Friday Fiction – The Fallen Hero

It’s happened again. The story I thought I was going to write isn’t the one that came out onto the page (screen). Still, the muse knows best. Perhaps she, like me, read this interesting article last week. Rochelle posted our prompt (John Nixon’s photo) a day early this week, but I decided to stick to the schedule and respond today.


The Fallen Hero

As a child, I ran through this forest with my brothers. I played in its branches, battling demons and spiders with only a wooden sword, made-up spells and what Grandfather called my ‘pluck’. I was hero and conqueror.

Now the wisdom of age has descended and I am the damsel in distress I never was then. I creep past the writhing trees, afraid of their shadows and my own. I fear the men who might lurk here, and their intentions. And I keep my own children on a leash: stay in sight, don’t wander off.

Where did the hero go?


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

40 responses to “Friday Fiction – The Fallen Hero

  1. Dee

    Oh to be a hero and conqueror again…

    Age brings many good things, but with experience and knowledge comes the realisation that we are mere mortals who have all too brief a time here.
    You have captured the youthful spirit of freedom so beautifully and then contrasted it well with the tentativeness and doubts of age.

    Well done


  2. So true. Age (and the Daily Mail) turns us into wimps, afraid of our own shadows. I’m going to make a point of heading into the forest with a wooden sword to stop myself becoming this person! Great story 🙂

  3. How ironic that I just finished reading Kent’s piece and responded to him about how we played all over the neighborhood when we were kids, rode our bikes all around and never an adult around to “protect” us. When the girls were little, the mom of one of their friends stood behind her daughter when she climbed up something at the playground, in case she slipped!! Good grief! Yes, there are abductions and things, but not nearly as many as the media make us feel like. Hurrah for your story and hurrah for the story you shared!


    • As a new parent, I can see the difficulty of balancing one’s fears with one’s desire for children’s independence. So far, it’s been easy, but there will soon come a time when I have to face that head on. I think part of the problem now is that there is definitely safety in numbers: if everyone’s kids are playing outside, all the kids are far safer (and have a better experience) than if only one or two are, because they are all there to witness any funny business, and to call for help is accidents happen. No-one wants ot be the first to send their kids off to play

  4. Back to the good old days… send her back! It was better then.

  5. ah.. how everything seems so much more dangerous once we are grown up and could take care of ourselves.. a lovely and thoughtworthty entry..

  6. Sad, the hero disappears into the jaded knowledge that springs from bad things happening to good people. Very insightful piece, and very well written.

  7. What wonderful contemplation! It’s funny how this picture inspired me to write about the fearlessness of youth as well. It’s the lack of knowing all the things that could go wrong that allowed us to approach life with such enthusiasm and wonder as children. Though, I wouldn’t say we’re any less heroic just because we’re cautious and calculated! Kinda makes you want to to play in the woods just for the hell of it, huh? Brilliant post! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Once more, you have wowed with wonderful prose. Something to think about. Thanks, Jen!

  9. You captured the change beautifully. I was only discussing this unwelcome transformation in the way children live their lives these days, and how much I appreciate that we had that freedom that we can no longer afford to give to our own children/grandchildren. I stumbled over ‘made-up spells and what my grandfather called my ‘pluck’. The voice in my head missed the hyphen.

  10. a really wonderful response to the prompt, and yes, it’s very true. i’m not as fearless as i used to be. i try to convince myself that it’s because i’m smarter now and that the world has grown more dangerous. but i’d love to have a moment where i can be free and a bit more trustful towards the world. 🙂

  11. Ah so true. We were all over the neighbourhood and on our own during our holidays. I don’t know if we are more aware these days or the world has become more dangerous, probably a combination of the two.

  12. the hero morphing into a realist. sadly, we can’t be young forever.

  13. The muse knows best, Jennifer. This is a good story for the week. Character development in a mere 100 words is no small feat.


  14. Fabulous 🙂 And as to the muse, well, she has her own spirit and dance, and all we can do is follow 😉 Glad that you did!

  15. This brings back memories of my childhood and how free I was to imagine and play. It reminds me how much times and maybe we have changed. My children couldn’t play in the woods. They had to border their imaginations behind our chain link fence. It is not just the internet that has stifled our children’s dreams. Perhaps it is the world itself that has become flat. Maybe it’s us. We have become plastic grandparents when ours were real and full of “pluck” to share with us.

  16. Hi Jen,
    Great story, and it so reminded me of how carefree life used to be as a child, before we became fearful of so many evil things. Ron

  17. camgal

    Lovely story you got here Jen, makes me want to be a child again 🙂

  18. Great job capturing an entire generational shift here! It makes me sad to compare the freedom of my childhood to the relative paranoia of my kids growing up.

  19. Where did the hero go? We grow older. Nicely done ….

  20. The heroes taught us to follow in their footsteps 🙂

  21. I was that child…and I am that mother. Totally relatable…and wonderfully written.

  22. Dear Jennifer,

    I’ll preface my comment by saying that my early posting was totally unintentional. If it’s any consolation, it threw me off as much as it did anyone else.

    I can relate to wrestling with what I think is my story only to look at it and see that’s a golden turd. Once I’ve flushed it the true story comes to the forefront. Now don’t you feel better?

    I related well to your story. When I was a child our neighborhood teemed with children my age. If it rained we played in someone’s garage. Most of the time my parent’s didn’t know where I was. They didn’t have to worry.

    When the parental shoe is on the other foot it’s a challenge and, to be fair, times have changed. I promise to read the article later. 😉

    Sebastian’s adorable. Precious package to protect. ‘Nuff said.



    • Thank you for such a long and varied comment, Rochelle. And there is nothing to forgive for the early post – even if you’d done it deliberately, it would be at your discretion as our favourite tyrant!
      Sebastian is indeed too precious to risk, but then I’m sure we all were too in our time. Perhaps our parents were the plucky ones.

  23. Helena Hann-Basquiat

    Ah, the loss of bravery. I have a theory that it ends when we learn that death is real, and that it could happen to us. You captured this very well, darling (when don’t you??)

  24. That was great! You captured the fearlessness of youth perfectly!

  25. In our youth, we were invincible! But, when we grow up we see it was our foolishness to be like that. Good story! Really entertaining! Nan 🙂

  26. Life is pretty bleak sometimes. Sad that the narrator fears the worst.

  27. It’s a great pity the brave hero has left your damsel distressed. The change in mood and feeling between paragraphs is stark, and sad.

Feedback feeds the muse. Join in the conversation here:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s