Friday Fictioneers – Mud

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PHOTO PROMPT © Madison Woods

 

It’s raining again as I leave the chateau. Bloody rain! It’s been raining since late July, halting our advance on Passchendaele.  Nothing can move through this mud. Before reaching the line, I’m already rehearsing my report.

But the battlefield vanquishes me. A bog, pocked by oozing shell craters, which sunk and drowned a quarter of a million men. Sticking from the mud, an arm that had once belonged to a living man, that had raised a pint with mates or caressed a sweetheart’s cheek.

God! What have we done?  I put my service revolver to my temple, squeezing the trigger.

 

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find It here

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63 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – Mud

      1. Yes…. in some senses, 100 words does eliminate backstories, and here, I mean no offense to Jossylyn Rae Turner, but age factors in too. Some parts of history, significant parts, are lost to entire generations, and they have perhaps, at best, a vague notion, rather than information, which means, as was the case, your reader was curious enough to search out the story in order to fully appreciate the meaning, and put it into perspective.

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  1. A grim and graphic reminder of grimmer times. The arm was just about the most horrifying example of the ordinary, everyday lives of those statistics that must haunt everyone engaged in operational warfare. Well done.

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  2. Excellent in capturing the brutality of the intensity of these places …. the mud that literally became a graveyard in such epic proportions, and the complete misunderstanding of the situation leading up to it – the failure of command – oh the follies of war and the terrible cost. Well done.

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      1. I suspect, that like most things, understanding the implications of weather and its affects, whether then or now, can honestly be classified as categorically “a guess at best” – it sort of reminds me of the aspect of not really understanding “the complexities of the terrain and jungles” in Vietnam.

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  3. Captured oh so well. Indeed horrific. Reminds me of Pj’s description of when they liberated camps and found the bodies everywhere, coming to the surface in the rains and mud… very chilling.

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  4. Robert Leckie reported a similar incident during the USMC’s New Britain campaign, where it rained so hard for so long that many men went insane. The trenches were even worse, since an infantryman’s death was all but certain by 1917. I imagine that many a young man was willing to do anything to escape.

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  5. Fantastic discriptions, really showed the horror of war and the impact it has. I would love to say we learn from past experiences of war…but it seems we don’t. Well done Neil, a very thought provoking peice! Heidi 🙂

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    1. The high command was in a chateau a long way from the front. He was intended to be a captain sent out to find out what the problem was and report back. But your interpretation worked.

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  6. The juxtaposition of the ordinary (as represented by the arm) and war (as conveyed through evocative imagery) is intensely powerful. A wonderfully written story!

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