Qui Tacet Consentiere

27 May


100 words for Friday Fictioneers.

Unlike the many creatures we’ve sent, as W.S. Merwin said in For a Coming Extinction, “…to The End.”, I have returned, if only for this week, because the photograph is mine and speaks to me of teeming seas from a time long past…. No need to comment. I love you all. Aloha, D.


Silence implies Consent

(Copyright Douglas MacIlroy)

“And they lived in the oceans?” At three years of age, my daughter was just beginning to get an inkling of the world that had gone before her.

“They filled the seas, Pearl. We were once just a distant rumor to them.”

“If there were so many, where did they all go?”

“To feed us, darling.”

“Every one?”

“Some say a few still live in deep canyons where nets can’t reach, but none have been seen for many years.”

“Will they ever come back, Daddy?”

“In time perhaps.”

“When we’re gone?”


Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 12.36.25 AM

46 Responses to “Qui Tacet Consentiere”

  1. rochellewisoff May 27, 2015 at 10:56 am #

    Dear Doug,

    I’m not sure which touched me more deeply, your poignant story or W. S. Merwin’s poem. Pearl’s innocent understanding is a sucker punch. You give us much to think about, although it saddens me that it might just be too late. We’re quick to waste and slow to learn.

    As always your story has many layers and facets. It’s Lovely to see You here.



    • dmmacilroy May 27, 2015 at 11:05 am #

      Dear Rochelle,

      Thank you for using the strange statue picture. The sea will outlast us, but it will be filled with new creatures when that time comes, as the older species had no defense. We will reap the whirlwind in the end and history tailgates, so watch out.

      Nice to drop in for a story. Congratulations on the publication of your fine novel.



  2. Weltchysnotebook May 27, 2015 at 11:28 am #

    Hi Doug,

    An excellent photo prompt followed up with a very poignant story. Well told.

    • dmmacilroy May 27, 2015 at 12:33 pm #

      Dear Weltchy,

      The prompt engenders a happier mood than my story, but it needed saying. I do not consent.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



  3. elmowrites May 27, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

    Thanks for the photo, Doug, and for your beautiful if terrible story. I had a feeling reading it, that it was about something other than pleisiosaurs … cod, perhaps, or fish in general. It doesn’t matter, though; it speaks to a general habit of humanity to over-take and forget to give. I fear we won’t learn in time, but Pearl is right, our lives here are short compared to the world we have borrowed. It will bounce back when we’re not here to see it.

    • dmmacilroy May 27, 2015 at 12:38 pm #

      Dear Jennifer,

      The subject was left as unclear as the end result is final. In this story I speak for every species in the seas for they are all at risk.

      Your kind comment is spot on and tells me that you are one of those who sees. I hope you will teach Sebastian what you know and I hope his generation will spearhead the recovery that will span many more generations to come. It will be worth the work.

      Pleasure to see you grace these pages.



  4. aliciajamtaas May 27, 2015 at 12:21 pm #

    Doug, so very nice to see you back, if only briefly. Seems we both went the same sad route with your delightful photo prompt. I have a feeling not much has a chance to survive until we’re all gone. Cheers! Alicia

    • dmmacilroy May 27, 2015 at 12:42 pm #

      Dear Alicia,

      You are, sadly, right. “..we who follow invented forgiveness…and forgive nothing.” All will fall before our rapacious ways…and then it will be our turn. And everyone’s lament…”What did I do?” will fade away over the empty gray waves.

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I am fortunate to have such a reader as you.

      Many Mahalos.



  5. gahlearner May 27, 2015 at 12:54 pm #

    I don’t have kids, but I think it must be very difficult moments for parents, or caregivers, to explain to children why we took so little care of our world. A great, thought-provoking story. And I loved the picture, and the statue, thanks for letting us play with it.

  6. wildbilbo May 27, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

    I think it was the Captain of the Sea Shepard said “If the oceans die, we die.” Your story adds a sad human touch to this.

    Nicely done.

  7. Suzanne Joshi May 27, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

    Good piece, Doug. It is terrible how many natural things we’ve brought to an end. But as Jennifer wrote, nature will probably bounce back when we decrease. It happened during the Black Death. The sad thing for us is that we need nature, it doesn’t need us. It’s even destroyed a good bit of itself in the past. There have been the great extinctions. It bounces back, but we may find it harder depending on what we do to ourselves in future. Well written as always. Thanks for the great picture this week. 🙂 — Suzanne

  8. yarnspinnerr May 27, 2015 at 2:17 pm #

    Thanks for the prompt picture and a great story.

  9. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) May 27, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

    Oh I love this.. so true. and the fact that a 3 year old have such wisdom… they will come when we are gone.. should be written all over the place.

  10. brainsnorts May 27, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

    i thought for sure this was going to flip around, and it was going to be the sea creatures talking about the humans. but that’s just me. thanks!

  11. patrickprinsloo May 27, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

    A sad story especially as we are all helpless in the face of the industrialised fishing industry. Next thing we’ll be cutting down the rain forests.
    Great pic. Nice piece of sculpture, too.

