Bang

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers challenge.

Through the tiny skylight ten feet above his head he could see the pale blue of the early morning sky.

A day for living, he thought to himself. He yawned, rubbed his face and stretched. Luxuriously.

Yesterday had been the rehearsal. He had heard the sergeant shouting commands, “More to the left. A little bit closer”. Next, the clatter of the rifles being readied. The order, “Ready. Aim. Fire.” Ten firing pins hammering into empty breeches.

Today is the real thing. He had heard it’s a sell-out. Full house. Full breeches. A standing ovation. No encore.

A day for dying.

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47 Responses to Bang

  1. julespaige says:

    Yes, that’s the way it was. Killing for entertainment.
    Some places still do that.

    Was visiting for the current Friday piece and wandered down. 🙂

  2. glossarch says:

    I love the connection between ancient gladiators and a more modern firing squad.

  3. draliman says:

    I particularly liked “No encore”. I guess they’re not planning on missing! Your protagonist doesn’t seem particularly nervous about shooting someone, judging by the good mood he seems to have woken up in!

    • Fate? Karma? Who knows. It’s the protagonist in the hot seat. The first line is meant to suggest that. Maybe needs strengthening!

      • draliman says:

        Ah, got it now, sorry! I thought he was just in a barracks. Now your story is even better! Heh heh, I think it’s particularly cruel forcing the condemned to go to a rehearsal. It’s like those days when they used to build the gallows rights outside the cell…

  4. annisik51 says:

    Well, I like this. I’m thinking he woke up and forgot he was going to be executed that day, which was why he was so laid back, or he’s just a really ‘cool’ character! I suppose if you know you are about to die, there’s little point in getting all worked up about it. But one does. He is certainly a philosopher with his ‘day to live, day to die’ attitude. Neatly done tale! Ann

  5. ly says:

    Closing out a story in just 100 words takes a good author! The juxtaposition of the living and dying lines–genius. I had him getting ready for a grand show and parade; surprised at the turn of events.

  6. Great use of 100 words. I was definitely in his shoes and wondering what that must be like.

  7. rgayer55 says:

    Excellent read, Patrick. I was surprised reading the comments how many people didn’t understand the term breech.

  8. Wow. That was very heavy – and very poetic, or perhaps, because it was so poetic, it was so heavy. I thought it was fantastic. Good job.

  9. Dear Mr. Prinsloo,

    I have three things to say to you. First: A Soldier of the Great War, by Mark Helperin. Second: The chapter, Stella Maris. Third: read it.

    Great, nay, excellent story.

    Aloha,

    Doug

  10. pattisj says:

    I also liked the contradiction of a “day for living,” and a “day for dying.” And thanks for clarifying breeches. I was unfamiliar with the term as used. Nice work, you covered a lot with 100 words.

  11. helenmidgley says:

    The power of just a few words, great job 🙂

  12. Well done Patrick, I guess even executions need rehearsal, so a lovely take on theatre.

  13. MythRider says:

    Oh my goodness. That’s a show to miss.
    Truly imaginative. Good job. ;0)

  14. Excellent, Patrick, and “breeches” is correct.

    janet

  15. Theatre of death — very chilling. This was very well written and complete. There are times when I like open-ended stories, but I’m always impressed by something that is as self-contained as your piece.

  16. Dear Patrick,

    Powerfully chilling. I love the way you started with a day for living and brought it to a day for dying. Well crafted. Good job.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

  17. claireful says:

    I too didn’t understand breeches – I read them as trousers which was a little confusing! But still a great piece of writing, very self contained.

    • Thanks for the positive comment. Always nice to read. Re breech: I’ve checked & re-checked. It’s where the bullet goes. I could have used bullet chamber but 1. I didn’t think of it at the time, and 2. it would have been two extra words,and I enjoy the 100 word challenge thingy, and 3. I like the single syllable abruptness of the word (why use four when one will do).

  18. Sandra says:

    Chilling. Very chilling indeed. Well done.

  19. kz says:

    powerful last line. 🙂

  20. I like the style here. Quite abrupt. Matches the idea of orders being barked out. Sad too. Youth lost to war. I’m wondering at the ‘full breeches’. I understood the first mention of breeches. Then read the second as ‘trousers’, breeks or breeches as we sometimes know them. Don’t quite know if that was your intention. But I liked it. Favoured the idea of fear somewhat.x

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