Friday Fiction – The Knight Returns

It’s Friday, so it must be fiction time. Madison’s picture and links page are here: http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/flash-fiction/pathways/

I had a tough time with this story. I had about 500 words worth to say for this character, and really struggled to get at 100 of them with any resonance. I hope it worked for you – I’d love to hear what you think. Also, if you have time and inclination to read more, I wrote a story yesterday with two endings, and I’d love it if you could drop back and tell me which you prefered.

The Knight Returns

There was a time when the world was covered with forest, its paths cut by passing feet, not machines. Back then, I was a bold knight, and I ran through the trees slaying dragons, rescuing my sister from whatever doom I had imagined that day.

The world didn’t change, but I did.

But the adult world is a dull one; our dragons more real but less vivid. For this one day, I will draw my sword, I will mount my steed, and I will ride into the fray. For this one day, I will be the bold knight once more.

50 Comments

Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

50 responses to “Friday Fiction – The Knight Returns

  1. There’s a very convincing voice in this story – of someone who’s decided to stand and fight. Enjoyed it.

    • Thanks, Sandra. He had so much more to say, but I’m glad you got a feel for him from this snippet. It’s too easy to let our imaginations wither under the stresses of the adult world.

  2. Brandon Scott

    Awesome story. I loved the longing for the days of childhood. The death (or hibernation) of an imagination is a terrible thing. I’m glad he’s going back to fighting dragons, even if it’s only for one day.

    • Thanks Brandon. As writers, I think we’re privileged to be able to go back to the dragons whenever we want. For the rest of the world, even one day is a good start!

  3. I really like this. It is reconciling the world of the mind (a child’s view, perhaps?) with today’s reality (being an adult, slaying work dragons…). Really well done.

    http://erinleary.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/flash-friday-fiction-5/

    • I’m delighted it worked for you, Erin. That’s definitely what I was going for, but I had to cut out a big swathe of exposition, so I’m glad you still liked it.

  4. rgayer55

    Ah, the days of youth relived. Demons destroyed, battles won, damsels in distress rescued–all in a day’s work. I especially like the line “our dragons are more real, but less vivid.” There’s a lot of truth in that statement!

    http://russellgayer.blogspot.com/

    • That line is what’s left of a whole paragraph on the way the character feels about the adult world and it was the one bit I couldn’t bear to cut, so I’m glad you liked it.

  5. Good imagination. I can see why you want to expand this.

  6. Well written! How well we all know that longing for simple dramatic solutions. Where’s a dragon when you need one?

    Thanks for commenting on my version – http://newpillowbook.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/friday-fictioneers-a-walk-in-the-woods/.

  7. I really liked this. I love how you described the adult world, “more real, but less vivid.” There is much truth there. Very well done!! Thank you for coming by to comment on mine. I truly appreciate it! http://theforgottenwife.com/2012/06/15/friday-fictioneers-6152012-the-watcher/

  8. I didn’t read the other comments, so I apologize if there’s any repetition 🙂

    Loved “the adult world is a dull one; our dragons more real but less vivid” but omit the “but” — you used it three words earlier.

    I would be intrigued to see the other 400 words rambling around in there. I presumed that the character’s becoming a knight once more was a rekindling of his childhood, but it would make more sense to me as a reader if he has some sort of a knightly quest (fighting against global warming, challenging a rival lover, etc.) that paralleled his early childhood days. The language was very pretty, but I didn’t feel like the words meant anything. I really wanted to know exactly what “the fray” was.

    I loved that childhood was your starting point, and I’m wondering how many other saw that in this path (’cause that’s totally where I went, too).

    • Thanks Stacey!

      Re the “but”. I know it’s repetitious, but actually I left it there deliberately, so I will have to respectfully disagree. He is musing on the fact his view of the world has changed – and then he’s going back to the view he first had. So both “but”s are changes of direction, and the pair of them in like a double negative – to stress that. If that makes sense.

      And yes, the other words did help to make it clearer what was going on. Without them, you’ll just have to make up your own mind. It seems some people have read it as him fighting the adult dragons, and some as him regressing to his childhood fantasies. It’s up to you!

  9. My thought was that he’s going to participate in a Renaissance Fair where he can dress as a Knight and fulfill those childhood dreams….Oh well, it was probably a result of my visit to one a couple of weeks ago. Standing to fight and slaying modern dragons is likely a more realistic slant.

