Died With His Boots On

Photo @Roger Bultot

Flash Fiction
100 words
Genre: Mental Health Narrative

Died With His Boots On
The choking acrid smoke always came first, leaving her gasping for breath a decade later. The clanging of the fire bell would startle her but it was the screams of the trapped horses that brought on the panic attack. The shrink had said, “It would help to stop the dream before the horses cry, before your Dad reaches the blazing barn, before your Mother weeps.” But the barn always burns, her Mother and the horses never stop crying and her Dad’s headstone still reads.

Here Lies A True Montana Cowboy. Died With His Boots On and Saved A Few Good Mounts.

For more Friday Fictioneer flash fiction go here.

61 responses to “Died With His Boots On

  1. This is right on the button: so much story and emotion in these 100 words; AND you managed to get in a sense of time passing too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sad truth of life. The undercurrent of grief is evident….the same theme I took this week.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I should have guessed that it was not just the horses that were the victim.. love the way headstone read.. I guess having to relieve the worst part of our life is what PTSD is all about.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sometimes time doesn’t heal. Tough memories. Nice writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. there was a lot of emotions packed in this story. it was very moving.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Few things worse than a nightmare that summons up our deepest fears & worst experiences. So well expressed, as usual. Think I’ll stay up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Perry,
      I feel like the only time I can talk to you is through my blog. I don’t know why your reply feed hates me. Anyway, loved your work this week. You never fail to make me chuckle.
      “To sleep, perchance to dream-ay that is the rub.” Hamlet
      Sweet Dreams,
      Anonymous Tracey

      Like

  7. Brave man; sad ending/
    Randy

    Like

    • Randy,
      I can’t keep making my funny men sad. I count on the dynamic trio to keep me laughing. I don’t think I can write comedy though. I think in comedic one liners but it doesn’t flow to the page. Thanks for reading my sad tales.

      Tracey

      Like

  8. “Well, Clarice – have the lambs stopped screaming?” Nice nightmare!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve often wondered how high up the list of things to consider with my dying breath footwear would feature.
    Good piece Tracey.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A powerfully graphic piece. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dear Tracey,

    The only thing worse than a recurring nightmare would be one that’s a recurring memory. This one will linger for a while. Well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Dear Tracey,

    From the moment you showed up you’ve been writing stellar pieces. This is one more in the line and I hope they keep coming. Want to hear why? I cried at the end. I love stories (and writers) that can elicit that kind of emotion with their words and work. You’re good.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Does it make me a bad person that I’m glad the horses were saved? It’s a true hero who doesn’t only rescue people, but also animals, she can be proud of her dad. Losing him, this will be little comfort though. Very moving, great story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, in fact this fiction is based on a true story from my family’s legends. The horses played a prominent role. The description of their terror and suffering is chilling. It is also told with great pride for the man who lost his life saving them. So many of these stories were lost with my parents and their siblings deaths. I wish I had paid more attention and asked more questions.
      I believe in compassion for all creatures, great and small, so you and I shall be friends.
      Tracey

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can relate” Many stories were lost when my grandmother died. Now that my parents are gone, there are only vague memories left. When I was young, I wasn’t interested in ‘old stuff’– now I wish I’d written it all down.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. A terrible thing to happen, and still to be experienced in nightmares so long afterwards is horrible for the poor person.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What a terrible nightmare to have for so long! A very moving story Tracey, which you have told so well. The inscription on the headstone makes a very effective ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. That’s high praise from the famous author. I downloaded Shadow of the Raven. I’ve been so busy that I don’t know when I’ll get back to it but I’ll let you know. Thanks Millie,
    Tracey

    Like

  17. Great story…the mind can be a terrible thing sometimes. Too bad she could not get any relief from such a tragic event.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Well done, Tracey. A very moving piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. A very moving story about the effects of trauma. I like how you ended with the headstone wording. Great job.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Now there’s an interesting epitaph.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Beautiful story telling, Tracey. Having enjoyed your previous story about your dad, I’m especially glad this is fiction. 😉

    Like

  22. Such a powerful piece and so sad. Well done, indeed,

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I hate dreams that keep reoccurring, unless of course, they are the erotic kind–but that never happens–and I always wake up just as it’s getting to the good part. You think it would help if I wore cowboy boots to bed?

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Poor woman. I also agree she most likely has PTSD. It’s horrible to have nightmares that are so real. I loved the warm and loving feeling at the end of your story. Well written. — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Wow, your story is brilliant. Chilling to read and very sad for all involved.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Excellent! Methinks she has not accepted what has happened. To relive a nightmare like that over and over… *shudder*

    Liked by 1 person

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