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Flashfiction #34: Martyrdom

Discussion in 'Reader's Corner' started by afgpride, May 16, 2018.

  1. afgpride Retired Staff

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    Jan 28, 2011


    1. Your work must be within constraints of the theme.
    2. Of course, all themes can be interpreted in any number of ways.
    3. 500 words maximum per entry, or else the entry will be disqualified.
    4. Only post one entry per theme. The highest rated entry will choose the next theme.
    5. You may not rate/review your own work.
    6. Add a rating out of ten at the end of your "review".
    7. Be constructive/honest when criticizing a piece. No mindless flaming.
    8. You do not have to enter a flashfic to rate.
    9. If you enter and do not rate & review the other entries, your flashfic is disqualified from points.

    Starts 16/05, Wednesday, ends 02/06, Saturday. Reviews from 03/06 to 05/06 Tuesday.
    Last edited: May 26, 2018
  2. Sequester

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    Mar 10, 2011

    The glimmer of moonlight sparkling against gun metal in the alley next to Isaac grabbed his immediate attention. From his peripheral vision he spotted an extremely thin man, disheveled and dirty, holding the instrument in question. Even the inclement rain did little to wash the muck from him. He was hidden by the shadow cast from the shoe store. Most people may not have even noticed him, but it was obvious to Isaac that this man intended to ambush the next oblivious passerby who happened upon his zone.

    So much for criminals taking the night off.

    Isaac didn’t bother to wait for the attacker to jump out from the darkened alley. He turned to him so he could spring his trap, and quickly put his arms up in surrender. “Yes?” he said to his not-so-hidden ambusher.

    The man clumsily stepped from the shadows, caught off guard by Isaac’s preemptive victimization. His mouth opened, releasing a gust of foul breath that the storm’s winds did not mercifully push away from Isaac’s nostrils. Soon after sound followed behind the stench as the man ordered his target to relinquish all his funds to him. Isaac looked to the firearm again. It was a very old gun with patches of rust on its barrel. Isaac wasn’t certain that the weapon would discharge properly with the condition it was in.

    With his hands still in the air, Isaac thought of ways he could disarm this man. Of course, Isaac would never actually try to disarm a man carrying a firearm, even one in such a bad condition. His wife Lana would often chide Isaac for these delusions of being able to dispatch multiple assailants, or for making comments on how professional fighters should have fought when he has never thrown a punch. She made him promise that if he ever found himself in trouble he would backdown, run, or give up whatever he was being compelled to forfeit. He knew, of course, that she was right. Thinking up ways to beat people up, isn’t the same as being able to do it.

    Isaac reached into the left-front pocket of his old favorite blue jeans and extracted his wallet from it. He took out a ten dollar bill, extending his arm out to the junky.
    The junky twisted his expression into a snarl. “I want da wallet too!” he barked.

    “No,” Isaac said evenly. As the criminal’s face switched from forceful to confusion, Isaac’s mind screamed an additional two methods of disarming his robber by taking advantage of the confusion. Isaac, however, opted for neither. He knew it would be foolish to even try. Instead, he stared at the drug-user defiantly.

    A loud bang rang through the air, Isaac felt a sharp pain in his gut. The gun worked after all. Isaac's knees buckled, every second felt like an eternity, but an eternity wasn't enough. Maybe he should have tried to disarm the man, maybe he should have given up the wallet.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018
  3. Island Moderator

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    Jul 13, 2007
    United States

    Spoiler: 425

    Jeanne swung and missed.

    Her enemy smirked, knowing what this meant. A half-second later, he plunged his sword into her exposed chest. Jeanne gasped, her eyes going wide. She tried to say something, to speak her final words, but only blood came out.

    The man pulled back, dislodging his sword from her chest, and without him to support her, Jeanne collapsed, first onto her knees and then face first into the mud.

    Was this was glory felt like?

    She marched into battle alongside thousands of her compatriots with dreams of glory and prestige and to undo a century of humiliation at the behalf of her nation's enemies.

    Blood continued spilling from her mouth and mixed with the mud, creating an unholy grime that she had no choice but to spend her last few seconds in.

    Jeanne had figured she would spend her final moments reflecting on the people and places she would soon be leaving behind: a village without a matron, a husband without a wife, and most importantly, a mother without a daughter. Instead, her thoughts lingered on an ancient hero whose visage was recently discovered in faraway land.

    A statue uncovered by a passing sandstorm, she recalled. At its base were the words: "Hero of Heroes, Feared By Many and Known to All."

    Nobody knew who that man was or what he had even done. His legacy had been lost to the sands of time, not unlike what Jeanne quickly realized her own would be.

    Would people remember her sacrifice in a hundred years? What about a thousand? Even a decade would have made her feel like she died for something, but the more she thought on it, the more she realized that this was just another in link a long chain of inconsequential battles that have been waged since time immemorial.

    Jeanne coughed, making one last half-hearted attempt at laughter, amused. She was sure that innumerable others had this realization before her and that innumerable more would after she had passed.

    She figured she could have picked a better cause to death for, something she would have been content martyring herself for. She was sure that there were plenty who would have died happy on the battlefield, protecting their brothers-in-arms, and fighting for what they believed in, but living the life, she doubted that any single man or woman died content in the fruitless pursuit of glory.

    Motherhood would been nice, her battlefield being a household of bratty, mischievous children, the sword plunged into her heart being the ravages of old age.
  4. shit

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    Nov 22, 2007
    Spoiler: 500
    On the balcony that overlooks the great capital city of my homeland I look out and watch the firefight on the horizon. Through the rumble of tank treads and gunshots, I can hear the screams of terrified men fighting each other to the death. I watch over their deaths from a distance as a foreman supervises his workers, for he knows a quality job will only be done under his gaze.

    My life is in grave peril. My most trusted advisors have all fled, and their trusted advisement was for me to flee with them, through secret tunnels like rats into a sewer. Victory is not a certainty, and defeat looms like a specter in my house, waiting to be proven real or not. Yet still I stay, for the soldiers need me here to be the rock that pushes them into the hard place, that final firefight the rebels have decided to throw everything at. I will meet their everything with my everything, including my very life, and we will see who stands fit to rule at the end.

    I allow myself to step back into my chambers. Guards stand silently like pieces of furniture all around me, but I pay them not a glance. I glance at my wine cabinet, and one of them makes me a glass. I glance at my chair, and one of them pulls it out behind me. I glance at my cigars, and one fetches it while another is behind him with a light. They are my power, my last line of defense, those to whom I entrust my very life, but what they need most from me is resolve. It is not the day of our collapse; it is merely Wednesday.

    I sit and sip and puff for a moment before looking up at him, looming over me and my power like God. He looks off to the side while I stare up at him in contemplation, forever appropriately ambivalent. The portrait of my father is appropriately massive, the workmanship appropriately immaculate, and it is it upon which I spend my time pondering. I do not fool myself into thinking I’m looking at him, but rather a representation of his power, built on blood and fire as mine is being built today.

    My father was poisoned by my brother, whom I put to death when father’s will named me his heir instead. Besides my memory, there is no evidence my powerless brother ever lived inside this house, but statues and portraits of my father and I appear everywhere.

    The rebellion writhes like a snake under a shovel even after being decapitated, but I, like my father, will keep my foot upon the spade until the life is firmly extinguished. He left this country to me, and it is every bit a part of who I am as the genes he gave me. I will either die along with his power or live to be powerful still tomorrow. If only to honor him.