The Fall

He’d moved out of sight, but he couldn’t escape the sound, the distant thunder of stone falling on stone, of walls toppling to the ground.  It was all day — all night.  Didn’t these conquerors sleep?

He waited, and watched.  Watched for survivors, travelers returning to the City unaware that the world had changed in their absence.

He watched for survivors, but that wasn’t what he saw.  With each carrying rumble, he saw the City.  He saw the bright mosaics he’d played next to as a child.  Gone.  He saw the fountain where he’d told Asiri he loved her.  Gone.  He saw the sunlit columns of the temple.  Gone.  His eyes watered, and he told himself it was the sharp summer wind.

He’d thought the thunder was the worst of it, but in the end, he was wrong.  What was worse was when the thunder stopped, and there was only silence and the wind on the plains.


This week’s prompt from Trifecta Writing Challenge. This week’s challenge was to write between 33 and 333 words using the third definition of the word thun·der (noun \ˈthən-dər\)

1: the sound that follows a flash of lightning and is caused by sudden expansion of the air in the path of the electrical discharge
2: a loud utterance or threat
3: bang, rumble

It’s good fun, this prompt business!

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  1. Libby says:

    This is really good! It makes me want to read the rest of the story 🙂

  2. karen says:

    This is an inspired and very appropriate use of the word, in my humble opinion. One can only imagine that silence that follows the marauding …

  3. barbara says:

    the silence is always the worst. Nice take on the prompt.

  4. That’s beautiful. It made me think – because of the title – of the Fall of Rome. I loved how it encompassed his need to not cry (be masculine) with his very real emotions.

  5. Tara R. says:

    Very poignant, and sad. The sound of silence can be deafening.

  6. kgwaite says:

    Terrific – I can see this happening. Well done.

  7. Colonialist says:

    Excellent writing. It vividly brings home the scene of wanton, mindless destruction brought about by invasions throughout history, and the impact.

  8. Tracie says:

    Very poignant. The silence and the wind on the plains. I like the way you shared his memories, with only “Gone” to show that each thing was wiped out.

  9. Kathy says:

    I second libby – I want to know what’s already happened… and what happens next! Great job sucking me in with such a short clip.

  10. Amanda says:

    That was REALLY good! I also would love to read more. The ending caught me off guard because I was waiting for the conquerors to reach him – I think the silence is way more effective.

  11. Imelda says:

    How sad to see the place one loved all ruined and gone. I wish to read the next chapter if only to know that the hero does well in the end. 🙂

    Thunder was well used in this story, but the silence was louder. 🙂

  12. Mrs. One Day says:

    This story was one that made me feel uneasy in that I knew there was so much more to tell. I love that feeling of what happens next? Great stuff!

  13. You created and then destroyed a world in less than 334 words. How impressive is that!

  14. there was only silence and the wind on the plains.
    You have brought out the essence very nicely.

  15. jannatwrites says:

    I can ‘see’ the destruction here. Nice world building, I mean, tearing down!

  16. Silence is deafening, and I loved this!

  17. Christine says:

    This is beautiful. I love the sense of time suspended. The details really help bring the reader into it (the mosaic, the fountain). I think my favorite line, though, is: “His eyes watered, and he told himself it was the sharp summer wind.” Just fantastic.

  18. k~ says:

    You led us through the noise and devastation to the chilling silence with sharp insight.

  19. I’m sorry to have to play my Katrina card here. (I honestly try to do it rarely.) But, as a lifetime New Orleans native who like so many others fell victim to the disaster, this story really resonated with me. Deeply. Every single word.

  20. Rachael says:

    What great imagery, made me very sad for him.

  21. Annabelle says:

    Thanks so much for all the love! I really enjoyed writing this one.

  22. Jester Queen says:

    And that thunder of silence absolutely echoed in my skull all week and impacted my entry.

  23. This definitely would be a story worth reading but this snapshot into one moment where one’s whole world has completely changed, gone even is breathtakingly good. Profound, hardhitting but not melodramatic. 🙂

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