Tag Archives: war

Fiction: Losses (530 words)

Edith sat on the edge of her bed. She was waiting for something that was never going to happen. There was no one coming home to her. Her father was gone. Her husband was gone. Her son was gone. Literally, everything that this war could take from her short of her own life–it had. She sat alone at the edge of her bed, watching her door as if one of them might come walking in any way.  And with each second that passed with no one there, her heart grew a little heavier.

She allowed herself exactly ten minutes that morning to sit there in blind grief, silent and afraid. Then she had to stand up and face the world again. She’d been sitting in silence and fear without noticing time passing since she was first brought her the news. She’d stay here forever if she didn’t press forward today. Those soldiers, her men, didn’t go off to fight for her to fall apart. They didn’t go out and die so that she could spend the rest of her time moping and wishing that they hadn’t gone to fight for her country and everything they believed was right and good.  She pulled herself to her feet, tied up her hair, and headed out into the living room.

Her neighbors looked up in surprise at her reappearing. “Edie, are you okay?” Her friend Marie asked, before wincing, “I mean, of course, you aren’t okay, but I mean–” Marie shook her head again and tried to offer Edith a sad smile. “What I’m trying to say is that we understand if you just want to have a quiet day today.”

“I don’t think that sitting alone in my room dwelling on my sadness is going to be much help to anyone,” Edith answered with a perk in her voice—it sounded terrible even to her own ears, but she wasn’t sure what else she might sound like if she tried. “Please, Marie, give me something to do. Don’t make sit in there alone.”  This desperate tone was no better at all—she almost preferred the overly cheery tone.  But it seemed to be exactly what Marie needed to hear from her.

“Of course, of course. Do you want to work on something small or something big today?” Marie asked gesturing to the other women in the room.

“Big, I think,” Edith answered quickly, so she wouldn’t have time to analyze the tone that her voice was taking now.

“Okay then. Talk to Eleanor,” Marie gestured to the oldest woman in the room, sitting near the fireplace, “She’ll give you something big, and keep you as busy as you want to be.” She reached out and took Edith’s hand, pulling her in closer so that Marie’s next words could only be heard by Edith. “But as soon as you need an out, go. No one here will fault you for leaving work undone for a while, okay? Don’t feel pressured to get it done.”

Edith nodded slightly at Marie. “Thank you. But—I need this.”

Marie nodded as well, and let go of Edith’s hand. “Go see Eleanor, She’ll get you set up.”

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Posted by on July 18, 2017 in Stories


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Fiction: Hating the Wait (533 words)

All River could do now was wait. They had fortified their defenses. Her army was at her it’s strongest yet. They had a good position around their base—and she was fairly confident that the could outlast any siege that the Brotherhood could bring around them.

But now they were just waiting.  They had to wait for the Brotherhood to decide to come and attack them. They all knew that it was only a matter of time—but they didn’t know what length that time would be.  She paced around the front room of the little fortified base, trying not drive herself crazy, or anyone else crazy. David was standing near the door to the barracks, leaning against the wall and watching her walk herself around in different circles and squares, and any other shape that her mind could create, as a pathetic attempt at a distraction method.

“Are you going to do that until they show up?” David finally asked when River finished was he was pretty sure was a five point star. “It could still be a couple weeks before their army is at our door. Your legs are going to get tired.”

“Hardy-har,” River replied in a monotone, starting a new shape around the border of the room.

“Seriously though, Riv, you’ve got to calm down. You’re going to drive us all batty sooner rather than later if you keep running around like that.” David answered

“I’m going to drive myself crazy if I sit still, Dave. I can’t just stand around waiting to be attacked.”

“Well, there is a poker game going on in the barracks. I’m pretty sure the chef can always use help in the kitchen. Or, if you’re thinking a little bit more one-on-one, I’m pretty sure there’s a nice little supply closet we can disappear to for a couple hours or so,” David waggled his eyebrows suggestively.

