Storming the sorrow

Today I’m posting a short flash fiction response to Herman Kok’s Song Title Challenge ‘Storm the Sorrow’, by Epica – a Dutch band whose genre has been described as symphonic metal. Also progressive metal, gothic metal, death metal, thrash metal and…uh…folk metal.

Herman’s challenge is to not listen to the song and write something creative that has nothing to do with the song – but which is inspired laterally by the title.

Make sure you check out his blog, ‘If all else fails, use a hammer’.


By the third day the media called the storm The Sorrow. It could be nothing else, as it twisted its path of destruction across the country.

Jack had already named it that, and more, as the grey clouds whirled up from the south and turned day to night. They matched his mood, and as the wind set in the creaking of his house made him feel it was not empty. But that only reminded him of what he had lost, and he swore at the wind, and at the clouds, and at the universe in general.

It didn’t make him feel any better. Jill was gone, long gone, and time seemed to make no difference. His darkness, it seemed, had become his life; and now it had become real, turned into this storm, and it tore into the house and at everything he knew.

She was gone and was with somebody else and the wind howled and he saw the roof lift from the shed in the back garden where she had once tried to grow water cress. Foolishly. Jack watched the contents of the shed distribute themselves around the garden. Rain splashed the window and blurred the view. He remembered Jill and raged at the storm, and the storm raged back.

After five days the sun came out. Jack looked at the broken ruins of his garden, at his roofless shed, at the wires down in the street outside, at the debris scattered everywhere he could see, all bathed in a golden light that seemed so strange after the cyclone.

If this were a story, he supposed, the sudden sun – that splash of hope – might be a sign, a turning point, a moment to realise the folly of his dark glamours.

It wasn’t, of course. Life is never so pat. Jill was gone. And so he raged at the sun, too.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2014


17 thoughts on “Storming the sorrow

  1. You just made my day. I so enjoy it when others participate in the challenge.

    I love the last bit where Jack observes that real life is never as simple as stories, but then good stories shouldn’t be either, should they?

    1. Making the story real is the essence of writing! It was fun to write…thanks for spurring me into it. Its been a while since I tried fiction. I really must do more.

  2. Love it! Great to see you doing some fiction among all your factual, historic tomes. Simple direct style, vivid description, and that kick in the tail that makes flash fiction so satisfying.
    So, about that novel…

    1. Emotion plus punch = story. I was originally trained in writing fiction. The non fiction just sort of happened. The principles of both are surprisingly close though.

  3. I like it! You used great imagery.
    I used to write flash fiction every Friday, but I had too many characters in my head to write my book! I miss it…

    1. It’s a long while since I wrote any fiction. Have been focused mostly. On non fic these past years. Time to change that I think, once the current contracts are done.

  4. Nice! I like that he raged at the storm and the storm raged back. In the end, he had not changed and then he raged at the sun. It reminds me of the Hercules story where he threatened to fire his bow at the sun. This was a fascinating study into the mind of a man whose reflected the destructive storm all around him. Great stuff!

    1. It was time I wrote some fiction. History is all very well, but its limiting. And short fiction is actually where my writing began, many years ago.

      1. Yes I saw that from your comments, that you can do both is fabulous, I have to admit, I prefer when history is told through well researched, engaging characters and more lyrical prose. Breathing life into characters, even historical ones, is enhanced by imagination and creativity. You clearly have the talent Matthew, are you tempted to go off piste?

        1. I would if I skied! 🙂 Actually, yes – I am looking to move back into fiction and away from history. It is too boring to keep writing the same stuff, we live in a huge world which has so many dimensions to it. I did write a science-fiction history book a few years ago, which Penguin duly published – but nobody got the joke, except the reviewer in a small community paper in north Auckland. Time to do something a bit more adventurous.

  5. I, too, like it, Matthew. As much I enjoy your nonfiction, I would love to read your fiction. Flash fiction is deceptively difficult, I think, but your piece is complete with all a story demands and a reader wants. Good job, Matthew!

    1. Fiction is where I started – where I did the formal writing training. And as I find myself ever less eager to engage the profound moral void in which New Zealand’s academic history floats, based on the way its denizens have represented it to me through their conduct, a return to those origins becomes ever more appealing.

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