Snow Angel

11 Mar

One hundreds words for Friday Fictioneers based on the photo prompt below by Sandra Crook.


Frost on a stump. Sandra Crook.

(Copyright Sandra Crook)

On the morning of my sixth birthday they were fighting again.

I took my Flexi-flyer to the estuary and hurled myself down chaotic tilted slabs of tidal floes and out onto the thinner ice of the river, which popped and cracked behind me as I passed.

At day’s end, cold, wet and tired, I felt something soft brush my eyelid. I lay down on the sled and looked up. Flakes the size of quarters spiraled from a featureless gray sky.

As the new snow fell silently with the night I closed my eyes and wondered whether they would miss me.




94 Responses to “Snow Angel”

  1. rochellewisoff March 11, 2015 at 8:41 am #

    Dear Doug,

    The mom in me wants to take that child in my arms and tell him he’s loved. Sad, heart-stopping, gut wrenching good writing.



    • dmmacilroy March 11, 2015 at 8:44 am #

      Dear Rochelle,

      That little boy thanks you.



  2. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) March 11, 2015 at 8:43 am #

    There is nothing quite as lonely as being on a sledge playing by yourself.. I can actually remember moments like this from being a child.. love how you made me remember those days of loneliness.. there is something bitter-sweet in that feeling.

    • dmmacilroy March 11, 2015 at 8:46 am #

      Dear Bjorn,

      It seems to me that we might have a lot of memories in common. I’m glad you made it back. Thanks for reading and commenting.



  3. Suzanne Joshi March 11, 2015 at 9:56 am #

    Sad but lovely story, Doug. It’s a shame that some parents are so full of their own troubles that they don’t notice their child is also suffering. You painted a word picture we could all see. Well done as always. — Suzanne

    • dmmacilroy March 11, 2015 at 7:22 pm #

      Dear Suzanne,

      Thanks for seeing the picture. Parents are so often too close to their own stories to see the effects of their actions on those around them. I appreciate you dropping by to read and comment.



  4. patrickprinsloo March 11, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

    That is very sad. Obviously he survived, but I wonder whether his parents helped him with that.

    • dmmacilroy March 11, 2015 at 7:20 pm #

      Dear Patrick,

      You are a born optimist, aren’t you? The POV is from the boy’s eyes as night falls with the snow after a long day out in the cold and wet. I suggest to you that at the very least, something died that night. Thanks for reading and hoping. I appreciate you taking the time to do so and comment.



  5. Snow's Fissures and Fractures March 11, 2015 at 12:57 pm #

    Oh no, this is heartbreaking. Imagine the life that begets so much sadness in a such a young soul…Masterfully written, as usual.

    • dmmacilroy March 11, 2015 at 7:16 pm #

      Dear Lore,

      Thank you for your kind comment. As for imagination, if it had played much of a part in this story, I don’t think I could have gotten it right.



  6. Sandra March 11, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

    Heartbreaking, truly. Parents never understand the legacy that friction bestows upon their off-spring. It might be just a tiff to an adult, but for a child it often seems like the end of the world, and more often that not their fault. Beautifully done without being cloying or sentimental. Bravo!

    • dmmacilroy March 11, 2015 at 7:14 pm #

      Dear Sandra,

      Why is it that parents have children? I’ve never really understood that part of life. It is quite an effective system for producing more of the same and the world is suffering for it.

      Thanks for your kind words re the writing and the content. I do so love to know that you’ve visited and lingered long enough to comment.



  7. sustainabilitea March 11, 2015 at 1:42 pm #

    Sandra expressed what I was thinking. Children can also take that friction on themselves, feel that it’s their fault. At the very least, they feel uncomfortable and that their world is unstable. The sledding image brought back many good memories for me. It saddens me that there are cities now making sledding against the law because of the threat of lawsuits.

    Kudos, Doug!


    • dmmacilroy March 11, 2015 at 7:11 pm #

      Dear Janet,

      Cities are full of people and lawyers and there is no hope for all three. Robert Heinlein said it best when he coined the phrase..”Plenty of elbow room is better.” Thanks for reading and revisiting the past with me. I’m glad you were a sledder. So much fun in the good old days.



  8. storydivamg March 11, 2015 at 2:17 pm #

    Dear Doug,
    What a sweet, sad, powerful story you’ve served up this week! I have no more I could possibly add.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

    • dmmacilroy March 11, 2015 at 7:08 pm #

      Dear Marie,

      Thank you for adding what you did. I appreciate it.



