Flash fiction: Parting

This is for Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt #writephoto


Her sons were waiting. Their chariots were harnessed, and the lios was a sea of men, horses and hounds.

“Don’t go,” she whispered to Diarmuid. “There’s no need. Let the old man rant. He can do us no harm.”

Diarmuid took her in his arms. “I must. If Conor brings his men across the river I shall have no choice but to fight him.”

Her fingers clutched the rough wool of his cloak, wishing she had the strength to hook her fingers into his flesh and hold him there.

“He promised,” she said.

“And he broke his word.”

Diarmuid held her away from him and smiled. She looked into his face and counted the wrinkles round his eyes, the silver hairs in the black. She would like to kiss every one before he left, but there was no time. Too many years they had been together for there to be any farewell that would ease the pain. She turned away so he would not see her sorrow. The sorrow of an old woman who could not bear that he might not come back.

The noise of the parting warriors masked the sound of beating wings. Her tears blurred the sight of the raven that settled on the ridgepole of the house. When Diarmuid returned it was upon his shield.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

30 thoughts on “Flash fiction: Parting”

  1. I didn’t recognize what myth this came from, but it gave that legendary impression even so. Nicely done. I always prefer the stories that focus in on the human relationships and the human costs of these “grand” events.

    1. It ended up being Grainne and Diarmuid though I hadn’t intended it to follow any specific text. That’s what I love about the Irish myths, the people, even though they lived in the Iron Age and venerated Megalithic stone constructions, were real flesh and blood human.

  2. Great story Jane. I didn’t recognize the reference of the battle, but found it on the same lines as a 300, or the battle between Porus and Alexander the Great that is popular in our Indian legends.

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