River stopped in her pacing to give David a look. “Really? That’s what you’re thinking about? With everything going on?”

“Well, of course—“ David shrugged with a smile. “It took us so long to get together. If we’re going to be under siege, I might as well try and get as much as I can before it’s all war all the time.”

The anger and tension slid out of River in one quick wave as she shook her head at David. “You are utterly ridiculous. You know that?”

“I am aware. I’ve been told a time or two. Mostly by you, in fact.” David pushed up away from the wall, but didn’t step forward. He raised his arms just slightly, like inviting River forward for a hug. She rocked back and forth on her heels for a second, before walking forward into his arms. He wrapped his arms tightly around her waist as she rested her head against his collarbone.

“I love you,” She muttered into his chest, “Just in case I haven’t said it enough.”

“I love you too,” He murmured into her hair. He waited a whole additional fifteen seconds before added, “So, that closet…yes or no?”

She gave him a half-hearted shove in the chest. “You’re ridiculous.”

“See?” He laughed, “There you go again.”

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Posted by on June 26, 2017 in River's Story, Stories


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Fiction: Sealed Letter (523 words)

Dear Anna,

I know you don’t want to hear from me right now. I hear that you don’t even go by Anna anymore, but you’re Lydia again. Like Mom and I used to call you when you were very small. Can you even remember us calling you that? Either way, it’s kind of nice. I always like Lydia better than Anna anyways.

But, I know you. And I know that you wouldn’t like me calling you Lydia now. So, I’ll stick to Anna. Because I don’t want to make you any angrier than you already are with me. Because I know you are already livid. But you’re livid with the wrong people.

The truth is—You’re probably reading this years from now.  Maybe five? Six? I’m betting you stuck your head in the sand—ran away—as soon as this letter hit your doorstep. Tried to pretend I didn’t exist. But, you kept the letter. Sealed, but you couldn’t make yourself throw it away, even as you ran. Not this. Not your last contact with your brother.

Then again, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe five or six years down the line this paper will have rotted away under a pile of trash where you immediately threw it as soon as you recognized my handing writing. Maybe I’m wrong—but I doubt it.  So—I’m going to say what I need to say, and you’ll read it when you are good and ready.

I wasn’t to start by saying I love you.  You’re my sister and I will always love you—no matter what happens. I love you with all my heart.  You will always be blood, and I will always want to keep you safe. So, if you’re reading this because you finally came around to my point of view, you can always come see the right side of things. Please, don’t hesitate to come to me. You can walk right in and I promise no one will lay a hand on you. I swear on my life you will be unharmed, and you know how highly I value my life. I want you here with me, Anna, at my side, because I know that together we would be unstoppable. We could make this world what it should be. Wouldn’t that be wonderful, Anna? A perfect world? Us together again? I’ll tell you now, it is all I want.

I still don’t quite understand, Anna, why you left in the first place. I’m not angry, I just don’t understand. You saw the same horrors that I did. You are just as smart as me, so I know you comprehended what we saw. Why didn’t you get angry? Why am I the only who is angry about this? Why don’t you want to change it with me? I just want to understand, An. Please.

I’m keeping the Razr. Even if it’s five, ten, one hundred years from now that you read this letter, I will still have that Razr, charged and with me. You know the number, and I will answer. Call me, please. I miss my sister.


Your one and only brother,


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Posted by on April 5, 2017 in Lydia's Stories, Stories


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Fiction: Legal Theft Project–Grandma’s Loom (503 words)

The first slide of her hand was effortless, easy, done before she had thought through just how to begin. It was a reflex after her grandmother sat Angela down on the little stool in front of the giant wooden machine, the muscle memory of many days coming home after school and being put right to work. And once that first slide was made, she couldn’t just stop. She followed through the remaining motions until it was back to a state of rest, and she could step away without damaging all the other work her grandmother had done earlier. Then she jumped up off the stool like it had burned her.