  9. lingeringvisions by Dawn March 11, 2015 at 3:59 pm #

    Heartbreaking, as a mother and as a woman who was once a child.

    • dmmacilroy March 11, 2015 at 7:07 pm #

      Dear Dawn,

      We are all still children, out there alone, hoping to be loved. Thanks for reading and taking the time to share your thoughts.



      • lingeringvisions by Dawn March 11, 2015 at 7:24 pm #

        Geez Doug..easy on my heart. I’m quite the sentimental one as it is!

  10. elmowrites March 11, 2015 at 6:15 pm #

    Aww, I love how you took us on an adventure of dreams and then made it into the stuff of nightmares with those last few words. I wish I could tell that little boy it was all going to be OK, but let’s just hope the night and the snow blanket him enough to discover the future for himself.
    This is you at your best, Doug – the descriptions are stunning, the tone is right on point and the story is exactly the right length for your 100 word telling of it.

    • elmowrites March 11, 2015 at 6:16 pm #

      PS I don’t like the title. But only because it suggests my hopes are misplaced.

      • dmmacilroy March 11, 2015 at 7:06 pm #

        Dear Jennifer,

        I’ve always said that titles add another hundred words to the story. I’m sensing in the comments a strong need for the boy to have survived and the title suggests otherwise, doesn’t it? The interpretations of stories are like snowflakes…no two alike…so I’m just going to leave it where it landed in everyone’s hearts and minds. The sun is out there somewhere, above the clouds. Spring is coming.

        Thanks for reading and commenting, Jennifer. I’m glad you saw this snow angel in time.



  11. siobhanmcnamara March 11, 2015 at 9:05 pm #

    Chilling story Doug, all the more so for being very close to the bone for all the hurt children who are now in adult bodies but still lying in the snow as night falls, or curled up in a dark corner crying silent tears, or wherever that pain that won’t quite let them go takes them. Very well written as always

  12. Priceless Joy March 11, 2015 at 9:09 pm #

    Beautiful yet such a sad story. Makes me want to take his parents and shake some sense into them. How lonely and said that little boy is. The way you wrote this story is almost magical. Almost.

  13. Priceless Joy March 11, 2015 at 9:10 pm #

    Ooops, sorry. Sad not said. How lonely and sad that little boy is. My fingers got ahead of my brain.

  14. Properly Ridiculous March 11, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

    There is so much description here with such few words – it’s admirable. I feel sad for this child… but, it also showed some of the innocent joy a kid can have even when in a less than desirable situation – when he saw the snowflake.
    Wonderful story.

    • dmmacilroy March 11, 2015 at 10:18 pm #

      Dear PR,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment so kindly re Snow Angels and for seeing that he was just a boy at heart, sledding all day even when in so much pain. Sometimes that’s all we can do, right?



  15. tedstrutz March 11, 2015 at 10:28 pm #

    I thought you hit all the marks with this one, Doug. Aloha!

    • dmmacilroy March 11, 2015 at 10:36 pm #

      Dear Ted,

      Thank you, sir. I appreciate you taking a look and sharing your thoughts.



  16. hafong March 12, 2015 at 12:42 am #

    Childhood can be a lonely place and time. You’ve captured it well.


    • dmmacilroy March 12, 2015 at 9:53 am #

      Dear Lily,

      Thank you for saying so.



  17. Oh Danny Boy March 12, 2015 at 2:50 am #

    Powerful 100 words! Still stinging from that last line. Reading this and the comments it seems like a lot of us felt like that. Me included. I must have suppressed that mental moment from my childhood. Thanks (I think) for bringing it back.


    • dmmacilroy March 12, 2015 at 9:55 am #

      Dear DJ,

      You’re welcome, I think. I’ve many memories from a long string of cold, dark winter days. I wonder how many of us Friday Fictioneer types carry the same baggage? Thanks for reading and commenting.



  18. March 12, 2015 at 3:01 am #

    I liked like the thrill and fast pace of sliding but the ending left me with little shards of ice in my heart. Well done.

    • dmmacilroy March 12, 2015 at 9:56 am #

      Dear Tracey,

      Thank you for dropping by to read and comment. I loved your story this week.




  19. i b arora March 12, 2015 at 5:20 am #

    something hurts you when you read such a story, keep it up

    • dmmacilroy March 12, 2015 at 9:58 am #

      Dear i b arora,

      Thanks, I will try.



