691 Words Plus A Sentence.

I’m uncertain as to whether I am understanding, and as a result, responding accordingly to a recent Daily Post prompt. But in all honesty, they never pay me any attention over there anyway. So I suppose that it doesn’t matter if I’m spot-on, or off-target to the point of looking much like Mr. Magoo shooting a potato gun backwards into a wind tunnel.

Yeah, you’re trying to envision that now, aren’t ya?

I DO however, know that I’m well within stated regs in regards to Master Class 2013, and I’m also certain that the Professor pays attention to me over there. So much so, that it behooves me to regularly ensure that all my “i’s” are crossed and my “t’s” dotted, before publishing.

Having now done so, following is my response to both prompts. As always, please play along, and also as always, I hope you enjoy!

Copyright: Robert Hunt

Copyright: Robert Hunt

It was only a duck pond, at the back of the farm.

But it hadn’t always been that way, no. It had started its life as a crater; blown out of the earth from a shell that had hoped to slam itself noisily into the building that actually stood several hundred feet from where the missile eventually took root instead.

As these things go, the crater was quickly made useful as it filled with soldiers, huddled together in a cold, wet, quivering mass; all in the hopes that their proximity to each other, combined with their quasi-concealment, would somehow prevent them from taking similar shots – from much smaller, yet equally deadly shells – to their own bodies.

As the scout furtively raised his head over the brim to see if they were alone, the round that blasted arrogantly through his skull quickly provided both him and his comrades with dramatic evidence of the answer that they were hoping to not receive.

Leonard wanted to vomit as Scout’s blood and brain sprayed across the pit, covering the other soldiers faces and mouths. But he found that he’d no more substance to expel, and even less energy required to carry through with the exercise anyway. In fact, he’d done so so often, that Leonard could honestly not see where he should ever need to vomit another day in his entire life, once he got out of this unholy mess.

If he got out of this unholy mess.

“Martin…”

“Yes Lenny?”

“Do you… well, do you ever wish that it was over?”

“The war? Of course I do, you dolt!”

“No, no. Not the war, Marty. Everything.”

“Everything? You mean like, the world, the universe, time itself? What are you doing mate? Going all philosophical, at the very moment Jerry is trying to blow our fool heads off?”

“Well, we might not have any other time to do so, you see…”

“Blimey! We’re trying to get our arses out of here! Not start a debate with the High Lord Above and His Boy over the meaning of life. The ‘meaning of life…’ there is no meaning to it at all, if we can’t get out of here with it still in our pockets!”

Leonard knew that his chum was right of course, and as the clamor of explosions protested closely overhead, he realized once again how true it was, that the next serving of splashing brains could be his to provide, if he found himself unable to get his head out of the damned clouds.

But still. How he wished that it were all over. Over and done, and everyone assigned to their new and eternal dwelling places. Of course, there was still that certain fear that his would be the dwelling place less desired. But war had an odd way of making a man fear hell less than heaven, as it is common to fear the thing you don’t know, over the thing you do.

Leonard’s reflective fog dissipated abruptly as Marty roughly jostled his shoulder while shouting, “Oi! Time to go laddy!”

Taking a fools gamble on a sudden lull in the general chaos, the band of men rose haphazardly from the shell-blown trench, only to be met by an unexpected and fresh swarm of projectiles, buzzing through them in a newly formed river of red, like a metallic wind hell-bent on creating of itself a tornado. Leonard wasn’t the first to fall, but by the time the round that would pierce him did, he’d seen enough of his comrades crumble as to make him aware that this very day he could well be seeing the High Lord Above’s Boy in person. As he lay in the bottom of the crater, his blood pumping ever efficiently through the two new gaping holes torn through his neck, he murkily realized that he had received his wish after all. If nothing else, it really was all over now. Just the Reckoning left, he reckoned, and then he could call it a day forever more. As the blood continued to burble out, he inexplicably smelt the pungent odor of pond water permeating his dying nostrils, while swearing to himself that he could hear the faint murmur of approaching ducks…

•••

From Master Class: “Tara of Thin Spiral Notebook… was asked (some time ago, honestly) to choose the assignment for the next class. I gave her no specific instructions, and she chose…” from Neil Gaiman’s “The Ocean At The End Of The Lane.”

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25 thoughts on “691 Words Plus A Sentence.

  1. Dude! Very deep, very conscious, very, very well done. Seriously. Your ending was the perfect circle to wrap the story up concisely. Who says every story has to have a happy ending? And yet, it is truly a happy ending as Leonard gets his wish.

  2. Pingback: ‘Backward’ Tale – The Boy and The Girl. | 3rdculturechildren

  3. Pingback: Weekly Writing Challenge: Backward | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

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  5. Very nice work here, Troy! I loved the juxtaposition of the light, humorous tone with the weighty and gory subject. Also, a very creative take on the prompt! I look forward to reading more of your stuff.

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