The Vagrant’s Tale

This week’s Prosery Challenge at dVerse Poets (thanks, Kim) is to use two lines from the William Butler Yeats classic poem “The Song Of Wandering Aengus” in a minifiction prose of 144 words, or fewer. You can read the poem HERE.

The Vagrant’s Tale

The Captain frowned at the Detective, who had filed his report of the homicide, but admitted his inability extract anything resembling a motive for the crime, obviously perpetrated by an ancient male vagrant who freely admitted his misdeed – not that any admission was needed, since he’d surrendered himself immediately following the act.

Both men had known, tangentially, the desirable young female victim; knew that she’d always lived there, alone, in the small woods by the slow stream. Despite her obvious vulnerability, everyone had always honored her clearly displayed desire for solitude, remaining isolated and unattached, overlooking the forest’s still pond, where almost no one ever ventured anyway.

The Detective advised the Captain that, no matter how he’d pressed for anything resembling a rational motive, the old man simply kept repeating, “I went out to the hazel wood because a fire was in my head.”

dVerse Poets
~ The Vagrant’s Tale ~

(144 Words)


18 thoughts on “The Vagrant’s Tale

  1. Man, Ron, the way you implemented those lines as a motive THAT truly startled me in this piece and I loved it. I love when I can feel shaken up from a well-written story, and then go, “That is utterly horrifying!” Makes me wonder what else went on in his head.

  2. Glad he turned himself in, but you capture the horror of a situation where someone can’t control the impulses that overtake them and destroy others.

  3. This is absolutely BRILLIANT! 💝 The lines as a motive which the old man kept repeating speak of both obstinacy and dark passion. The prose piece is chilling, but keeps me glued to the screen. One can’t entirely be sure of his true intentions whilst going to the hazel wood.

  4. And the fire was madness, and its flames consumed him. This is a clever twist, and perfect use of the prompt line.

  5. I agree with Lucy about the way you implemented the prompt lines as a motive, Ron, which startled me too! I enjoy a good crime story, especially one with a mystery surrounding the motive for murder, which you introduced into the story in the first paragraph – a perfect hook. I love the hint at the setting of the murder, done in so few but effective words: ‘in the small woods by the slow stream’ and the ‘forest’s still pond’, and the fact that everyone knew the victim makes it even more shocking.

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