    Nice job of revision without losing the vision. I also had 245 words written this morning before I realized it and had to do some major cutting before I could post. Here’s what’s left: http://melodypearson.com/june-15-2012-the-trails-beginning/

  10. Nice story. It’s unfortunate that sometimes the dragons we come across in adult life are much scarier than we could have ever imagined. On the other hand, often reality is better than imagination. Here’s mine: http://postcardfiction.com/2012/06/15/follow/

    • It’s funny how our adult dragons can be scarier and yet we can often be less scared, don’t you think? That was what the “more real, less vivid” line was a hint at for me anyway.

  11. I loved it. Every struggled-over word read easy and true and so, so resonant. Thanks for putting in the effort.

    Kathy
    http://notforallmarkets.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/breadcrumbs/

  12. This works on a lot of levels. First, that we don’t know he’s talking about something he imagined until the end of that first bit is a really nice touch, just a subtle turn to get our attention. Then his resolution at the end is so telling that it makes me want to know what adventure he’s hatched for himself. I say keep going with it — if you’ve got more to say about this character, by all means say it!

    Brian (http://pinionpost.com/2012/06/15/arrival-in-sharesh-an-ill-omen/)

    • Thanks Brian, your comments are, as ever, inspiring. I really do think I’ll find some time to work more with this guy. He’s the first new character I’ve hit upon for a while who I actually want to follow, so it would be a shame to ditch him after today.
      And i’m so delighted someone got the whole “world used to be covered with forest” twist, because that was much stronger in the old version, and I was sad to leave it behind.

  13. I love the idea of the knight rescuing her sister — it is very fulfilling and lovely when siblings show care and love for each other. I have an older brother who is now working overseas, and this prompt reminded me of him — one who also fights and rescues a sister in times of doom! an inspiring prompt it is… Well, here’s mine http://writeforacause.org/2012/06/15/friday-fictioneers-one-road-two-souls/

    • WriteForACause! I just found your comment in my spam folder – sorry about the delay. I will beat my naughty over-zealous spam filter now and check out your story too.

  14. why this one day? what’s happening?

    • Do you really want to know, Rich? Well, if you do, here’s the full story. For you and anyone else who was frustrated by the lack of clarity.

      The narrator has come back to his childhood home as an adult, and is back in the forest where he used to play. Now he realises that the forest is a small one and that the world is much bigger, with real problems not mythical ones. Tomorrow, he will have to go back to work, and adult problems, but just for today he’s decided to revisit his childhood fantasies and the monsters he can defeat in his mind.

  15. I like this. The nostalgia of it is striking. I wonder what is making him become the knight again. What is the dragon that he is going to slay? Fascinating! Mine’s here: http://marilynkaydennis.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/madison-woods-friday-fictioneers-witch

  16. Well done! Sometimes those dragons need slaying no matter what your age.
    mmine is here: http://oldentimes.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/fridat-fictioneers/

  17. The child in us never really disappears completely. I hope there’s someone to play pretend Knight with, though. At a certain age, one’s state of mind becomes questionable when they don’t have an alibi for such a game.

    Here’s mine: http://logo-ligi.com/2012/06/15/six-oclock/

  18. I often feel this way. I suppose it’s part nastolgia, part feeling like a rat in a race.

    http://thebradleychronicles.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/flash-fiction-friday-letting-go/

  19. Lora Mitchell

    I enjoyed your story. It became much clearer after reading your explanation to Rich …with deeper meaning after reading Russell’s comments. I’d like to see you expand it. Here’s mine:
    http://www.triplemoonstar.blogspot.com

    • Thanks for stopping by, Lora, and for reading all the comments. I decided to give more of an explanation there, because I was sad to have to cut so much of the text. Maybe I’ll write out a longer version soon.

  20. Unlike Lora, I liked it better before reading your explanation to Rich; ambiguity, when handled properly (as you have in your condensed version), is a powerful tool. For example, I envisioned our knight as having made at least a temporary decision to abandon those “matters of consequence” with which adults become so enamored (hats off to St. Exupery) … and am amazed at how many different conclusions others drew! Hey … this knight can decide to go off and fight predator drones, which are described with a little detail at http://scottcheck.blogspot.com/2012/06/no-escape.html. Thanks for your nice words, by the way.

    • I agree about ambiguity, and I’m delighted that you thought I handled it well – thank you! – but at the same time it’s also nice to have things confirmed sometimes by the author, which is why I put that in a comment. I think the longer version would have made it all clearer, but maybe there’s a place for both!

  21. rochellewisoff

    Ah. Your explanation just confirmed what I already saw. Loved the adult longing for childhood when slaying pretend dragons was simple. Adult dragons aren’t so easy to kill. Sorry I’m late getting around the list. Day job and the dragons that go along with that.
    http://www.rochelle-wisoff.blogspot.com/2012/06/mothers-gift.html

  22. Pingback: Sir Dreamalot Rides Again | elmowrites

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