Crossroads (Short Story)

in fiction •  2 years ago 


Song Lines

I have started a writing project, where I write short stories inspired by a song, or a line or two from a song. This one is inspired by the song Crossroads, by Cream.


I went down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees.
Asked the Lord above for mercy, "Save me if you please."
Crossroads - Cream

The breeze was cool as it gently made it's way passed Willie. He lifted his nose, sniffing the air. "Smells like death," he said. He had a nose for death. He could pick out the varied flavours delivered to him by the messengers. No one had a nose like Willie. Death's aroma knew his name. It spoke to him, and only him.

"What do you sense?" O'Reilly asked. He had a first name but no one dared use it. Willie used neither. He just called him Captain. He called everyone Captain. To Willie everyone else was sailing the ship, he was just a passenger. Alighting at the next port of call. Except it had never arrived. And here he was, still working for the man. Helping the system. Doing his bit to track down the dealers of death that lurked in the lands around. No one knew how many there were. Or what they even looked like. They just had to deal with the bodies that showed up. And another one was out there, in the tall grasses that stretched out from where the men were gathered. Or perhaps in the swamps further out. Death was awaiting their arrival. Willie had sniffed the air. Death never lied to Willie.

Willie was resigned to his fate. A realisation from long ago that he had purpose. That his life meant something. Death taught him that. "Where you hiding this one?" he said, to no one in particular. The wind stroked the side of his face. Colours danced across the inside of his eyelids. He followed them, watching their swirling mayhem. Willie spoke this language, he knew it well. Pointing his face to the air as he made swooping gestures with his arms, inviting the messengers to speak with him some more. The air tickled the hairs in his nostrils. He turned around, pointing first one way, then another.

There's a body out there.

Willie received Death's whisper. Tell me more. Tell me what I need to know. Deep inside, where darkness frayed the edges of two worlds, Willie conversed with the unknown. With Death itself.

Willie stepped forward. O'Reilly grabbed his arm. "Steady there," he said. "you'll walk into that bloody tree if you're not careful."

"There's something over there, in that direction." His voice was gravelly, the years of despair taking their toll. Willie pointed to where he meant. He could sense the landscape around. The whirling angels painted him a picture of what lay ahead. The scent of death lingered powerfully as he gingerly took a few steps.

O'Reilly called a few of his men over. Dressed all in black, the colour of the night. It was also the colour of the law around these parts. "Go check the field out that direction. Willie says that's where she lay." O'Reilly's arm was outstretched pointing the way. He turned back to Willie. "So what's your sense on this one?"

"Bad one, Captain. Real bad. Death hasn't been kind to her." The dancing angels had all turned black. Willie could see their menacing shapes, draining the colours from his eyelids. They ravished his body with blades of spit, like rain pouring out from the holes in heaven. He grimaced at the thought but he understood its meaning. Death's symbolism was not lost on him.

O'Reilly had driven to Willie's place himself. He never sent his men to collect him. Willie always knew when O'Reilly was on his way. Death snaked like a dream through the veins of the night. Visiting him. Alerting Willie to what lay in store.

I have a job for you. Death would always arrive first.

"I have a job for you, Willie." O'Reilly stood on the wooden porch, the front door receiving his message. He hadn't knocked. He never knocked. Willie knew he was there.

"Been a while, Captain."

"Yes it has," O'Reilly said. It had been over a year since Willie had heard his footsteps echo on that wooden porch. He thought about the last time, and the stench that had wrapped its tentacles around their world back then. It was the first time he had heard any lawman cry. O'Reilly's crew had been shaken to it's core, fragmented and cast aside like rag dolls. Death's obscenity had taken its toll. Each one of them shaken to a depth that was rarely visited.

Some deaths are routine. This had not been one of those ones. Willie had been forewarned.

Brace yourself.

The stench of Death's messengers had accosted him from afar. It had felt like daggers ripping his insides out through the holes in his face. Twisting his vital organs into knots, pushing them aside as they searched for his soul. There had been no dancing angels of colour that night. Just the screaming howls of ten thousand Banshees. The ringing in his ears had left him convulsed on the ground. Twisting in agony. O'Reilly had seen it before. He knew to keep his distance and let Death have the time to breath its thoughts into Willie's mind. And Willie's struggle had slowly morphed into O'Reilly's. Watching while Death turned another man into a convulsive mess. He could do nothing but send his men off to search elsewhere. Don't let anyone see the dance between Death and the blind man. Some things had to remain secret. Especially those things that made no sense. But Willie had always emerged with answers.

