Look Closely

24 Feb

Below please find the photo prompt for this Friday’s 100 word story for Madison Woods’ FridayFictioneers. Her story is here http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/flash-fiction/grave-digger-100-words/  Leave a comment and a link to your story and then kick back and read all the submissions. Me, well, if you’re very observant you’ll be able to tell that I’m still drinking some of that tea I had left over from two weeks ago. That having been said, read the title again and do what it says. Be careful though, because once you see it, you won’t be able to unsee it.

Sweet Dreams, D.

‘Neath a quilted slab of ash gray granite the grim predator relives battles in the dark. Marrow sucked Chimera bones strewn like jackstraws litter his den. Claw gouged and tooth cracked, the scattered remnants attest to violent struggles and herald greater foes to come. He will be equal to the task, rested and ready, fresh from idyllic days of eating honey and going on adventures with his friends. He is lord of the forest and master of all its denizens.

Something scratches at the cave entrance. His nose twitches in his sleep. Testing the night air for enemies, Winnie dreams.

50 Responses to “Look Closely”

  1. Carlos Repuesto de la Tabla February 24, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    Another skilful piece of writing, Doug and another charming, whimsical ending. I have a question, probably one without answer: when I write bits like “marrow sucked bones” I tend to put a hyphen in so that it doesn’t look like a subject-verb-object, but then, I often don’t like the intrusiveness of the hyphen. Were you thinking these thoughts as you wrote?

    • dmmacilroy February 24, 2012 at 11:30 am #

      Dear Carlos,

      I wish I was smart enough to think thoughts like that as I write. Sadly, no, I was not. (If I could go back and smack myself upside the head in 7th grade english class, I would.)

      Thanks for visiting.



      • Carlos Repuesto de la Tabla February 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

        I’m not that smart, Doug. Unlike Ms Glamoura, I never read Winnie the Pooh stories – never even heard of them ’til I was in my 20s – and still haven’t, but I knew it was a Walter Mitty-ish dream. The honey should have been the giveaway, but like I said, I’m not that smart.

      • dmmacilroy February 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

        Dear Carlos,

        I feel like the hairstylist at the opening of The Rock, cringing in the elevator and asking Sean Connery if he likes his haircut. (Did you see what I saw in the photo?)

        That’s it, I’m going to post a blow up. Thanks for getting back to me.



  2. Madison Woods February 24, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    Wow. I want to know what manner of creature Winnie is. Doesn’t sound like the dreams of a horse… but it does sound like more could come of this short little story!

    • dmmacilroy February 24, 2012 at 11:33 am #

      Dear Madison,

      ‘Look closely’ and you can see Winnie in the photo prompt. His last name is Pooh… Tell me when you see him. (He’s dreaming.)



  3. Caerlynn Nash February 24, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    Very nice take on the pic. 🙂 I like the opening line.

    • dmmacilroy February 24, 2012 at 11:44 am #

      Dear Caerlynn,

      Thanks for commenting. You’re the third visitor to the cave but no one has seen what I saw yet. Ah, well, perhaps when the dust clears you’ll revisit this comment section.



  4. Lindaura Glamoura February 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    I knew it right away, Doug! I was a massive Winnie the Pooh fan, long before Disney got a hold of him. I loved his wayward adventures and grandiose dreams. All part of my early indoctrination into anglophilia, which I have now shed, but I still love those writers: a a Milne, CS Lewis, James Barrie et al…

    • dmmacilroy February 24, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

      Dear Lindaura,

      Thanks for visiting and reading. Now, what I want to know is, did you see him in the photo? (I’m thinking I need to post a blown up image just so people won’t think I’ve lost my marbles.)



  5. Joanna K Neilson February 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    Love dark ‘Winnie’ stories. This was beautifully rendered, and reminds me of James Pratt’s ‘Black Goat of the Hundred Acre Wood’ story, too. I like how ‘Winnie’ is described, coming across as a darker, sleepier version of his normally cuddly self. Left with a sense of real anticipation here, great work 🙂

  6. Craig Towsley February 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm #


    That first paragraph is like some kind of alchemy concoction, the staggered, “up and down” pacing is great. And so is the word choice/arrangement.

