Friday Fictioneers: Vengeance

It’s Friday Fictioneers time again! And here’s Madison Woods’ latest prompt –


Dad never got mad at anything. Not even the crows that followed every spring pecking up corn as fast as we planted it. “Saw enough of what getting mad does for folks, boy,” he used to say.

“But they’re eating up next fall’s crop, Dad.”

“They’re just critters doing what they do.”

“Couple of stones and I’ll show ’em who’s boss.”

“Leave them be, boy. You hear?”

“Yes, Dad.”

But he couldn’t abide vultures. I was thirteen before I dared ask why he always took the shotgun to any he saw. His face went strange. “I was at Antietam, boy. Ain’t no old soldier can stand a buzzard.”

* * *

The Battle of Antietam (Sept. 17, 1862) is believed to be the bloodiest single-day battle in U.S. history.


33 responses to “Friday Fictioneers: Vengeance

  1. I can’t imagine the horrors Dad saw. What a great (and different) take on the photo prompt. I enjoyed this piece immensely. (It was very well written too).

    ~Susan (

  2. I have been there and walked the fields. Powerful, powerful 100 words.

  3. Good story, but I find it difficult to wrap my mind around the images at Antietam and I’m sure Dad doesn’t want to be reminded of them.

  4. Very well crafted. Some memories you just don’t want triggered.

    Mine’s here:

  5. You’re right; some things can’t be forgotten. My f-i-l was at Omaha Beach and then in the Pacific and he wouldn’t never buy a Japanese car (or probably anything else Japanese.) Very nicely done indeed! Understated but powerful.

  6. The gentle farmer refusing to hate the crows for ‘doing what critters do’ yet cannot abide vultures is perfectly rendered in this telling tale. You nailed this, nailed this, nailed this. Timeless story well told.



  7. Beautifully written! The story is poignant and brings that element of reality that makes it even better!

  8. A great take on the prompt, linking us to a stark moment in US history. Mine is here and linked too:

  9. Very complex and deep, this one. Dad is so tolerant of nature, but with good cause, vultures are different. Very interesting!

  10. Oh my your story conjures up all sorts of vivid images, which is just as it should do. Well done Sharon, each time you do this you do it better than the last!

  11. Interesting psychology, differentiating between the birds, some things we learn to tolerate, others never. Very clever interpretation and thought provoking story.

  12. A bit of History and a mental health issue. Very well told.

  13. Great visual. I could see rows and rows of plowed land and the birds pecking up the seeds, and the son ready to toss some rocks.

  14. Great backstory, great revelation. I actually looked up crows after I did my piece for Fictioneers, and it turns out buzzard is a general word from crows to vultures, and ravens too. Besides that, though, I loved it.

    • Thank you! Where I come from, buzzards are definitely vultures – you know, naked heads, lazy soaring, taste for carrion…so that’s what they are in this story. The devastation in your version is chilling (that is, it’s a well-written story!)

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