20 Jun

100 words for Friday Fictioneers, inspred by the photo prompt below, a snapshot of my heart this day.  What price duty, honor, and love?

I hold to the first, retain the second, and have lost the third. From this day forward my life will be a study of endurance in the empty space between.


“The old ways are dead, Annika.”

“The old guard is not.”

“No, but their time approaches. Name one thing you owe them.”

“Allegiance, Gustav. I swore an oath….”

“Keep it and you’ll be shot like a dog when the palace is taken.”

“I’ll not leave my post tomorrow.”

“Then your life will be forfeit. Is there anything you hold more dear?”

“Honor.….and you.”

“Hjärtat, the revolution cannot be stopped. Will you not reconsider?”

“Will you?”

Annika’s tears ceased with the dawn. When the mob charged, she prayed for courage, stood her ground, and put a bullet between her brother’s eyes.

70 Responses to “Allegiance”

  1. Sandra June 20, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    Lovely story Doug, she put duty above love in the end. Nice work. I hope you’re not embedded in the dark place your introduction and categories suggest. Thinking of you.

    • dmmacilroy June 20, 2013 at 10:22 am #

      Dear Sandra,

      Thanks for reading and reaching out. I am not embedded. Every waking second of this life is it’s own little miracle. I am and have been blessed to be here.



  2. kathils June 20, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    Wow. A very powerful piece.

    • dmmacilroy June 20, 2013 at 10:41 am #

      Dear Kathils,




  3. Erinleary June 20, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    Your words have been missed. I’m glad to see you here and hope you are well. Powerful, dark, and moving.

    • dmmacilroy June 20, 2013 at 10:58 am #

      Dear Erin,

      Thank you for liking my meditation on the photo prompt. I’ve missed being around. Looking forward to finding your story.



  4. rochellewisoff June 20, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    Dear Doug,

    I’m pleased to feel, once more, the wind through the ironwoods.

    A deeply moving story and the title “Allegiance ” is perfect on more than one level. Annika must decide where lies her strongest allegiance, blood or honor. Well written as I’d expect. Your bullet nailed me between the eyes.



    • dmmacilroy June 20, 2013 at 11:08 am #

      Dear Rochelle,

      What a sweet comment. I appreciate your reading and your understanding.



  5. Perry Block (@PerryBlock) June 20, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    Wow! A great deal of impact for a few words. I feel wrung out! Very good work.

    • dmmacilroy June 20, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

      Dear Perry,

      Thank you for visiting this old campaigner.



      • dmmacilroy June 22, 2013 at 9:16 am #

        P.S. Perry, I just read your story this week. Sentinel was great. Captchas would not let me in. I think they know I pee in the ocean…

  6. misskzebra June 20, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    Having come from a religious family, this strikes a chord with me. Blind faith and a sense of “duty” could have torn my family apart. Thankfully we know what is most important.

    Other families are not so fortunate.

    • dmmacilroy June 20, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

      Dear Misskzebra,

      I’m glad Allegiance struck a chord with you and gladder still that your took the time to tell me. Thank you.



  7. JKBradley June 20, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    Blood is thicker than water, except when a powerful notion takes hold.

    Great story, Doug.

    • dmmacilroy June 20, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

      Dear JK,

      Thanks for saying so, sir.



  8. Kent June 20, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    As usual, Doug, the writing is spare, smart, full good things. Glad to see your story on this blog, too!!! Been awhile.

    How’s the script going?


    • dmmacilroy June 20, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

      Dear Kent,

      Still in development hell, but we’re continuing to edit and improve it. Fingers crossed.



  9. Ron June 20, 2013 at 1:20 pm #


    Looking at the photo, it must have been a very dark and brooding day in Stockholm.

    Perhaps Annika held dear to a 4th element, country. As the mob charged up from the docks, hell bent on attacking Drottingholm, she did her as duty as she saw fit and ended the love of her life.

    Doug, I am worried about you. Time to call upon the watchers on the wall and the keepers of the light.

    • dmmacilroy June 20, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

      Dear Ron,

      I am the watcher on the wall and the keeper of the light. Thanks for reading and expressing yourself so eloquently. And don’t worry, I have reasons to endure.