    Then the tone switches, and I come out of the reverie a bit though.

    But still, another great piece, Doug.

    • dmmacilroy February 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

      Thanks Craig,

      The tone switches because the dreamer’s identity is being revealed. He dreams big, gnarly dreams by night. By day, he’s, well, he’s kind of a teddy bear.



      • Craig Towsley February 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

        Came back to look and spotted his little head poking out – nice catch.

  7. elmowrites February 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    Hi Doug!

    I “got” the story and loved it. The honey gave it away for me, and then the name confirmed what I thought. But I can’t see him in the picture! Please do post the blow up and show us!

    Good story, with a nice mix of fierce and friendly. Maybe Winnie the Pooh isn’t always the cuddly teddy bear we think!

  8. bridgesareforburning February 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    Was this Winnie Cooper from that old show The Wonder Years? Kind of reminds me too of Plato’s dream about the cave and what is real and what is a dream. Very elegant and beautiful writing, which I have come to anticipate from you.
    Here’s mine: http://bridgesareforburning.wordpress.com/

  9. Quill Shiv February 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    This is wonderful, Doug! I really love that you used this as part of a cave, rather than piles of rocks. Excellent work!

    Th link to mine can be found here: http://quillshiv.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/let-flow-what-is-left/

  10. Robin Hawke February 24, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    Before I reached the word Winnie, I knew there was a disconnect between the dream and the personality of the dreamer. I don’t know how you did it. I’ve looked, but the only thing I land on is the word twitches. Well done!


  11. Jan Morrill February 24, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    Oh, I love the darkness, and the surprise at the end! (I think.) Actually, in less than 100 words, you destroyed my childhood image of Winnie, and now, I realize it could very well have been Winnie who killed my beloved Precious, the French Poodle! 🙂

    Thanks, Doug. (I think.)

    Here’s Precious’s story:


  12. susielindau February 24, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    Is it a bear or a mountain lion? I love your poetic description of the remnants from its feast!

    Here is mine~

  13. miq February 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    Well done! I loved the difference between the dreamer’s dream and the dreamer’s reality. I also really like how you took a rather sinister prompt (at least, I found it sinister) and wrote a tale of whimsy. Beautiful.

  14. Judee February 24, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    Your description of what turns out to be a dream is quite well done, and speaks of ferocities one would never suspect in our dear friend Winnie. Just goes to shwo, we all have our dark side. Excellent ending.

  15. niiko47 February 24, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    Nice take on a childhood classic! It took me a while to see him in the picture but he’s definitely there, poking his head out to take a look at the world.

    The contrast between the darker opening and the reveal at the end is excellent.

  16. Steven E.A. February 24, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    Your prose is always dense with meaning and description, and this piece is evidence of that. This even had a poetic sound to it.

  17. Janet February 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    I see it! Wow. So amazing. You are a fabulous story teller. I loved this one.

    Here is mine: http://postcardfiction.com/2012/02/24/forgotten/

  18. kbnelson February 24, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    This reads more like poetry than prose – almost like reading The Jabberwocky. Loved it!


  19. V. L. Gregory-Pohlenz February 24, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    Great piece! I had to enlarge and review the pic before I noticed the face–keen observation there, Doug! Always loved Highlights’ hidden pictures–it was fun looking for yours.

  20. Susan Wenzel (@SusanWenzel) February 24, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    Dear Doug,

    Winnie the Pooh gone rogue…I like it. “…going on adventures with his friends,” lead me to believe this story might not be what it it first appeared. Very clever, you are.


  21. TheOthers1 February 24, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    Aw. Pooh bear sleeping after he’s devoured a honeycomb. Nice. 🙂

    Is he supposed to be in the top of the picture? Near the upper edge of the rock?

  22. teschoenborn February 24, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

    Wow, very impressive. I loved it!

