He made sure to choose men from the places worst hit, places on which more bombs had fallen than there were people to kill, and where even the dogs in the streets were armed. Men who could endure.
Each carried a copy of the truce document. Communication lines had long been cut; this was the only way. But slowly, the King’s runners had fallen, until only three were left. The war raged on, but still they ran.
On a rubble-grey day, they rested. One of the runners drew out his copy of the truce. Sweat-stained and dusty, it sat in his hands like something already broken.
‘Can you read?’ he asked the others. They shook their heads. No.
Unfolding it, he saw his King’s signature. The rest was meaningless.
‘He chose his messengers well,’ he said. ‘Is it peace we carry, or eternal death?’
Silently, they buried the papers. They slipped, each alone, into the shadows. None looked back.
This week’s Flash Friday challenge was to write a story – as usual, anywhere between 140 and 160 words – using the photo prompt and the concept of ‘war’. Loads of ideas trickled through my head, most of them based around the idea of the Olympics being a time of truce, or the image of the runners being used as a motivational tool by a modern Major-General, or things of that ilk, but I discarded them all. I’m not sure why I plumped for a King, in the end, and a truce which may or may not have been all it appeared to be, but I’m glad I did. I know I enjoyed writing this piece, as I enjoy writing all my Flash Friday pieces. Have you tried it out yet? I reckon you should. The crew who write there every Friday are among the most welcoming and supportive bunch I’ve ever met, and the writing challenges are a great way to keep your skills fresh. Think of it as an investment in your writing future. Go on!
It’s funny, though, how a story can seem pretty good when you first write it, and then okay as you read it and re-read it, and then tolerable as you run your final wordcount and get ready to post it, and finally utterly execrable as you read it once you’ve posted it. Why is that? Perhaps familiarity really does breed contempt. In any case, I hope you found something worthwhile in my effort this week, and I look forward to reading yours. Whaddaya mean, you can’t do it? Of course you can!
See you here tomorrow for an old-school book review. Until then, I remain your humble and affectionate servant,
The Slightly Bonkers