      • Ron June 21, 2013 at 9:37 am #

        And endure you shall, for you are the senior Merritt in the Islands.

  10. elmowrites June 20, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    Doug, it’s fantastic to see you paddling in the FF waves again – I hope it’s the start of a few more posts, even if you’re not able to give us something every week.
    As before, your words are finely chosen, carefully ordered and powerfully conveyed. The story builds from the first word as we learn more and more of the picture surrounding Annika, then the last sentence wraps it up with a bullet between the eyes.
    Round of applause from me


    • dmmacilroy June 21, 2013 at 12:05 am #

      Dear Jennifer,

      You’ve got me choppin’ in tall cotton again. I appreciate your comments and the ‘welcome back’ embrace.



      • elmowrites June 21, 2013 at 12:23 am #

        Excuse the foreigner, Doug, but I had to look that phrase up. Sounds like a good thing though, so I’m glad.

  11. Helena Hann-Basquiat June 20, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    That was powerful stuff, darling. Such resolve, and such a strong voice for the writing.

    • dmmacilroy June 22, 2013 at 6:54 am #

      Dear Helena,

      Thank you for taking the time to read Allegiance and for mentioning it in your blog. Your simple act of kindness added fuel to my lamp and keeps the light burning still.



  12. sustainabilitea June 20, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    This wonderful story sounds just like something written by an old friend who used to write spot-on stories regularly for the Fictioneers. He would be proud of you. His name was Doug. 🙂

    As for duty, honor and love, may you retain the two you have and gain the third.

    Welcome back,


    • dmmacilroy June 22, 2013 at 6:58 am #

      Dear Janet,

      You are sweet. Thank you for your kind comments. This guy Doug sounds cool. I’ll have to look him up and see how he did that.

      And thank you for your wish re the three. On watch.

      And for the welcome back. Feels good.



  13. brainsnorts June 20, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    loved him enough to take a difficult action and spare him the pain.

    • dmmacilroy June 20, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

      Dear Rich,

      Strange how those two four letter words are entwined down through the years. Thanks for reading and commenting.



  14. Mike June 20, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

    Too often people seem to forget that there are things more meaningful than self-preservation. I fear that increasingly honor and duty are becoming some of the rarest qualities to find.

    Thanks for the words, Doug.

    • dmmacilroy June 20, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

      Dear Mike,

      Thanks for dropping by to read. Your visit means a great deal to me because my stories garner strength through imagining my friends reading them. Keep carrying the fire, Mike.



  15. rgayer55 June 20, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

    Enjoyed it very much, Doug. A powerful piece, very moving.

    • dmmacilroy June 22, 2013 at 6:59 am #

      Dear Russell,

      Thank you, my friend. I appreciate your words.



  16. lingeringvisions June 20, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

    Oh my, that was disturbing. It certainly caught me off guard.

    • dmmacilroy June 22, 2013 at 7:01 am #

      Dear Dawn,

      Off guard? The sergeant arms will have you on report for that. Be careful. Thank you for reading and commenting.



  17. sandraconner June 20, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    Such a powerful story, Doug. And so well told — as always. No excess baggage. Just truth. Unfortunately, it’s a truth that has taken place a number of times throughout the ages of man — and will, I fear, take place again.

    I was just thinking about you yesterday and wondering about why I hadn’t seen any new stories from you recently. I didn’t see any posts on your site that shed light on the reason, so I assumed you must be busy. Some weeks I just can’t do it all, and I’m sure it’s the same with you. However, I was a little troubled by your introduction to this week’s story. There are so many ways that one can “lose love,” and each of those ways carries its own unique pain. I’m sorry to think of you experiencing such pain.

    But I was also struck particularly by your description of your life as “a study of endurance in the empty space between,” because I thought how powerfully your entire header seems to echo that description. As a whole it makes one feel suspended between two worlds, and the smaller header photo itself definitely puts one into an “empty space between.” I think I’ve mentioned to you before that I was very impressed with that header, but today I was just amazed at the perfect marriage of your words and pictures.

    • dmmacilroy June 22, 2013 at 7:27 am #

      Dear Sandra,

      Your reflection on my story and recent absence from the FF fold is both touching and appreciated.

