“Urn” – Quick-Write #1

This is a non-fantasy “quick-write” I did April 20, 2012. I decided to use a randomly generated word to write a short scene. “Urn”, set in modern times, provides a glimpse into the two characters’ lives without being overt in its descriptions of them. I could extend this story into a longer piece, but I think it functions well as a simple scenario with no clear-cut resolution. I wrote this from concept word to end in just over 20 minutes.


“So this is it, huh? Just like that?” Looking down at the bronze urn on the stone table between us, I shrugged. It had been a tough day, and Dan’s face was rather flushed.

“I guess so.” Pushing my hair back behind one ear, I looked out over the hillside. The sun was shining, but a few clouds were pushing closer on the horizon. It wouldn’t stay nice for long.

Dan sighed, then reached into his pocket and pulled out a cigarette. I knew he needed it, otherwise I would have chided him over it; he knew I hated the way those things smelled and tasted on his lips. Lighting it, he exhaled a puff of smoke and watched it drift away in the wind. I noticed a grimace form on his face as the wisps dissipated.

“Damn. Can’t even do this,” he muttered as he ground out the offending roll of tobacco on the table’s corner. “He never did like me smoking.” I gave a slow nod, but was beaming a little on the inside (even though I knew I shouldn’t). Taking a last long look at the urn, Dan reached down and picked it up, his hands trembling.

“Well, I can’t say it wasn’t fun,” he said, sighing a bit. “I’m gonna miss you. Really. I…” Dan paused, choking a little on his words. The two of them had been like brothers. I laid my hands gently on his shoulder and arm as he twisted the lid off, being sure not to tip the vessel. A faint smell of the ashes within wafted up in the growing wind. As he began scattering them, I thought I saw a tear in his eye, but chose not to say anything. He deserved this time, and even in his eyes, weakness is fine if you really mean it.

Placing the empty urn back on the table and tightening the lid again, Dan’s shoulders sagged a bit. I squeezed him a bit tighter, and we made our way back towards the car with careful, even steps.

“I’m going to change, man,” he murmured to the wind. “I promise.”