Short Story: The Skeleton’s Story

tree-skeletonAnother writing exercise turned short story. This one was to somehow incorporate the Halloween-like concept described in a recent viral news item about a midieval skeleton found dangling from the roots of a fallen tree.

I’ve always been fascinated in Scottish and Irish history. Exploring the time period this Irish skeleton was believed to be from, I became interested in the Battle of Clontarf, a large battle that brought an end to the reign of Ireland’s first High King.
The battle was an important event in Irish history and is recorded in both Irish and Norse chronicles. I decided to take the concept literally, and tell the story how this nameless skeleton might have been involved in that great battle and found its way 200 km away to be discovered a thousand years later under a fallen tree.

Battle of ClontarfSince the concept was inspired by an image, I thought it appropriate that I include the image that really piqued my interest in this battle. This painting of the battle made over 800 years later is obviously a romantic artist’s vision. But it sure is a riveting painting! This story doesn’t do it justice.

I actually wrote a LOT of very detailed history on this battle, as the known history of the battle is probably even more riveting than the painting. But the exercise is supposed to be a short 500 words. And I really need to work at trimming my word count. So I cut this ruthlessly. At almost 800 words the story now tells the basics of the battle and my fictional skeleton’s role in it. But I’m afraid I’ve lost what really grabbed my interest in it. All the actual historical characters, their motivations and dramatic actions are now gone. But all those interesting details really departed from the short quick punch I was trying (and failing?) to achieve.

Maybe the cool battle stuff will find its way into some future story?…

Adobe Reader PDF iconDownload The Skeleton’s Story
34kb Adobe PDF, 2 pages, about 780 words.

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