Repurposed Remains

Time changes everything, even stone.

Remains of a statue of Monterosso al Mare.Lee Coursey.Flickr.REV

Photo credit: Lee Coursey (modified)

The history scholar stared, equally awed and disgusted by the huge statue jutting from the cliff.  After years of research, he had finally found it, mirroring the drawing on that tattered scroll.  His theory was correct.  The legendary Temple of Ka-el was no myth.  The tyrant Baruq really had erected the evil edifice, to his own glory.  Almost completely destroyed–by hubris, if the tales were true.

Only one of the giant stone slaves survived, eternally struggling to hold up the missing foundation.

How many real slaves had died to build this?  How many had suffered?

A local merchant separated from the crowd of sightseers, flashing a beringed hand in greeting.  “Welcome, foreign pilgrim. Ancient statue amazing, no?  Utaka, holding up whole sky. A god, in our image.”

The scholar studied the thriving village, the descendants of those slaves proud, profiting from this misinterpretation.

Baruq would be furious.

The scholar nodded, smiling.  “Amazing sight, indeed.”

His theory could stay unspoken.  This myth of Utaka sounded much more pleasing to the ear.


Word count: 171. Inspired by this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge.  Thanks to Precious Joy as always for hosting!  And to Mom the Obscure for the original photo prompt, below.  Click here to see the other stories!

© Mom the Obscure



28 thoughts on “Repurposed Remains

    • Thanks Amanda! I had to stretch a bit to think of some myth or imagery that would work with the statue (and then ended up with two) that wouldn’t sound too much like Atlas. Then it turns out (1) that the statue isn’t even Atlas, it’s Neptune, and (2) that I mis-remembered the story of Atlas as him holding up the *world* and then changed it… to be the actual story. Oh well. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha. I thought it was Atlas at first too, didn’t know it was Neptune. I had to read about Atlas first though to remember who held up the world, we get confused apparently it’s the heavens he holds. But it’s fiction and imagination so I think yours worked well.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I’ve always found the way stories shift and change over time fascinating. This change is definitely a fitting one! Great story, Joy.
    I thought I’d apologise while I’m here for not being on the campsite often last month – I dove inside my head and didn’t really feel like coming out to talk to people!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lou! Yes, I too am fascinated by how myths change over time. Glad you liked it!

      And don’t worry about Camp NaNo — everyone does NaNo their own way, I’m learning. I’m still glad you were there as our “silent partner” and hope you enjoyed it. The important thing is that you met your goal, hooray!


  2. I particularly like your portrayal of the characters in this scene, Joy. The misinterpretation of the ruin’s origins is described beautifully through the mouth of the merchant, and I really like the scholar’s decision to let that myth continue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the kind comment, Millie. I’ve been working on how to get as much character across in just a few lines as I can. If only I could somehow translate this to my novel, it might not be so ridiculously long!

      Liked by 1 person

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