  20. gahlearner March 12, 2015 at 11:13 am #

    Very sad, hypothermia is deceptive. This child could have been me, too. I can’t add more than was already said. For a chuckle, I did have to look up flexi-flyer because at first I thought this was a sci-fi story. Mind you, with hi-tech gear, the kid could have survived. 😀

    • dmmacilroy March 12, 2015 at 5:32 pm #

      Dear Gahlearner,

      You are right about the hypothermia. It sneaks up on you and feels, oh, so peaceful and warm. I wondered about the recognition factor re Flexi-flyer but decided to stay true to my memory.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



  21. unwindthechaos March 12, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

    Oh god! Way too sad, I wish I could go and get him before it’s too late.
    Great writing btw, you portrayed a lot of emotions and engaged us wonderfully.

    • dmmacilroy March 12, 2015 at 5:35 pm #

      Dear Unwoundchaos,

      Thanks for sharing your love and your thoughts. It’s heartwarming to know the grey is filled with caring people like you.



  22. aliciajamtaas March 12, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

    Your story leaves a cold spot right in the middle of my heart. I want to take this little guy and set him by the fire and give him a hot cup of chocolate. Beautifully done.

    • dmmacilroy March 12, 2015 at 5:29 pm #

      Dear Alicia,

      I must confess that in real life, long after I lay down on my sled to rest after the sun disappeared, someone took my unresponsive self on the sled right back to the sledding hill where I’d spent the day and where a warm fire burned in a barrel. They did feed me hot chocolate and figured out who I was and where I lived and, though I don’t remember how, I did finally return home.

      Truth is stranger than fiction.

      Thank you for caring for that young lad and for wishing him warmth and wellbeing. Can love reach across time and effect those who most need it? I think perhaps the answer is yes.



      • MythRider March 16, 2015 at 12:07 am #

        Every life is precious.
        Even though I don’t know you personally, I’m glad you were saved and all that you have to offer was not lost.
        Blessings, long life and very much love (from family & friends) to you,

  23. singleworkingmomswm March 12, 2015 at 4:58 pm #

    Well, first of all, when I read the title I chuckled because the day before this story came out, I posted a photo to my Facebook page of one of my favorite places in the vineyard. The vines sit atop a hill that right now is so grassy and lush. I wrote, “Makes me want to lie down in the field and make grass angels.” But, after reading the story, my smile quickly melted into melancholy, as I knew exactly how that little boy felt, and my heart knew he was long for the world as the snow fell. I used to find places to hide away during the painful moments of my parents’ relationship at that age. I would disappear into the dusk and think similar thoughts…..”What if I just didn’t return?” I’m glad I always did, even with the trauma, and I’m also glad as a mother today I’ve been so aware of those feelings as to make sure I do my best that my daughter should never have similar ones. Powerful post, if heartbreaking. XOXO-Kasey

    • dmmacilroy March 12, 2015 at 5:23 pm #

      Dear Kasey,

      It seems Snow Angel has touched a nerve in many people. Long winter days and hard times as a child brought back memories unbidden. I am glad that you weathered the storm and learned from it. That in itself is one of the best things that can come out of a childhood fraught with feelings and experiences such as yours and mine.
      The weather here has been rainy and cloudy for two weeks and I know my S.A.D.’s is kicking in when I produce a story like this. Thank you for reading and for surviving to love your daughter as she should be loved.
      Stay warm, stay safe.



  24. Amy Reese March 12, 2015 at 5:23 pm #

    Doug, this is heart-wrenching. That second sentence is a beauty. I want to wrap this child in warmth and love. Great writing, as always.

    • dmmacilroy March 12, 2015 at 5:33 pm #

      Dear Amy,

      Thanks for the comments re the writing. As for wrapping the child in warmth and love…you have. Many mahalos for your empathy.



  25. bykimberlylynne March 12, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

    This one brought me to tears… and that simply doesn’t happen with 100 words. You’ve inspired many readers to hug their kids today – or someone, anyone – and that’s a wonderful thing. Blessings.

    • dmmacilroy March 12, 2015 at 7:34 pm #

      Dear Kimberly,

      Thanks for saying so. Hugs are an antidote for a lot of things. Thank you for dropping by to read and comment.



  26. draliman March 12, 2015 at 8:50 pm #

    The poor kid. I hope he’s missed and found, but I fear he doesn’t have long and it sounds like he’s a long way from home.
    Lovely imagery.

