By the Victors

Written for this past week’s Flash!Friday

Warning: Violence

I know all about humanity’s stupidity; I am a historian. Yet, I have fallen all the same.

They came into our home through the backyard. A simple shadow that grew into an entire platoon and by then it was too late. Every warning, every caution to flee, every hole in my own security – they all flashed through my mind as the butt of a gun smashed the sliding glass door. Then they killed my dog and time sped up.

“Get down!” A man in body armor yelled. I could see the blood spilling from my Labrador’s side, his paw shaking in its last movement. His face morphed into my son’s.

“Search the house!”

I struggled against the knee on my back, trying to turn my face towards the soldier as he pressed, cutting off each breath. “My son – daughter –”

He lifted my head by my hair and slammed my face to the ground.

Another shot somewhere down the hall my children slept – my wife. I screamed.

Blood, so much blood and I couldn’t tell if it’s mine or my pup’s or my children or wife’s. My eyes blurred.

A head lowered towards my ear. It hissed like a snake. “Hello Professor, remember me? We’ve come to collect your books. Your version of history just lost the war.”

Riot Police. CC2.0 photo by Thomas Hawk.

Riot Police. CC2.0 photo by Thomas Hawk.

Character: Historian; Conflict: Man v. Society


“I absorbed myself into him,” Leah grips her hair, keeping her gaze away from Jen and her judgment.

“We all do that, when it comes to relationships.” Jen tries to console her, tries and fails. Leah isn’t looking for platitudes, not here. It’s a lie anyway, not everyone does it. He didn’t do it.

The way Leah’s hair pulls at the scalp feels good.  It is a feeling she can control, a pain she can manage.

“I thought we had embedded ourselves so deeply into each other’s lives and now –” Leah cuts herself off. She is remembering his face across the aisle, both in matrimony and divorce – different aisles of the same courthouse.

There’s a knock.

Leah’s eyes frantically moved from Jen to the door. It opens to reveal a familiar bald head and apologetic smile. Him.

“I wanted to make sure everyone was okay,” he says in a meek voice Leah recognizes as his uncertainty.

Jen jumps up like a wolf protecting her cubs. “You don’t get to know that anymore, you don’t get to care, not after what you threw away.”

“It’s okay, Jen,” Leah’s voice is small but it manages to pull their attention. “I want to speak with him.”

Leah leaves and he sits down.

She reaches for his hand but stops the movement before they touch. She looks him in the eye instead, takes a deep breath, and begins detaching her life from his.

Written for Three Word Wednesday – the words were: Absorbed; Deeply; Frantic


It’s Friday and that means Flash!Friday! (Edit – This story received Second Runner Up!)

The challenge is to write a story with the topics found on the bottom.

It’s the type of worry that makes a person nauseated. She’s surrounded by loan statements and unemployment checks with a child, her child, sleeping in the other room. Sandra tried to calm the rocking of her stomach with deep breaths. It wasn’t working.

The rising panic, the crash and burn – when had she taken out so many loans? It’s 2009 and the stock market crash caused Wall Street to explode and, suddenly, being a lawyer is like being a leper.

The beat of her heart races up her throat. Eyes blur before she can calculate what she owes this month. The fridge is empty, Sarah needs school supplies, and none of the hundreds of employers she contacted responded.

Her hand reaches for the doorframe, uses it to pull herself up onto shaky legs. The papers crinkle under her feet as the panic attack swells inside her body. All she can hear is the thumping of blood in her ears as she stumbles to the bathroom and she’s going down, down, down, forehead to porcelain.

Her sparse dinner ends up in the toilet and Sandra immediately thinks of the wasted money, the wasted calories.

Her diploma hangs in the hallway by the nearby, mocking.

(1) Required story element (this week: character. If you want your story to be eligible for an award, the below character type must be central.)


(2) Photo prompt to incorporate:

1943 crash landing on the USS Enterprise. PD photo by the US Department of Defense.