His Father’s Son

He had never known her, but he would always love her. His mother had given her life for his, her only son. She had died, holding him in her arms, still covered in the afterbirth. They had torn him from her womb. There had been complications, his father told him. There was nothing the doctors could’ve done. It wasn’t his fault, though the other children still enveloped him in their malicious mind-games and their too transparent efforts to shame him. It was a miracle, of the kind that happens every day, that his father had managed to raise him. The old man, wizened and blinded though he was by the weight of the years, showed him where to find his feet on the path of life. He was eager to learn, always obeyed his commands. “Like father, like son,” the villagers would say, as his father taught him both his trade and his gift for reading faces – a gift often unlooked for in the blind eyes of the inventor.

They sailed from that island which had always been their home, where every morning was a reminder of the two women they had loved – the fantasy mother and the mourned wife. They had sailed, seeking new opportunities. The father agreed, and his son dutifully followed, promised the reward of a new life, and the father’s gift had failed him. The beggar-king had tricked him with the promise of work, designing weapons for a war that would never happen. They were imprisoned in a prison of their own design, a cage not only for their memories but for the king’s guardian, the island’s best nightmare.

He had always done what his father had told him, always obeyed that benevolent despot’s whims, an errand boy sent in his father’s place. Sent for feathers, sent for glue. He had always obeyed his father. Until this day.

Icarus flew too close to the Sun.


Still sick, still rambling with this one…but it’s my first ever Trifecta Writing Challenge! The challenge this week was to use the word shame but in a very specific sense (Trifecta Writing Challenge selects a word and you can only use the dictionary definition they choose.) It was in the third definition of the word: to cause to feel shame. Also a big thanks and a welcome back to Steph from BeKindReWrite for this week’s InMon prompts: Best Nightmare, The War That Never Happened, Mind Games, Reading Faces and Beggar-king. Oh and I’m also answering Sunday Scribblings’ call for a Fairy Tale, so I’ve written one here for you…

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15 thoughts on “His Father’s Son

  1. The mothership says:

    I LOVE it.

  2. Hey there Chris,

    Interesting take, I like how you managed to use all the prompts. Well written, but if I had to single something out for criticism (I guess I don’t really have to, but sometimes its better than just pressing the Like button) is that I’m a little unsure of the quickening of the pace in the second paragraph. Or maybe I just haven’t finished my coffee yet, but it seems like it leapfrogs some ideas or content or something.

    Eh, now I wonder if that makes any sense? Hahahha.

    • I think the big problem, reading over it again, is that I have made the assumption that everyone knows the Icarus story. Not suggesting that you don’t know the story, just that I glossed over a whack of it without thinking enough. In other words, I agree…

      • Thought about it a bit more, and another reason is that I’ve been over-conscious of the shape on the “page”. Also got excited by the fact that I noticed that some The Beatles songs deliberately drop a line per verse (Eleanor Rigby, Day in the Life) and have been over-analyzing everything I read/hear looking for similar patterns. Am going mad.

  3. Nicely done. Fantasy mother and mourned wife. Great line.

  4. Greek mythology = WIN.

    Nicely done Chris, and an interesting interpretation of the prompts. 🙂

  5. amanda says:

    Wonderful job of working in all the prompts! I am so impressed!

  6. Tara R. says:

    An interesting take on the prompt and the Icarus myth. Nicely done.

  7. I didn’t know it, I shamefully admit!
    But I enjoyed the read as it is powerfully written.

  8. Woah, Icarus! Didn’t see that coming – nice!

    I think my favorite bit was “It was a miracle, of the kind that happens every day, that his father had managed to raise him.”

    Hope you feel better, Chris!

  9. trifecta says:

    Thank you for joining us for this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge. I really liked your response. The simplicity of the reveal: “sent for feathers, sent for glue” is very well-crafted. I do hope you’ll come back again next week. I’d love to read more of what you write.

  10. Robin Hawke says:

    I love how the relationship with the mother echoes throughout the following paragraphs, Robin

  11. Joules says:

    ‘wizened and blinded though he was by the weight of the years’ I love.

  12. […] for Trifecta, this time Beowolf. I have also written a couple of longer stories based on myths, His Father’s Son, as well as this one: Bad Wrap […]

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