      I have been trying to re-order my life with the main objective being a stronger focus on work that will pay the freight. To some extent I am winning that battle, but Chaos and Entropy are stout foes so the outcome remains in doubt.

      Endurance is as much a part of my life now as it was for Shackleton in 1914-1917. I fear it will remain so. I live in the sub-tropics but labor in the cold and dark at high altitude. Love? Loss? Pain? Each is different from one person to the next. Mine shall remain known but to a few empathetic friends. A dear and good soul from the Faroes always says (and it is true) “It’s a hard life.”) But he says it with a smile that lets you know you have no choice, if you wish to continue living it, to endure. The flip-side of the above words are, Love! Life! and Joy! I am thankful I am alive to see the majesty of this beautiful Universe and to be aware of my place in it. Cog in the wheels, seaweed in the gyre, dust in the wind, yes to all, but what a view, if you just open your eyes and see.

      I am happy to hear that you see deep into my header and will leave it at that. Thank you for saying that you like it.

      And, as well, thank you for taking the time to reach out and talk. Good conversations are like diamonds in the rough. This one glitters nicely in the dust.



  18. EagleAye June 20, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

    Oh that’s heart-wrenching. But I imagine similar things have happened in the history of human conflict. You captured deep feelings in a very short space. Most impressive!

    • dmmacilroy June 20, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

      Dear EagleAye,

      Was it Willa Cather who said that, “There are only three human stories and they go on repeating themselves.”? The human condition is that we keep having to relearn the same lessons. Thank you for reading and commenting.



      • EagleAye June 20, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

        Truer words were never spoken.

  19. ~L June 20, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

    Wow, that’s potent word smithing. I ache for these players in the story. with such economy of expression in life, perhaps their ghosts will find time for love over duty….? glad to see your story feed fed, Doug.

    • dmmacilroy June 20, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

      Dearest L,

      Duty is an unrelenting taskmaster and honor seems a hollow reward. You are kind to share your thoughts about the players in this story. In my dreams their ghosts are dancing.

      Mahalo nui loa,


  20. valeriedavies June 20, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

    Dear Doug, it was so good to see your name in the e-mails. I had been wondering how you were, and if you would ever feel like coming back!
    In those few beautifully chosen words you’ve given me enough food for thought as though you’d written a novel… so many layers of meaning.
    I think I’ve always had a sense of those words you began with, but I won’t say more, for fear of intruding on your inner life…just to let you know I honour you for the integrity, dignity and beauty of what you reveal here…

    • dmmacilroy June 20, 2013 at 11:44 pm #

      Dear Valerie,

      Please know that I feel the same about you. You are a seer with quiet strength and I love you for all that you say and do not. Your presence and your writing are always near to my heart, especially in the long hours before the dawn.

      Kia ora,


      • The Writers Village June 21, 2013 at 1:04 am #

        Glad to see you back, Doug.
        Great story. The decisions that men and women have to make in life are often tragic, and more likely than not,determined by others; our feelings of loyalty and duty being imposed by outside forces. This is a tragedy, and a travesty, as there are higher values that we often miss, and life is lessened by our answering to them rather than our own inner core. Your story makes me want to cry out. Randy

      • dmmacilroy June 21, 2013 at 5:21 am #

        Dear Randy,

        Thank you for writing such a nice comment re Allegiance. Sometimes duty adhered to keeps society strong. Other times it is simply a waste. It is up to us to make sure we teach our children the difference. I appreciate you visiting and reading.



      • valeriedavies June 22, 2013 at 10:56 pm #

        I’ve been run over by life, hence my tardy acknowledgement of your beautiful words…

        Namste, dear friend

      • dmmacilroy June 23, 2013 at 1:23 am #

        Dearest Valerie,

        Anything I can do from a distance? Tell you that you are dear to me and not to stand in the middle of life’s road?

        Thank you so much for being there. (And you’re never considered ‘tardy’ from this end.)

        Get better, get well, get up. Life is a blind driver so watch out for it while you’re out and about.



      • valeriedavies June 23, 2013 at 2:40 am #

        Dear Doug… love that phrase, life is a blind driver!!!

        Thank you for your loving thoughts… they mean a great deal to me…

        Yes, life’s road is a bit bumpy at the moment, even without my dentist’s dramas.