“See, a natural,” her grandmother crowed, wrapping an arm around Angela and preventing her escape, talking to no one. “She hasn’t touched the loom in years.  She swears she’ll make more of her life than fabrics. But—she gets right to it, like a duck to water.”

Angela groaned, shrugging the arm off her shoulder, and taking two hurried steps away from the loom and her grandmother. “This isn’t what I want, Nini,” she whined, “I don’t want to be a natural.”

“It’s in our blood, Ang. It’s in your blood. It’s the way the world works.” Nini beckoned with her hand, trying to ease Angela back to the loom. “I don’t understand you, Angela. Most people would kill to have something come to them so naturally, be talented in something practical that will also be able to set them up financially for the rest of their life’s. People who only dream they could sit down and make what you just started to make.”

“I don’t want to die hunched in front of a loom!” The words were out of Angela’s mouth before she could stop them. That didn’t prevent her from clasping both hands over her mouth after they were out, though.

Nini stiffened—her face now expressionless. She was no longer reaching out for Angela, her arms now straight at her sides. “We weren’t talking about your mother, now were we?” Nini answered in a quiet, emotionless voice.

“Nini, I am so sorry,” Angela took a step forward as if to embrace her grandmother, but was stopped short by one dark glare.

“You don’t want to be here,” Nini cut quietly, “Then get out.”  Angela felt rooted to the spot, unsure of what the best course of action would be. The silence dragged on for a while before Nini broke it with a scream. “Get out!” Angela gave a little jump at her grandmother’s outburst, but Nini wasn’t done. “Leave! You can’t be bothered with your true talent, then I can’t be bothered with you. Go!”

Angela all but fled from the room. When she’d put some distance between her and the loom, she stopped to rest against the wall and try to catch her breath and process what had just happened.  She’d gotten what she wanted, freedom from her Nini’s loom…but it felt like a loss all the same.

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Posted by on March 31, 2017 in Legal Theft Project, Stories


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Fiction: Child of the Prophecy (674 words)

I held Mia closer to my chest and rocked the rocking chair a little bit harder.  Lucas was pacing back and forth across the nursery.  “How do we do this, Artie?”  There were tears on his cheeks but he didn’t sound like he was crying anymore. He sounded angry, and he needed to vent.  I held onto Mia tightly, ready to get up and leave if Lucas started to yell.  “That beautiful little girl, that angel of a child, is going to have to fight a war.  A war!  My grandfather, that sweet little things own flesh and blood, is going to start a war right now over a prophecy.  She’s six months old, Artemis, six months old, and a war is already starting around her.  When is she going to have to start fighting this war?  Will she even be an adult before this war collapses on her head?  Will she even be a teenager? In the double digits?  How do we prepare her for that?  How do we live our lives knowing this is where her life is going?” Lucas stopped pacing and stood right in front me and the rocking chair.

I stood up carefully and handed the sleeping Mia over to Lucas.  Lucas held her tightly but kept his eyes on me.  “Look at her,” I whispered.  Lucas looked at me almost pleadingly, his lower lip quivering. I gave him a look that said I wasn’t kidding, and he lowered his eyes slowly down to look at our daughter’s face. “Do you love her?”

“Yes, of course, I love her,” Lucas said with an exasperated tone.

“Will you protect her with all your heart and strength?”

“Of course, I will.”

“Even if your grandfather wages a war on her?”

“Even when my grandfather wages a war on her.”

“And will you try to keep her safe for as long as possible. No matter how long it takes for war to show up on our doorstep, or how long that war wages over the doorstep?”

“I will always keep this little girl safe.  No matter what. I will keep her safe, and I will do my best to protect and prepare her for anything that comes her way.”  Lucas admitted, crying again, and lifting Mia up to kiss her very softly on the forehead.

