youth’s days numbered


Inside a rustic cabin deep in Yukon territory, an old miner seasoned a simmering pot of venison stew.

Stroking his grizzled chin, he thought about the majestic elk herd he’d encountered migrating through a mountain meadow late that afternoon: one dominant young bull calling a large group of cows and calves to follow. After the herd disappeared over a ridge, a straggler came stumbling out of the trees: an old bull, wild-eyed and abandoned. Somehow he’d felt a kindred spirit to the animal…

Later, eerie howls of wolves on their twilight hunt woke him. He stirred the fire’s embers before going outside in the dark to check on his pack mule. Under waning moon, he was fumbling with the cabin latch on his return when far away an interrupted cry of the lone elk was heard as the hungry pack took him down.


An exercise in “prosery” for dVerse where Bjorn challenges us to write flash fiction of 144 words (exactly!) and include the phrase (from Robert Frost) in italics above.


23 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. janicead
    Jun 16, 2019 @ 14:37:16

    Nicely crafted.


  2. Sascha Darlington
    Jun 12, 2019 @ 19:30:05

    An excellent flash fiction. You have it all here. Well done!


  3. Anna
    Jun 11, 2019 @ 23:26:23

    I really appreciate how you wove a poetic device, a central conceit, into your flash fiction. Wonderfully done!


  4. Barbara MacKenzie
    Jun 11, 2019 @ 18:07:24

    sad but so real life…it is not always the hunter to takes the life…it is nature itself that requires life to sustain itself…bkm


  5. robtkistner
    Jun 11, 2019 @ 17:17:35

    When the young step forward, and the old must step back at some point. I liked this Lynn.


  6. Grace
    Jun 11, 2019 @ 16:10:32

    I love the story and I can sense a sad fate for the lone elk. Probably the young dominant bull had replaced him, and death awaits the old ones.


  7. rivrvlogr
    Jun 11, 2019 @ 15:57:02

    Nice use of the key line. You tell a compelling tale.


  8. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Jun 11, 2019 @ 14:43:43

    Nature is like that… and I feel that the old man is getting close to his own end just like the old. bull.


  9. Dr. Crystal Grimes
    Jun 11, 2019 @ 14:11:14

    Very good, true, and love your title.


  10. petrujviljoen
    Jun 11, 2019 @ 08:58:15

    At the point where a kinship was felt – I thought he brought the elk down himself (the venison stew) and then will … you know. I was relieved it wasn’t so.


  11. Margaret Elizabeth Bednar
    Jun 10, 2019 @ 22:11:21

    Nature is beautiful, but it is also unapologetic – A beautiful savagery at times.


  12. msjadeli
    Jun 10, 2019 @ 21:05:26

    Lynn, your story evoked genuine sorrow for the elk, first the loss of his harem, then the final loss, of his life. Excellent writing.


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