Ashes to Ashes

Ashes to Ashes

August 8, 2012 Writing 51
Photo by Susan Wenzel

Ashes to ashes, he always said. It sounded strange until you got to know him. He’d lost his wife and spread her ashes out over the ocean. They say he never recovered. On any given day, you could find him on the pier, muttering to himself, holding a seashell in his hand. Rumors swirled among townsfolk that there were ashes held captive inside that shell, the last remains of his beloved wife. You could set your watch by his appearance, until you couldn’t. He just disappeared one day, the opened shell floating along the shoreline the only evidence of his departure.


Another Friday, another image to inspire my muse this week from Madison Woods and her clever #FridayFictioneers. A picture, a 100 words. You can do this!

I welcome constructive criticism. I would love to read your thoughts in a comment.

Thanks for stopping in!!


51 Responses

  1. Carrie says:

    sadly sweet 🙂 I can see some resident of the town standing on the pier sharing the story with a newcomer.

  2. janet says:

    Not all stories have to be sinister. In fact, my whole life is made up of a continuous string of non-sinister stories!! 🙂 I like the idea of the ashes being held in the shell although, as with most rumors, I don’t think they’d fit in a shell this size and I doubt the townspeople were into symbolism. But who knows? I hope they’re together now!

  3. Wow! Well told

  4. Sad and suspenseful. My mind is reeling with ideas about why and how he disappeared.

  5. I liked it too. Very soft and touching.
    I kept visualizing him listening to the shell as if his wife’s voice could be heard inside of it.
    I also, being the humorist that I can be, and having just watched an interview between Mel Brooks and Dick Cavett, though of the story that Mel told of someone who tried to throw his father’s ashes into the east river and a wind blew the ashes back on him, and all day he kept dusting himself off crying, I love you dad. I’ll miss you.

  6. boomiebol says:

    Awww…this is touching and can be so real. Very well done. Mine is here

  7. Mike says:

    A well written piece.
    A sad tale with a touch of mystery.
    Thanks for a great read.

  8. Adam Ickes says:

    What happened to him? I must know! Great read, thanks!

  9. Sandra says:

    Nice one, I think this image will stay with me.

  10. claireful says:

    I really like the line ‘You could set your watch by his appearance, until you couldn’t.’ A great story.

  11. Nifti says:

    Amazing short story Sam. Loved it!

  12. raina says:

    wow, great story Sam.

  13. What a sad but intriguing story. I enjoyed it greatly. I think he missed her so that he stepped off the pier to join her. Great use of the photo!

    ~Susan (

  14. billgncs says:

    enjoyed it…. hope he went to a better place…

  15. I think your sad and lonely man jumped off the pier to join his wife. This reminds me of an elderly man who lives in my bldg. He misses his belated wife so much he carries a tiny, plastic bag everywhere he goes. Inside is her photo but I often wonder if her ashes are in that bag as well.

    • SAM says:

      Thats so interesting!! I think he may have joined his wife in the ocean too, but he didn’t tell me so I’m enjoying reading everyone else’s take.

  16. The local legend who is remembered long after he’s gone. I love the idea of some of the wife’s ashes being in the shell.

  17. Kaitlin says:

    Oh very nice. Reminds me of the song “The Light House’s tale” in a way.

  18. rochellewisoff says:

    Touching. You painted a vivid picture in a cramped space of 100 words. I felt the old man’s pain.
    I’m #11 on the list.

  19. Linda says:

    I suspect she wasn’t ashes as such and was some mermaid or other who eventually came to claim him. Really well written and thank you 🙂

  20. conhippy says:

    Very gentle. Check out the lyrics to a song by Pearl Jam called, “Force of Nature.” I was reminded of it by your story.

  21. Brian Benoit says:

    The calm mood to this works so well, paired with that ending — the suggestion that maybe he’s gone to join his wife at last, only in his own way — it was great. Among my top 5 for the week I think!

    Brian (

  22. Yaral says:

    Flowed well and I like to think he joined her.

  23. It’s such a touching story! Thank you for writing it.

  24. elmowrites says:

    What a beautiful piece this is. I love the ending – a little bit of mystery about whether he’s gone to join her or started his life afresh. Either way, this is a lovely love story and really well-written.

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