  12. ansumani May 27, 2015 at 4:42 pm #

    The last line “When we’re gone? ” is heart-wrenching. Nicely done story and cool photo!

  13. Mama Zen May 27, 2015 at 6:09 pm #

    Well done!

  14. storydivamg May 27, 2015 at 9:57 pm #

    Well, of course, I’m going to comment.

    First, thanks for the fabulous photo this week. Second, I read your intro and breathed a sigh of relief to find that I hadn’t (as I feared before reading) been horrifically negligent in getting to your blog as of late. That’s not to say I’ll never reach that particular depth, but . . . well . . . Finally, good story, especially juxtaposed to the still frame from Finding Nemo. Haunting. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen exactly this way.

    All my best,

  15. Tracey@WhatsforDinnerDoc.com May 28, 2015 at 2:54 am #

    Thank you for the photo prompt, it gave my story a skeleton. Your writing and your concern for our oceans is commendable.
    Be well,

  16. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist May 28, 2015 at 4:33 am #

    Thanks for the photo prompt. You tell a poignant yet probably true tale. Children can put it so simply that it comes as a body blow.

  17. Margaret May 28, 2015 at 7:52 am #

    We wiipe out the past and jeopardise the future with our instrments of progress. Your story is inspiring a lot of deep thinking this week

  18. Margaret May 28, 2015 at 7:53 am #

    I meant to say that your photo is inspiring lots of deep thinking, but my itchy ‘send’ finger took over before I corrected it. I love your story, and photo. Cheers, Marg.

  19. Rosey Pinkerton May 28, 2015 at 9:19 am #

    They are watching us!
    Rosey Pinkerton’s blog

  20. draliman May 28, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

    It’s tough to explain to a kid what’s happened and is happening to all the various creatures on this planet (and why). Nice story!

  21. Liz Young May 28, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

    Post-apocolyptic story and a warning to us all.

  22. MrBinks May 28, 2015 at 3:55 pm #

    A really lovely piece, Doug.

  23. plaridel May 28, 2015 at 11:30 pm #

    it’s the cycle of life. there’s no doubt about it, they and the others in limbo will be back when we’re gone.

  24. Jan Brown May 29, 2015 at 1:49 am #

    Yes, perhaps when we are gone, the earth will right itself again.

    I’m thinking you might enjoy this story about extinction by Conor Powers-Smith entitled “Our Unfortunate Cousins.” This is from a flash fiction site devoted to speculative fiction:


    Finally, thank you very much for this week’s inspiring photo!!!



  25. Dale May 29, 2015 at 3:36 am #

    What a perfectly told story to go with your wonderful photo. ‘Tis true: out of the mouths of babes. Oft times, they understand much more when they are so young. If we’re lucky, they still care later and have not allowed their peers to lead them astray – a rare thing indeed for a teenager.

  26. David Stewart May 29, 2015 at 4:33 am #

    I love this picture and what you’ve done with it. I don’t know how, but we as humans really need a long perspective on things, where we, here and now, are not the center of everything. It’s sad to think that we’ve been the cause of so much destruction.
    Take care,

  27. Alice Audrey May 29, 2015 at 4:44 am #

    You said it.

  28. rgayer55 May 29, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    Sometimes I wonder how we got to be at the top of the food chain. When God gave man dominion, He meant stewardship. But just like everything else, we only heard the part we wanted to hear. Great post and thanks for the photo.

    • dmmacilroy May 29, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

      Dear Russell,

      We got to the “top” by being cold blooded ruthless son-of-a-bitches is how and I think the way we treat other species argues against there being any sort of god, no less one that would give us ‘dominion’ over all creatures. If this is a test, we’re flunking it.

      Good to see you and thanks for the thanks re the pic. I got lucky in having the bus driver select it. I think it reminds her of her.



      • rochellewisoff May 30, 2015 at 9:19 am #

        😯 Hey! What’s that crack supposed to mean?

      • Lauraine Ayers-briel December 8, 2016 at 6:56 am #

        Wee whispers…*we are not afraid*…shhhh

  29. afairymind May 29, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

    A great prompt, Doug, and an incredibly poignant story. Far too many species have been driven to or near extinction by humanity. I love the use of dialogue to tell the story. 🙂

  30. Nan Falkner May 30, 2015 at 4:14 am #

    When we are gone, the ones left of every species can breathe a sigh of relief! Good story and well told! Nan

    • Nan Falkner May 30, 2015 at 4:15 am #

      Dear Doug, OOOPS! I love the picture and forgot to tell you! Nan

  31. erinleary May 30, 2015 at 1:58 pm #

    Thanks for the challenge this week, Doug. You made me stretch which is good exercise. Your story is all that more powerful in its truth.

  32. hafong May 30, 2015 at 8:27 pm #

    Nice conversation between father and his little daughter. And thanks for the photo prompt. It gave me a nudge so I could write a few words again.


  33. subroto May 31, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

    Ancient societies were a lot more respectful of the environment and sustainability. We’ve lost sight of that in our desire to consume more than we need. A timely story indeed.

  34. Caely June 1, 2015 at 7:57 pm #

    The ocean ❤


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