  23. Caely February 24, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    Dear D,

    All I have to say is: Dream a little dream.
    Here’s my take on this week’s prompt -> http://wp.me/puGD7-FB


  24. Mike February 24, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

    A great story Doug.
    I loved your description of the apparent carnage -great phrases ‘marrow sucked bones’ & ‘claw gouged and tooth cracked’. At first reading I missed the Winnie the Pooh connection, foolish of me, clever of you.
    I still can’t see the image in the picture, but I did find an etching in the small rock of a bald headed man, bright eyes, bushy eyebrows and a moustache …… or am I just imagining things?

  25. Charles Oyeleke Williams February 24, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

    Dear Doug,
    I tried to look for the cave or image of Winnie but honestly I couldn’t find it…but on the other hand I love the opening line…so, metaphoric! I further found a dose of horror and humour in good proportion…I am relishing this meal.

      • dmmacilroy February 24, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

        Dear Charles,

        I posted an enlarged picture under the heading When the Sleeper Wakes. Thanks for checking in and commenting. Has Winnie the Pooh got a fan base in your country?

        Aloha for now and always,


      • Charles Oyeleke Williams February 24, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

        Sure, some kids follow him but am such an anti-cartoon. Never heard of him until my final year at the high school when I wore a cloth that had Winnie on the front…Friends were hailing but i was like duh?!

  26. Russell February 24, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    All I can do is sigh, “Oh, bother.” I must admit I didn’t recognize Pooh in such a gray environment. The hundred acre wood must have burned down. Now, if Eeyore had been there . . .

    • dmmacilroy February 24, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

      Dear Russell,

      I posted an enlarged version of the monster sleeping here… https://ironwoodwind.wordpress.com/ Be careful not to disturb him…

      Thanks for stopping in. Just a note here. I’ll be getting to your story tonight. Getting sick. Rats. More soon.



  27. andyfloodwritersblog February 24, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    Hehe, subverting both the photo prompt and everyone’s favourite honey loving bear… well done, Doug. This is incredibly well written with some wonderful use of language; you have a unique ‘richness’ to your style. I thoroughly enjoyed both your story and the ‘Pooh’ hunt (it took a minute or so but I found him). Great fun, thanks 🙂 What’s next? Lovecraftian Poohsticks? 😉

  28. writingbothsides February 25, 2012 at 1:54 am #

    I had to work to find Pooh but finally did. I love the fierce dreams he has. Good stuff.

    Here’s mine: http://wp.me/s1Tjpv-fragile

  29. Siobhan Muir February 25, 2012 at 5:09 am #

    Whoa, a good reminder to let sleeping bears lie. Fun story, Doug. Puts a whole new spin on that lullaby “Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh…”

    Here’s mine if you care to visit:


  30. The Lime February 26, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    Heyo Doug,

    I must confess, I only read through about the first five comments because I need to keep moving along. I looked for Mr. Pooh, but couldn’t find him… then I also wondered about the first paragraph in conjunction with the awareness that Winnie is dreaming, and I found myself just a little confused. Here’s the thing: I love what you’ve written in the first paragraph and the second, but I’m struggling to make the connections. Is the sleeping Winnie both the predator and the one who shared idyllic moments with his friends?

    If you’ve already answered that, and it’s above, I’ll come back when I have more time later and don’t feel you need to repeat yourself because I’ll scan through and find it.

    If not, I would love to see this turn into three hundred words because I think you have so much going on here that it would be just delightful to come back and follow your tea-leaf mind through the world of Christopher Robin.

    Thanks as always for writing — The Lime

  31. Jake Kale February 26, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

    That is one of the most off-the-wall yet impressive examples of pareidolia I’ve ever seen! I’m glad I saw your follow-up post first, because I would never have got this otherwise. Oddly enough I’ve been going through a phase of collecting animated classics lately. First Looney Toons, then Tom & Jerry. Then I spotted some old VHS Disney movies in a charity shop, namely Bambi, The Land Before Time and Winnie the Pooh. I’m so glad I kept my video!

    Hope you’re feeling better by the way.

  32. rochellewisoff February 25, 2015 at 11:10 am #

    Dear Doug,

    Winnie dreams? Oh Pooh. You were then and still are setting the Friday Fictioneers bar very high. No wonder I stuck with it.

    Insights Lightning Yesterday



    • dmmacilroy November 17, 2016 at 8:45 am #

      Stalker! Indigo likes yummies.

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