    • dmmacilroy March 13, 2015 at 5:23 am #

      Dear Draliman,

      Thank you for reading and becoming a part of Snow Angel. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.



  27. jwdwrites March 12, 2015 at 9:45 pm #

    Doug, that was beautiful, of course they would miss him, I hope that wasn’t you it was so real. I felt that little boys pain and I want to hug him. I hope he’s ok and he realizes he is loved. 🙂

  28. jwdwrites March 12, 2015 at 9:46 pm #

    I just read it again and I think it might well be the best FF I ever read.

    • dmmacilroy March 13, 2015 at 5:26 am #

      Dear JWD,

      I am honored. Won’t take it for granted and will keep trying to earn it. Thanks,



  29. talesfromthemotherland March 13, 2015 at 1:12 am #

    Doug, such a painfully tender story. As a mother, it touches me… and I feel such sadness for that 6 year old. There are so many of them out there, needing to be missed. Beautiful in every way.

    • dmmacilroy March 13, 2015 at 5:24 am #

      Dear Dawn,

      The world needs more mothers like you. It would be a better place for the six year olds out there in need of some love. Thank you for reading and commenting so kindly. I do appreciate it.



  30. David Stewart March 13, 2015 at 3:40 am #

    Doug, you wrote this too well, I’m afraid. What a painful story and the parents won’t realize until it’s too late. Well done.

    • dmmacilroy March 13, 2015 at 5:22 am #

      Dear David,

      Thanks for feeling the pain and sharing your thoughts on Snow Angel.



  31. Jan Brown March 13, 2015 at 5:16 am #

    I can’t think intelligently after reading your story; I am too filled with emotion. My heart is clenched tight within my chest. You are the master of meaningful stories! I am off now to take some low dose aspirin to unclench my heart.

    • dmmacilroy March 13, 2015 at 5:20 am #

      Dear Jan,

      Do unclench your heart. We can’t be having any of that for my hundred words. I appreciate you reading and commenting. Thanks for telling me that Snow Angel moved you. As for me being a master of meaningful…well, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then.

      Stay well, breathe deep.



  32. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist March 13, 2015 at 7:58 am #

    You could feel the little boys pain. Fleeing his fighting parents and taking no heed to his safety (what child does) but all the time that overpowering feeling of loneliness and lack of self value. Would they miss him? I certainly hope they did.

    • dmmacilroy March 13, 2015 at 9:06 am #

      Dear Irene,

      I hope they did, too, because somewhere they lost him and he them.

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate you taking the time to do so.



  33. Claire Fuller March 13, 2015 at 10:13 am #

    Aside from the content of the story which is heart-breaking without being cloying or sentimental, the quality of the writing is outstanding. Every word earns its place, each one is perfectly selected. You are a master writer.
    And because this story sounds a little autobiographical, I am so glad you survived that night.

    • dmmacilroy March 13, 2015 at 2:37 pm #

      Dear Claire,

      I wonder about luck sometimes, and the jeweled bearings upon which our lives turn. That night someone helped me and though I never knew who, down through the years I have not forgotten their act of kindness.

      Your words warm me in the same way, Claire. Thank you.



  34. The Writer's Village March 13, 2015 at 10:31 am #

    Of course, child, you will be missed! Do not do it. Their fighting has nothing to do with you – and yet their fighting has affected everything you do.
    Hold tight, child. Come home.Your death will help nothing. Your life means everything. Come back

    Nice work, Doug.


    • dmmacilroy March 13, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

      Dear Randy,

      Hard to hear that above the screaming.

      Thanks for reading and commenting in such a unique and uplifting way. I know he hears you.



  35. Margaret March 13, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

    Fantastic. Such powerful imagery and feeling, and so tightly constructed. Wow.

    • dmmacilroy March 13, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

      Dear Margaret,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts re Snow Angel. I appreciate it very much.



  36. Caerlynn Nash March 13, 2015 at 1:04 pm #

    Hi Doug, What a lovely, but sad, story. It’s a shame what parents do to their children sometimes without even realizing it.

    • dmmacilroy March 13, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

      Dear Caerlynn,

      And them just children themselves most likely. The cycle is a hard one to break. Than you for reading and commenting.