“That’s all I can say, Luke.  We must try to protect her and love her and prepare her as best we can.  We must be good enough for her.  Whether she’s six, sixteen, or twenty-six when that war comes to our steps, we need to stand by her, and we need to be able to protect her and to help her protect herself.” Lucas passed Mia back to me, and I placed her down into her crib.  I turned back to Lucas and let him wrap his arms tightly around me.

“I don’t think I am ready for this,” he muttered into my hair.

“To be perfectly honest, I’m not either.  I don’t think we could ever be ready to be parents, even if our daughter wasn’t the focal point of a war.  I think we just have to do the best we can with every situation that arises.” I said against his chest.

Lucas leaned down and kissed me on the top of the head.

“How do you stay so calm?” he asked.

“One of us has to be rational at all times.  Just you wait, tomorrow Mia will have an earache or something, and I’ll be beside myself with panic, and you’ll be the one with the level head to talk me down off a ledge.”

“I look forward to being the rational one again.  It’s hard being crazy, how do you do this all the time?”

I hit him lightly in the stomach, and he let out a little bit of an oof, and then laughed.

“She’s a great girl, our little Mia.”

“She’s a great girl, and we’ll make sure that she becomes a great woman.”

“You promise?”

“Of course. I promise.”


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Posted by on March 15, 2017 in Stories


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Fiction: For Peace (345 words)

He absolutely could not tell her that he loved her–at least not until the a treaty was signed. Because loving her meant understanding that this war came first, and putting his own feelings aside for now. Because no matter how she responded, it was going to put them both at risk.

Either, she loved him too, and his confession took her mind at least a little off the strategy to imagine what their life could be like in the future. Then if anything went wrong, she would quietly blame herself and him for the distraction, no matter how slight, from allowing her to be the best she could be.

Or, she didn’t feel that way at all. And then she was properly angry at him for introducing any kind of distraction when both she and him should be focused on the war they were fighting. She would be mad that he was thinking about her when he should be working, and she would be mad that now she was dedicating time to being mad at him instead of doing her work, and the part of her that was his friend would be worrying that she would be spending too much time pining over her, and getting himself killed in the process.

Or the most likely option of all, She wouldn’t even have considered it. She was raised in a rebel family during a war for most of her life–both her parents were fighters, her brother was a fighter, and she’d seen her first battle at eleven years old. When you’re life is a battle for survival, it’s not like you’re spending a lot of your time focusing on romantic interests.  And she wouldn’t have time to consider it now.  Why would he ruin his chances for her to consider him in a positive light by making her think about it now?

No, he couldn’t admit he loved her. Not until the treaties were signed. And there was nothing quite as good a motivator for him to make absolutely sure that peace was going to stand.

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Posted by on December 5, 2016 in Stories


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Legal Theft Project-After the Battle (275 words)

The mud squelched under her combat boots as she bent to flip over the corpse. It wasn’t him. She let out a breath and moved on to the next corpse.

She couldn’t actually decide if she wanted to find him or not.  Every time she approached the next corpse, she desperately wanted to find him, but she also desperately wanted to not find him.

If she found him, then that would be that. He was dead, and the grieving could start.  She’d be able to take his body home, return it to his family, and make sure that he got the proper burial and memorial that he deserved.  But then he would be dead, and there would be nothing else and she’d never be able to see him again.

If she didn’t find him, then there was still hope. He could still be breathing out there, fighting the good fight. But he could also be out there, too injured to continue, dying away from the battle, or worse, held prisoner and being tortured bit by bit until there was nothing left of him. And if she didn’t find him, she would never know the real answer, she could never be sure if she’d be able to see him again.

She wanted both. She wanted neither. She wanted to never be in this position in the first place.  She never wanted to be in this position again.

She took a deep breath as she stepped up to the next corpse, sinking a bit in the mud as she knelt down to the body.  One swift moment and the body was on its back.  It wasn’t him.

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Posted by on February 1, 2016 in Legal Theft Project


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