grave digging and responsibility (of all things).


You are on your way to dig yourself out of a grave.

You did this to yourself. You are the verdict of ‘guilty’ that weighs heavier than the headstone of your grave. You are the final closing of the coffin; the earth of your final prison.

You are the grave robber. You are a greedy thing; a sinful, guilty thing. But you are flesh and bone; air and sun; mind and heart. You are not a thing of the earth; you will be free even if you do not deserve it.

(You did this, and now you will undo it.)

So goes my short story, from an assignment in English class from a little while ago, where we had an assignment to write a 100-word story (as in, 100 words on the dot) with one of the following quote prompts from Charles Dickens’s “A Tale of Two Cities:” “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”; “____ was on ____ way to dig ____ out of a grave”; or “For I’m the devil at quick mistakes, and when I make one it takes the form of Lead.” Obviously, I chose the second prompt.

Now before I launch into a narrative, there are two facts you need to know – one, that I am a writer, and two, like many writers, my hardest critic is myself. The more I read and re-read this short story I’ve written, the more conflicted I feel. One part of me detests it, of course – given that I had only a hundred words, I’m not surprised by this feeling. I’m sure if it was, say, at least 200, or maybe even 150, this story would have turned out a little more well-rounded, or more to my liking, anyway. But at the same time, with only 100 words to spare, I’m surprisingly satisfied (in a way) with how it came out.

As I said before – if my word count was increased to, say, 150 or 200, this story might have ended up making a little more sense to the average reader (read: someone that’s not me). In short, the story is an extended metaphor; a sort of philosophy, if you will, about the idea that you and only you are responsible for your own actions. No one makes you do anything; there is no such thing as “having no choice,” as there is always a choice – even if these other choices may seem unsavory or unthinkable. (I never claimed that these other choices were good ones to make; only that they are, in fact, there.)

My story is written in a purposely ambiguous second person point-of-view, as it’s not meant to follow a particular person – as I said before, it’s an extended metaphor; applicable to anyone and everyone. It follows ‘you’ (whoever you may be) as ‘you’ dig ‘yourself’ out of a grave, from previously being sentenced to death. It’s a little hard to follow, I suppose, but ‘you’ are every element of the story – the ‘guilty’ verdict, the headstone, etc. What I’m trying to illustrate is that ‘you’ are in absolute control of your destiny (if you’ll forgive the cliche). And no one else. Only you can choose what to do with your life. Only you can choose what matters most to you; to let things be or to take the road less traveled.

(You did this, and now you will undo it.)



  1. Wow..
    This is truly awe-inspiring because it made me realize the beauty of the words that you used in your short story. It opened my horizons to how I should watch my actions more carefully. “I am the absolute control of my destiny” and I will need to take on the steering wheel and lead my life to triumph. I should take risks and make the best of my life based on my understanding of what is right. I can acknowledge now that there’s a lot of wolves lurking behind every tree in the yellow woods. Nevertheless, I won’t allow anything to stop me from taking the road less traveled by because I an the pilot of my life and I am the captain to my ship. Thanks 🙂

    • David, thank you for reading and enjoying this post! I absolutely agree with everything you touched on in your comment, and I am so pleased with your interpretation of the story, because you truly are in absolute control of your destiny and nothing and no one can take that away from you. I’m so glad that this helped you out, even if it was in a marginal way.

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