I am your eyes, Willie. You see what I show you.

"The men found her. She's over there." O'Reilly relayed the news to Willie.

"She bad?"

"Yes, she is."

"Worse than last time?" Willie asked.

"Appears so."

Willie lowered his head. His body slumped, knees crashing into the dry dirt. They were standing on sacred ground. A meeting place, where sky and earth melted into each other. And the reaction was always the same - legs like jelly buckling under the weight of being Death's pivot point. A receiver of energies trapped and swirling, looking for an exit. Another loss, another request for help, more visions gatecrashing his quiet dreamless sleep. Death would speak only to him. And Death lived in these parts. He made regular visits. Here especially, at the crossroads. At the meeting point of earth, sky, water, and the fires of Hell.

I'll be seeing you, Willie.

Death ruled these parts. He always had.

All images used with permission, and sourced from

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you liked it then please like, comment, and follow


Short Fiction:

Bang Bang You're Dead
I Have No Name and I Must Scream
The Last Book Store
The Judge
The Man In The Mirror
The End of the World [Part 1] [Part 2]
The Locked Room
The Gods of Love and War [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3]

Notes From an Amateur Writer blog series:

Notes From an Amateur Writer #1 - The Search For Inspiration
Notes From an Amateur Writer #2 - A Call to Action: Interacting With the World Outside of Me
Notes From an Amateur Writer #3 - Facing the Challenge
Notes From an Amateur Writer #4 - The Soundtrack to Grief and Loss
Notes From an Amateur Writer #5 - Music as a Catalyst for Imagination: Jimi Hendrix's Little Wing
Notes From an Amateur Writer #6 - The Stories All Around Us
Notes From an Amateur Writer #7 - Introducing Nomad [A Cyberpunk Mystery in the Making]
Notes From an Amateur Writer #8 - The House at the Edge of the World
Notes From an Amateur Writer #9 - Making Peace With My Kindle
Notes From an Amateur Writer #10 - Learning the Craft of Story Structure
Notes From an Amateur Writer #11 - Adults Sit at the Big Table, Children Sit at the Small Table
Notes From an Amateur Writer #12 - The Time I Won a Lego Competition
Notes From an Amateur Writer #13 - Learning to Fly
Notes From an Amateur Writer #14 - The Tucker 48: Face to Face With a Million Dollar Vehicle
Notes From an Amateur Writer #15 - When the Levee Breaks: A Story in Song and Words
Notes From an Amateur Writer #16 - Monty Python, Keanu Reeves, and My Case of Invisibility
Notes From an Amateur Writer #17 - Dancing With My Muse
Notes From an Amateur Writer #18 - Facing the Challenge Part 2
Notes From an Amateur Writer #19 - Telling Stories
Notes From an Amateur Writer #20 - Life Is Like a Box of Crazy
Notes From an Amateur Writer #21 - Writing Myself Out of Existence
Notes From an Amateur Writer #22 - The Finish Line Becomes the Next Starting Line
Notes #23 - It Is Sometimes An Appropriate Response To Reality To Go Insane
Notes #24 - The Happy Smiley People Ad Agency
Notes #25 - Some Days Are Full of Blah
Notes #26 - Stop and Smell the Future
Notes #27 - The Narrator and I
Notes #28 - Give Me Liberty (Or Give Me Rock and Roll)
Notes #29 - Paranoid Android
Notes #30 - Write a Better Story

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Hey there, @naquoya.

Fantastic short about the chilling meeting between Willie and the Captain. Your writing skills are sky high, man. Very imaginatively told and we, as the reader, got a real sense of dread and foreboding as to some terrifying outcome.

Great stuff, buddy. Keep building upon an awesome foundation of talent.

Thank you @ezzy, really appreciate your kind words, and feedback. I think this is one of my better ones, and I am happy with how it turned out. I know there is room there to explore further, and may do so given some of the other feedback.

