Dead wood


The battle had raged. Splintered shards of men and earth scattered the land, gruesome evidence of war.

But that was long ago.




The summer holidays arrived. Young friends picnicked near the old wood, daring each other to go in.

The oldest girl ventured in first, stopped, screamed.

The long dead soldier’s bones, coloured black with age lay intertwined with the twisted trees. The wood had fed on blood and long since reclaimed the bruised earth, enveloping the horrid, brutal evidence, caressing the souls until Death came to claim his own.


The innocent ran. It was no place for a child.

The story above comes from the Friday Fictioneers photo prompt as supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Each week she publishes a photo and I dutifully write a story inspired by it. Well, me and over a hundred others.


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25 Responses to Dead wood

  1. That would be quite something to stumble across. I like the imagery you used.

  2. Great atmosphere and tension

  3. Sandra says:

    A dreadful find. Well done.

  4. Good descriptions. Better to be there now than when the fighting was going on or the bodies rotting. 🙂


  5. Gruesome, but very in-keeping with ashes to ashes, dust to dust, earth to earth sort of thinking.

  6. Bryan Ens says:

    certainly a frightening place for a child.

  7. Nan Falkner says:

    Great, great story and good imagery which gave me the creeps! Good job! Nan 🙂

  8. faithsfire says:

    Ohhhh, this is good! I like it’s “creep-factor”. When I was in the jungle, a life-time ago, we found such things…you captured it well.

  9. She became a little less of a child today.

  10. Linda Vernon says:

    Just exactly what you don’t want to see in a forest such as this one. Very vivid tale!

  11. Ah. this smell of those nightmares of a summer dream.. like a beginning of all horrid things.. really liked your poetic language in this.

  12. Judah First says:

    Nice job! I love the imagery of the trees feasting on the bones.

  13. camgal says:

    No place for a child…or any sane person actually. I enjoyed your take on the prompt and the flow of the story 🙂

  14. Dear Kelly,

    A very somber take on the prompt. Frighteningly well done.



  15. Very realistic story and well done. That would be a gruesome find indeed. I know of one place where there was an old graveyard on a hill in a city.Rain and erosion sometimes caused bones to appear and be washed downl. These things happen.

  16. Thank you all for the replies. I’ve been jolly busy these last few weeks and have been unable to spend as much time reading everyone’s stories or replying to all the super comments.
    This story was inspired by reading about Russian volunteers who scour known battlefields looking for the bodies of the lost. About 600,000 Russian soldiers, both men and women, lay unaccounted for, many have been found and identified from what they had about them. Amazing work and quite inspiring.

  17. Reminded me of Civil War battlefields, but your background was even more amazing.

  18. Very dark and gruesome, and you crafted it with such vivid detail. Ugh, the mention of the wood feeding on blood gives me chills! Great work!

  19. Sorchia D says:

    A haunting image, clearly described. Nicely worded.

  20. elappleby says:

    Atmospheric and gruesome. I also liked the long white space between old and new.

  21. Great atmosphere.Well done.

  22. storydivamg says:

    Chilling, somber, and craftily woven. A good take on the prompt. Well done.

    Marie Gail

  23. These creepy tales are making me want to avoid woods and forests at all costs! 🙂

  24. rgayer55 says:

    I’m certain there are plenty of bones out there yet undiscovered. A very interesting tale.

  25. Nixon’s photo really lends itself to these dark stories, and yours is superb. I got (writerly) chills with “Splintered shards of men” and “bruised earth” and the blood-feeding wood caressing souls. Splendid, macabre writing. Bravo!

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