  37. Jorbi K March 13, 2015 at 6:47 pm #

    This is great! The writing is even more desolate than the picture. And I love the reference to the Flexi-flyer. My dad kept his from when he was a kid, and we used to ride it together when I was young.

    • dmmacilroy March 19, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

      Dear Jorbi,

      Flexi-flyer kind of dates the story, but I felt it fit nicely. Thanks for reading and commenting.



  38. rgayer55 March 13, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

    Connie and I rarely fought, but I remember one occasion when we were screaming at each other in front of the kids. They both started crying and begging us not to get a divorce. It shocked us deeply that they would even think such a thing and it woke us up to the reality that our children were more important than our petty disagreement.

    It also taught us that kids learn how to be husbands, wives, moms, and dads by observing their parents. You can certainly ruin a kid for life by setting the wrong example. Great piece of writing here, Doug.

    • dmmacilroy March 19, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

      Dear Russell,

      It takes many years of experience to finally understand what effect our actions can have on the fragile minds of our children. Sounds as though you learned early and got everything back on the right track. Thank you for your kind comments. Please say hello to Connie for me. I miss you guys.



  39. mjlstories March 13, 2015 at 10:19 pm #

    The title, the story, the tiny child in the vast landscape in the photo, even the three sad words in the tags all add up to an amazing sad story, but not one without hope – look at the love it inspires in its readers!
    All this and now I do not wish to sound churlish but I do think a more generic word instead of Flexi-flyer would be appropriate because the emotions speak to a wide audience. Not sure if I’m making sense!
    Lovely story.

    • dmmacilroy March 19, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

      Dear MJL,

      I never react in a bad way to comments. I feel they are all intended to help me as a writer and I appreciate the time and effort made to articulate them.

      As for Flexi-flyer I considered using the generic word ‘sled’ but that would have led to using it twice in the story and I could not figure out a way around it. Also, the use of Flexi-flyer dates the story and I felt the connection that many people would feel to those times outweighed the fact that some younger folks might need to Google it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



  40. erinleary March 14, 2015 at 3:36 pm #

    Heartfelt memories from childhood are great inspiration when writing. You turned your from dross to pure gold.

    • dmmacilroy March 19, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

      Dear Erin,

      I appreciate you kind comments. Thanks for reading and making my day.



  41. Emily Livingstone March 15, 2015 at 12:53 am #

    So sad! Well told.

    • dmmacilroy March 19, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

      Dear Emily,

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



  42. Inside the Mind of Isadora March 15, 2015 at 1:06 am #

    An intense story that tells of a boys lonely days. I noticed that many of the commenters can relate to the situation in your story. Many, many lonely and sad childhoods. I believe that the previous comments are saying pretty much what I would have said. A very touching and well written story
    Thank you … I enjoyed it. 😊

    • dmmacilroy March 19, 2015 at 12:21 pm #

      Dear Isadora,

      Yes, i seem to have touched a nerve with Snow Angel. Thanks for reading and commenting.



  43. AnElephantCant March 15, 2015 at 4:05 pm #

    Terrific piece of writing, Doug.

    • dmmacilroy March 19, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

      Dear AEC,

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



  44. MythRider March 16, 2015 at 12:08 am #

    Beautifully written. Too bad children have to get caught in the middle.

    • dmmacilroy March 19, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

      Dear MythRider,

      I continue to wonder why people have children and can onlyhope that we’ll get better as we move forward…

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



      • MythRider March 19, 2015 at 7:17 pm #

        Dear Doug,

        I think people have children for the hope of the future and for the love. Unfortunately we are not train in how to properly raise a child. Things become confusing. I believe parents do the best they can with who they are.
        I also believe a good number of families need a referee to help sort things out.


  45. subroto March 16, 2015 at 4:20 am #

    Sad, sweet and heartbreaking. Much to learn from this on how to write a perfect 100 word story.

    • dmmacilroy March 19, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

      Dear Subroto,

      One of the nicest comments I’ve ever received. Thank you.



  46. Dee March 17, 2015 at 3:07 pm #

    Dear Doug

    Beautifully done sir. The boy needs a huge hug and you deserve a prize for such eloquent writing. You continually raise the bar.

    Best wishes


    • dmmacilroy March 19, 2015 at 12:24 pm #

      Dear Dee,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Snow Angel. i appreciate your candor.



  47. waitingforaname March 19, 2015 at 9:21 pm #

    So sorry I missed this last week. This sweet little boy needs an angel, preferably not Angelique, to give him a hug. 😦

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