a sort of blanket to muffle- it’s death but I’m not saddened by it because a new adventure is hinted at. I think this could be a very interesting read if you chose to expand upon it.

    • dmmacilroy January 9, 2012 at 2:23 am #

      Dear Lyd,

      Yours was a very nice comment, soothing in its own way, and I thank you for it. He is not saddened by his death, being a realist and, having been eased through the realization of his transition by Saha’s appearance, he is accepting and even excited. His acknowledgement of this is why he says, “the dog was a nice touch.”

      I’m looking forward to reading more of your work. May the new year be a creative as well as productive one for you.



  16. elmowrites January 9, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    Sorry I’m late.

    Beautiful and moving as is so often true of your stories, Doug. Mine’s at if you want to take a look.

    • dmmacilroy January 9, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

      Thank you. (I always want to take a look!) See you next Friday.



  17. Robin Hawke January 9, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    Love the last sentence and how it charged a beautiful tone, Robin

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