Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rufus Bent

Leaves sprouted from his fingers and his feet had taken root to the ground when he woke up in his recliner.  However, Rufus Bent was not alarmed. Though his family argued that he was too old and feeble to live alone anymore, he always knew he would stay on the land that once belonged to his granddaddy.
“Of course, never thought it'd be quite this way,” he said as he looked down at his trunk and gnarled knees.
The family was in the kitchen, but Rufus did not call out to them. When they left him to nap earlier, he expected they would pass the time arguing. From what he could hear, they still were.
“I don't care what Daddy says; he's going to that home! It's a good place. He won't get better care.” This from his son.
Rufus laughed. I ain't going nowhere now, he thought as he moved the branch that was his right arm.
He had already refused his daughter's offer to live with her in the city. He told her he wanted to go to sleep at night hearing the familiar and beloved sounds of the backwoods, not the blasts and clatter of urban life which never welcomed him when he visited those few times.
“Maybe we can find someone else to come and stay with Daddy,” she now said to her brother. “Someone who doesn't know him.”
Don't worry, baby angel. Won't be long now. I won't need a nurse. Maybe a gardener? He cackled, as happy as he could be under the circumstances.
A few minutes passed before his children walked into the room. Though he could no longer see them, he heard their gasps and cries.
“I don't believe this,” his son said. “He's gone.” 
No, I'm here, son, right where I belong. Rufus struggled to say more. Can you hear me? You'll always find me here.
There was no more he could do for them. As his last thoughts faded along with his voice, he hoped they would make common sense arrangements.
While his sister cried and dialed the phone, her brother reached over and closed his father's eyes.
“He looks so peaceful. Like he's asleep,” he whispered.
He pulled the blanket from the sofa and covered his father's body. His daddy always hated to be cold.
*  *  *
Note: The first line comes from a #storystarters prompt.


  1. Great name. Rufus had the last laugh, albeit a gentle, rustling kind of one. That's how I want to go - nice and easy.

  2. This was lovely! He's happy now, staying in his beloved woods. Great name!

  3. Wonderful story!

  4. Wow, you managed to make death a lovely, peaceful occasion. Bravo!!!

  5. Loved that first sentence--an incredible image.

    Tender story.

  6. Hey Marisa,
    Like Peggy said, the first sentence was enchanting. This story had a nice somber lull to it. A final gentle falling asleep. His name was cool too.

  7. I agree with Shannon... It's rare that death comes so peacefully... Nice flash.

  8. Very nice story. It's nice that he's found peace, and he can stay right where he wants to--right at home.

  9. What a great job you did of merging the man's final moments of life with his becomeing part of the earth. Quite a story you crafted from that prompt!

  10. Lovely story. You did a good job of keeping the peaceful mood throughout and really bringing it home at the end.

  11. Cool name. Cool story.

    I hope he gets to the place he was dreaming of...


  12. What an excellent idea. That's what I will do when I'm old. (^v^)

  13. He was able to stay in his beloved woods. What a lovely way to go.

  14. What an endearing story! I think that's the kind of passing we all hope for. It is a metamorphosis, after all.

    Very clever and moving. Nice work. :)

  15. Awww... I was so happy for him! And I guess I still am. What a lovely story. I want it to be true.

    This is a terrific idea and you executed it really well.

  16. Anonymous11:10 AM

    What a great story. This is how I'm going, too-- turn into a tree.

    Lovely writing. One of my favorites this week.

  17. Anonymous12:07 PM

    This is just lovely, I loved the ending, how his son covered him so he wouldn't be cold.
    You've captured perfectly how kids perceive things, so touching.

  18. "I won't need a nurse. Maybe a gardener?"

    And some robins to nest in his branches in the spring.

    Nicely done.

  19. Ligneous. A man determined to stay in place literally sprouts roots and an integument to keep him wedded to the place he's known all his life. Lovely, touching image of place.

    marc nash

  20. This was meaningful and symbolic on so many levels. He become part of his beloved woods - his imagination as he died? His gentle death, melding with the earth, returning where he came from on his own terms.

    This was so beautiful and touching, I can't say enough.

    I can see this made into a complete book. This could actually be a children's book evoking discussions about death and passing. I just love the imagery.

  21. This was incredibly moving. Thanks for sharing it.

  22. Just lovely. Really enjoyed the image of his body feeling like a tree. Good on Rufus for defying them.

  23. What a beautiful story Marisa! You wove it all together so well, which doesn't surprise me in the least. Well done!

  24. Anonymous6:57 PM

    That's what we're all hoping for. Unfortunately, few of us are lucky enough to die the "good death."


  25. I liked the imagery of someone becoming one with their forest.

  26. Terrific imagery - it doesn't seem Rufus would've been happy in a home for sure.

  27. Quite a moving story. Well done!

  28. Lovely story:)
    It's a difficult topic to write about, but you did so in a way that was touching.

  29. It is a great name, and a wonderful close.

  30. Aww, I know that I should be sad because he's died, but...I'm happy that he's done so under his own terms. Very beautiful flash.

    I always feel humbled by your writing!

  31. You created this man into someone I would have liked to have known. Beautiful work.

  32. That first line is awesome. Tender. Magical. It could very easily continue. One of those stories I would have written when I was younger (not the crafty bit of course--but the idea of just going with the flow of the imagination....). Inspired.

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