It Ain’t the Easy Way… 100 Word Flash

Jacob knew he should destroy the photograph as he grasped it in his trembling hand. Her gold spun hair seemed to radiate with intensity. Her soft blue eyes that had dazzled him had changed to grey flint. The soft curves he had clung to had become taut muscle. She had fended off many a lone gunman and had helped him escape more than once, until last night.

He blinked back tears as he glanced up at threatening thunderclouds. While the biting wind struck his weathered face, he tossed the photograph on top of the shallow grave, then shoveled dirt upon her hooves.

The second line in the title is, “but it’s the Cowboy Way.”

Did I surprise you with who the subject was?

What’s your favorite Western movie or series?


Photo by Madison Woods

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About susielindau

I am a Boulder, Colorado writer and artist who loves adventure both real and imagined. Come with me. It's always a Wild Ride!
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48 Responses to It Ain’t the Easy Way… 100 Word Flash

  1. susielindau says:

    Thanks Rich! I am glad you enjoyed it!


  2. Cleverly executed Susie. You set it up for a potentially dark ending. You left us with heartfelt appreciation and admiration for the cowboy. Here’s to a belated well done!


  3. Debra Kristi says:

    Beautifully done! I love it. I was totally surprised the first time I read it. Re-reading it, I can totally see it. Great work.


  4. Robin Hawke says:

    I wonder if the red herring should have had more reason than to throw the reader off track. Perhaps he wanted her grave honored, but didn’t want the ones honoring to know the grave belonged to a horse? or ?


  5. susielindau says:

    Thank you Angela! I loved that movie too and can hear the theme song in my head!


  6. Beautiful short story — I love how well you captured longing in there.
    I figured it was a horse right before the end. Really well done.
    As for the westerns — I’ve always liked them. There are too many on my list of favorites to mention here, but one is definitely on the very top: “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” :-)


  7. susielindau says:

    My daughter was around when I wrote it and looked up horse’s eye color for me. They can have blue eyes!
    Aha! You found the clue with the lone gunman. You just need to read faster next time! Hahaha! Thanks for stopping by to read!


  8. I guess I’m the lone bandit here. “Her soft blue eyes” had me think of a woman, but as soon as I read “She had fended off many a lone gunman” I immediately knew you were talking about the horse and thought you made a mistake by giving a horse blue eyes. This being flash fiction also made it much easier to expect a twist early on. After all, you have less than 100 words to create any impact. Glad you were able to fool everyone else though. Great piece of fiction! I enjoyed it.


  9. Having lost a beloved horse, I know the connection a person can have to an animal. I thought this was a woman… until the hooves. *weep*


  10. susielindau says:

    I am sorry to have caused a painful flash back. We get a photo prompt every week and I decided to go Western with twist. I usually write paranormal fiction and have been having fun with these 100 word flashes.
    I don’t think I saw Open Range. I will check that one out. I love Westerns!
    Thanks for reading!


  11. mikegothard says:

    Really liked this, Susie…brought back a flood of emotions from when I buried my dog when I was a teenager. I can only imagine the bond between a horse and its owner. My favorite western movie is Open Range because it seems more authentic than most Hollywood fare.


  12. Tanya Reimer says:

    Yeah that was a cool story. I thought he lost a gal. Poor guy.


  13. susielindau says:

    Thank you so much Sheila!! I am so glad~


  14. So lovely and descriptive, Susie. I could picture it vividly as I was reading it. Thanks so much!


  15. susielindau says:

    Thanks Catherine! I really appreciate that!


  16. Beautiful writing, I love how you kept us in suspense throughout.


  17. Anonymous says:

    I’m loving the flash fiction. Thank you for introducing me to it. Here is a link to my first attempt…


  18. Arindam says:

    lovely post. I think you do not need much words to express, what you want to express. I wonder how can you describe something like this with this much of words. great job!


  19. Happy trails to you, until we meet again!

    Love that Susie! You’re a stinker! You got me.

    Chuck Conners was a neighbor once and my husband built a house for him. Used to watch the Rifleman and all the other cowboy shows.

    This was fun. Thanks Susie! And thank you for all your support!


  20. Sheilagh Lee says:

    aw very sweet a lovely tribute.


  21. I love this! I was surprised by who “she” was. :D


  22. Siobhan Muir says:

    For the love of a good horse. Nice twist at the end, Susie. I think my all time favorite western is Silverado with Scott Glenn, Danny Glover, Kevin Kline, Kevin Costner, Brian Dennehy and Helen Hunt. I loved the smartaleck remarks and the horses. :)


  23. Madison Woods says:

    This gave me goosebumps. At first I did think it was the girl he’d been worrying over. But I’ve shoveled dirt like that over hooves once, and I wish I’d buried the photograph of him with him. Great story and great twist!


  24. timlobrien says:

    I grew up watching Rawhide, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Death Valley. I loved all the Clint Eastwood westerns featuring “The Man with no Name.” I wish they still made quality western for the big screen. I did enjoy the remake of True Grit.
    Great story, you had me fooled!


    • susielindau says:

      I loved all of those and remember Lucas McCane in The Rifleman!!
      I did also like the new True Grit and think that little girl should have gotten an Academy Award for her performance.
      Thank you! I am so glad I fooled you!


  25. Julie says:

    That’s a lot of punch packed into 100 words – the cowboy way!


  26. The Hook says:

    It’s amazing to me how you can do so much with so little! Nicely done, young woman.


  27. elmowrites says:

    I liked this story! You led us into it being the horse in the photograph gradually, but each line after the hair made it more and more clear. I liked it as a twist on what you might expect though.

    Mine’s at if you want to stop by


  28. The Lime says:

    Oh, Susie, it’s so sad! Horses are so beloved — I wonder why he would/should destroy the photograph. Lovely job painting the scene.

    Here’s mine:


    • susielindau says:

      I think that he chastised himself for having too much feeling for his horse; he was a cowboy after all.
      Destroying the photo was also a red herring to make you think there was evidence of foul play involved in trying to set up a twist.
      Thank you!


  29. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Susie,
    A sad tale, my dear, in a rough and tumble land. I love the sepia photo. Nice touch.




  30. K.D. McCrite says:

    This is very sad, very sweet. I feel his pain and longing. Well done.


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