Was really just wanting to explore the concept, and the those two characters initially. Happy to explore it further too.

Thanks again :)

Boom is right, this does beg to be stretched out further. Willie and the Captain seem so fully fleshed out. I can't believe this was just a short story. My eyes were glued to the very end. This was very well done, mate. Lots of deep cuts, and the dialogue was scripted so superbly.

I knew someone here a few months back who did this as well--write stories from songs. Though the songs he did was mostly instrumental. He called it StoryTrax, and I don't think he's active on Steemit anymore. I wish I could fashion a rich story from a song, but I fear I'm not that audibly inspired. Great work with this, mate!

Thanks for the feedback. I let this one sit for a little bit, it had a week or so to develop slowly. Normally I write something like this in a few hours. But I am trying to allow stories to sit, before rereading, and editing as necessary. I think it helped. It become even darker, more intense. The two main characters developed more, even within the context of it being just a short story. It ended abruptly, but within context. With the feedback I have received I will take another look at it, in terms of developing it further.

I wrote 'When the Levee Breaks' based on the concept of stories from songs. I want to revisit that one and tidy it up a little, and maybe repost it. Also I have a few others I am looking at. Half written stories. They are usually songs that grab me emotionally in some capacity. The ideas are generated from that emotional impact.

Yeah, I remember When the Levee Breaks from your 30-day challenge, but I've known someone who did that as well a few months back. I remembered only when I commented on this that's why I forgot to mention it on Levee. That emotional impact with songs, I really hope I could translate that to writing as well. So far, I haven't been able to do so.

Songs to me is a source of ideas. Depends on the song. But perhaps something else works for you. Even other stories we read. This is where I think a writing journal helps, where you write for the writing itself and not the audience. See what develops.

Drawing or photos work more for me. I'm more of a visual thinker, you see.

I feel where you are coming from (somewhere across the sea).

This was a brilliant short story, so much was there hanging in the story, the there is just so much more that I want from this.

I am genuinely excited about this story, I hope that there is more to come?

Thank you for your feedback. This story has been well received which is appreciated. I may take another look at it and develop the story some more - it certainly has room for further exploration.

Nicely done, I like how the story develops and agree with others that it really could be fleshed out to become something much larger. Recently I have been wanting to write poem about a cadaver dog, I'm not sure why it's just an idea that popped into my head. Anyway when I read the first sentence of your story I was instantly thinking cadaver dog, but then as I read the second sentence I knew it was not. I like characters with unique and special abilities they are kind of like savants.

Thank you. Seems I will need to revisit and dig deeper. There is way more to tell, but glad to hear others want to see that happen. I'm happy with the way Willie developed, and the core of the story, so yes his abilities are what drive it forward.

I love this. Suitably dark and exactly my taste.

Thank you, glad to hear that. I like the darker stories. Mystery and intrigue, and characters with an uncertain history.

That's excellent work. I really like Willie. I get a feel for a story untold that we stand at the beginning of. I think you should continue with this one :0)

Thank you. There is potential to explore further with this one. I like the blend of darkness and intrigued that developed.

Me too, never has a short begged for more!

Well thank you for saying that. I'll see if I can track these characters down for a second instalment.


Upvoted and also resteemed!

Thanks very much :)

This post has received a 0.52 % upvote from @drotto thanks to: @banjo.

Congratulations! This post has been upvoted from the communal account, @minnowsupport, by naquoya from the Minnow Support Project. It's a witness project run by aggroed, ausbitbank, teamsteem, theprophet0, and someguy123. The goal is to help Steemit grow by supporting Minnows and creating a social network. Please find us in the Peace, Abundance, and Liberty Network (PALnet) Discord Channel. It's a completely public and open space to all members of the Steemit community who voluntarily choose to be there.

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Nice post i am @djnoel i do mixes of house music,deep house afro house etc,Good luck over here ;)

Not a nice comment. Sorry to be mean, but I guess comments like this deserve it. The least you could do is read at least half of the post and write a thoughtful comment about it before you sell your wares. This is no different from the garbage ads that pop up all over the internet. Shame, dude. Shame.

Nice post

Really? Then why didn't you even vote for it. I'm hurt. I thought you said it was a nice post.

(thanks to @meesterboom)

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