        I’m going to have to grasp a nettle I hoped to avoid, and until I do, I’ll go on being hurt. I may make things worse, but at least I’ll have been true to myself.

        But there’s no way round life, and dodging the issues just makes them boomerang I find…

        Thinking of you in your lovely island paradise, with love, Valerie

  21. tedstrutz June 21, 2013 at 1:41 am #

    Not a lot of time for reading this week, but when I saw a Message from the Mountain… I could not say No. I’m glad I didn’t… the IronMan has not lost his touch… I knew he would be back, and I’m glad I was here.

    • dmmacilroy June 21, 2013 at 5:15 am #

      Dear Ted,

      You’d enjoy it on the summit these days. 40 degrees and balmy, little wind and 9 hour nights. Thanks for reading and welcoming me back in such a kind fashion. Looking forward to finding your story tonight.



  22. Rishal June 21, 2013 at 3:44 am #

    Such strong resolve! In these flippant times, how many would forsake loved ones for duty bound honour and allegiance?
    Great story Doug. Worth a double read 🙂

    • dmmacilroy June 21, 2013 at 5:13 am #

      Dear Rishal,

      Only those with such resolve are going to weather the storm brought on by those without. Thank you for reading twice. I’ll find your story tonight and see you again then.



  23. unspywriter June 21, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    You’re back! I hadn’t seen your great stories in so long! And this one is sad and beautiful and poignant and all those other adjectives that say, “Great job!”

    Here’s mine:

    • dmmacilroy June 26, 2013 at 9:39 am #

      Dear Maggie,

      Thank you. And thanks for writing such a great ‘guard’ story this week.



  24. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) June 21, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

    Doug, Nice to see you back, and telling a story about peaceful Stockholm. The end was really a cruel twist.

    Many greetings from a solstice Sweden (and I have missed you on FF)

    • dmmacilroy June 26, 2013 at 9:01 am #

      Dear Bjorn,

      Your tale and mine were linked by duty. Thank you for the kind welcome back. I love Sweden.



  25. Sarah Ann June 22, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

    Such a strong and sad story. Their sibling love was evident, a great pity they were on different sides. Good to see you back Doug. 🙂

    • dmmacilroy June 26, 2013 at 9:37 am #

      Dear Sarah,

      Thanks for your kind welcome back. I’m glad Allegiance resonated with you enough for you to comment.



  26. The Bumble Files June 22, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

    It’s great to see you here again, I always enjoy your writing. Doug. Powerful piece. I was sad to see the tragic end.

    • dmmacilroy June 26, 2013 at 9:33 am #

      Dear Amy,

      I loved you story, Chess Piece. And thank you very much for your kind comments on my return effort.



  27. Dee June 23, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    Dear Doug
    It was so lovely to see your name up there again, I have really missed reading your stories. I cannot imagine having to chose between Allegiance to my family or my cause. In this world there are many who put their ’cause’ before all else, some call them brave …

    • dmmacilroy June 26, 2013 at 9:06 am #

      Dear Dee,

      Thank you for your sweet welcome back. i’ve missed being here. Something about the prompt spoke to me….

      Loved your story too.



  28. David Stewart June 25, 2013 at 12:30 am #

    what a tragic story, although one that must play out in civil wars all over the world. That would be a hard choice to make. You did a wonderful job with it.

    • dmmacilroy June 26, 2013 at 8:52 am #

      Dear David,

      Would that Annika was standing guard in your snow globe story instead, eh? Thanks for visiting.



      • David Stewart June 26, 2013 at 9:17 am #

        Yeah, it would a stranger, yet less complicated world inside a snow globe. If only we could choose where we started out in life.

  29. Joe Owens June 25, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    This is chilling Doug! She is totally committed, something we all want if our safety is at risk. I’ll bet her brother expected she would not draw down on him.

    • dmmacilroy June 26, 2013 at 9:24 am #

      Dear Joe,

      Our stories were linked in the dedication it took each of them to do their dity.




  1. The Changing of the Guards – Friday Fictioneers | Being the Memoirs of Helena Hann-Basquiat, Dilettante. - June 20, 2013

    […] tale Allegiance had my heart in my throat. Powerful […]

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