Burning Angel – Microfiction Challenge #2

Burning Angel

Burning Angel

He was the one driven member of our group of “slackers” in college, but he never left us behind after graduation. Over the years, he was the one person we could count on for support, helping a few of us financially and always offering a shoulder to cry on.

Lately, he seemed to be the one suffering from depression. As it turned out, his empathy was the cause.

We never met as a group anymore, so it was a surprise when he asked all of us to meet at the park, a hangout from our college days. Just after dusk, he stood before a scrap wood effigy of an angel. The scent of gasoline was in the air. When everyone had arrived, he spoke.

“I’ve brought you here to tell you I’m done. All of you have been my friends, and I don’t regret any of the time we’ve spent together or any of the help I’ve given you, but you’re draining my spirit. This has to end.”

With that, he turned and held a lighter up to the wood and said, “I will not be a martyr!”

As we gaped at the burning angel, he turned and walked away.


This my response to Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge #2: Burning Angel, offering a photo for inspiration, with a limit of 200 words (200, here).  I passed on the suggested word, retribution.  Of course, Jane’s critiques are welcome.

Image source: Wikipedia © Jimmy Fell

15 thoughts on “Burning Angel – Microfiction Challenge #2

  1. I held my breath at the end of that one! He did only set light to himself in effigy though, didn’t he? Not a criticism, but something you could maybe add to the story (even if it goes beyond the word limit) would be an idea of the emotions of the narrator. The ‘martyr’ is distant, only seen through the eyes of the narrator, so I think it would make the story stronger to have the ‘slacker’ narrator more firmly established.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jane. I understand what you mean. I started longer and trimmed to reach 200. There were a couple of sentences about the college phase and how the “martyr” was the “oddball” who liked their company but had actual goals of his own, while they were determined to make “the most” of their youth. Besides being well over the 200 goal, it didn’t fit my spare style. I’m sure I could do it with more words.


      • Editors tell us we have to be ’emotionally engaged’ with the characters. In short fiction I suppose you have to be engaged with one of them. I know I don’t manage it every time, but I can see their point. Maybe leave out a line of the backstory and add the narrator’s reaction instead?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Microfiction challenge Burning Angel: the entries – Jane Dougherty Writes

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