Friday Fictioneers – War

photo-by-piya-singh-bittercharm-6
Photo prompt. Piya Singh

Reuven watched in horrified fascination as Tolbert’s white buttocks heaved between the girl’s legs. She struggled, and Tolbert slapped her face, then pinned her arms to the table. In moments it was over.

“Your turn, mate,” he said cheerfully, pulling up his breeches.

In an agony of shame, Reuven fumbled with his laces. He didn’t want the girl. And yet in war you could do anything, take anything. He wasn’t hard. But he didn’t want his friend to make fun of him.

“Come on, lads, gotta get this grub back to camp,” Carnvel called from the door.

 

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

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76 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – War

      1. I tend to take the view that if it happens in real life, then there’s no valid reason to shy away from writing about it. And there’s no doubt that this happens in real life. Sadly.

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  1. I read with “horrified fascination” – the fascination was how you have written a brutal subject with empathy for the ‘victims’ of war – Here all are victims it seems. Well done!

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  2. Grim stuff but well written. I wonder if Carnvel is helping Reuven save face? And I wonder if we will ever know the girl’s name or whether she will always remain just ‘the girl’.

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  3. No mincing about here. It’s ‘nice’ to be confronted with the difficult but gritty realities of war. It’s so easy for us to avoid habitually but this format enables us to confront it. Superb fiction.

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  4. That we can manage to isolate a people due to their lack of common beliefs and take any action we fee with them is horrifying in itself, not to mention what is visited on this defenseless girl.

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  5. Rotten stinking war turns men into survivalist savages. Unfortunately, in a fallen world, this is the norm.
    You packed a lot into that story, including the big wallop. Nailed it, Neil!

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  6. I hate Tolbert!
    I feel sorry for Reuven.
    I’m grateful for Carnvel’s sudden interruption.
    I’m horrified by the whole thing, although I know all this happens.
    Although I don’t think I could write such a scene, I’m impressed by your terse handling of the whole, horrible incident in poor Reuven’s life.
    Very well-written story, Neil!

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    1. I think that’s how soldiering works – you bond with your squad. However, in a couple of weeks Tolbert and Carnvel and indeed the whole troop of archers, die in battle

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  7. Good story, Neil. It was vivid but realistic and sadly what often happens in war. I don’t think it went far enough to be unacceptable to FF. Congratulations on your book being published as a series with Big World Network. I followed your link. You’ve led an interesting life. All the best in your writing career now and in future. 🙂 — Suzanne

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  8. The horrors of war don’t stop at the battlefield, not in the past and not now. Excellent writing of, I’m sure, a gripping novel. I’m not really sorry for Reuven although I can understand why he acts like he acts. The one I’m sorry for is the victim..

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  9. This was brutal and honest and elicits such a visceral response. You captured a dark moment with such clarity, given the word restrictions and I’m left feeling soiled for having witnessed this and delighted to have read such a wonderfully written piece. Well done, Neil.

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  10. Brutal and vivid are definitely the words for this. Starkly written, the writing is exactly right for the subject matter. Brilliantly conveyed.

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  11. Brutal was the word that sprang to mind – I see many other commenters found exactly the same word. You’ve conveyed a different, more individual nastiness to war here. A thought provoking piece. Excellently done. I’m going to have to find something funny to read to get the taste out of my mouth.

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  12. Directly you give the girl a name, she’s a person rather than a thing. So that works well, you not naming her. Those same guys would most likely kill a man who raped their mother, sisters, wives, or girlfriends. I’m glad “the girl” was saved by the bell from a second assault. A very well-written comment on how war can turn possibly civilised guys into brutes unbound from the rules of decency.

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  13. Upon reading this I was hoping Tolbert got prosecuted for war crimes or crimes against humanity. Is Tolbert just a bad apple or barometer of the norm?
    On another thought Erich Fromm observed a phenomenon called “lustful destructiveness”, namely raping, pillaging, and destroying as a means to assert absolute control and play God.

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    1. Tolbert is a pretty normal bloke, I’m afraid, more given to exercising the lusts of war than Reuven. But even Reuven is excited by the fact that in war you can do anything, take anything. I think we don’t really prevent these things happening if we allow ourselves the convenient myth that those who behave like this are demons, not like us

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  14. A very disturbing scene. Superb characterisation in 100 words – Reuven is repelled but driven by his own need for acceptance, and his ‘fumbling with his laces’ show which impulse will win as he briefly justifies to himself why he’s going to do it. Thank goodness for the save at the end. Wow.

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  15. Brutally well written, Neil. Let’s not mince words. This horrid act has happened and continues to happen during war. Lucky for Reuven he “saved face” by being called away. Why the need to be “one of the group” is stronger than being “the one who stops this from happening in the first place” is something I just struggle with.

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