Arrows – Friday Fictioneers

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by the wonderful Rochelle, the undisputed master of what I call Sound Bite Fiction.
She sets the weekly challenge, and the standard.
This week’s photo by J Hardy Carroll made me think of country estates, Southern plantations, wealth and privilege.
But my little tale got away from me again.
The idea, as always, is to write a story of around 100 words based on the picture, below.

© J Hardy Carroll

Click here to hear me read this 1-minute story:

The dead are uncounted.
Bodies lie heaped across the field of battle.
I am the only man standing on this side.
I fire the last shell from my ancient cannon, see it explode among the few remaining enemy archers.
Their arrows are already in the air.
I watch as they drop towards me.
I should run, duck, hide, something, but I am too weary.
I remain motionless, gazing upwards.
They rain down around me, on me, into me.
Into my eyes.
I stumble in circles, screaming in pain.
But it is not my time to die.
The dead are uncounted.

About ceayr

A Scot who has discovered Paradise in a small town he calls Medville on the Côte d'Azur, C.E. Ayr has spent a large part of his life in the West of Scotland and a large part elsewhere. His first job was selling programmes at his local football club and he has since tried 73 other career paths, the longest being in IT, with varying degrees of success. He is somewhat nomadic, fairly irresponsible and, according to his darling daughter, a bit random.
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47 Responses to Arrows – Friday Fictioneers

  1. Michael Wynn says:

    As someone has already said the rhythm is brilliant and the hopelessness and weariness come across perfectly


  2. I enjoyed the rhythm of this.


  3. Dee says:

    I recently read a brilliant, but heart-wrenching article on life in the trenches in WWI. It captured the futility and hopelessness of war so well, as does your poem. I like what you have achieved having the opening and closing lines the same, for me it was like a book closing and containing all that awfulness between its covers. Excellent CE.


  4. This feels like a voice speaking right out of history. Impressive. I could feel the solemnity of this moment–with the repetition, the imagery, and the stillness in the center of this tragic moment, the story feels almost like a ritual.


  5. I could feel the exhaustion and weariness of your character.
    War is such a life changing experience for soldiers.
    A well-told story, Ce. I always enjoy seeing where you ate the photo prompts.
    Your reading provided an enjoyable listen.
    Isadora 😎


  6. liz young says:

    He’ll live the rest of his life wishing for death.


  7. goroyboy says:

    Solid piece. Enjoyed every word


  8. handmadejewelryhaven says:

    I cannot say anything that has not been said above.

    – Lisa


  9. The image of arrows an arrow piercing his eye is chilling. I love listening to your reading of this it adds a new perspective to hear it in your voice.


  10. Joan Enoch says:

    The use of the word ‘ancient’ with ‘cannon’ suggests that this soldier has been in this place for centuries, in fact – and knows it.


  11. A sense of hopelessness and inevitability pervades you piece. Excellent and different.

    Click to read my story


  12. Marvelous use of verse to tell the story. I love the too tired to care anymore concept. I would think that would be a common feeling during war.


  13. I find that last line really clinched your piece… Wonderful piece (and i think this week you are the poet, not me)


  14. Life Lessons of a Dog Lover says:

    You captured the sense of hopelessness. I liked the line “The dead are uncounted.” used as the beginning and the end.


  15. Rommy says:

    This was harrowing


  16. I imagine if you are the last left and weary to the core, it would be difficult to keep fighting. Well illustrated.


  17. Dale says:

    I just realised I had forgotten to comment…My bad…
    This is so well crafted. I could imagine after so much time in war, one could just give up and thy will be done, so to speak.


  18. You did capture the bloodiness, futility, hopelessness, helplessness and injustice of war very graphically indeed. Well done!


  19. draliman says:

    The sense of “giving up though sheer weariness at everything that has happened” came through very strongly. Nice one!


  20. rgayer55 says:

    It sounds like he’s going to need more fingers and toes to count the dead. A very graphic exposition of the futility of war. Sometimes I see those arrows too (metaphorically) at work. They do make one weary.


  21. The sense of futile inevitability comes across very strongly, C.


  22. There’s a strong sense of the horror of battle here. I love the echo of the first and last line.


  23. Martin Cororan says:

    The Côte d’Azur hasn’t robbed you of your accent! Strong words strongly delivered…


  24. Blind, maimed, and surrounded by the dead and the enemy. What a terrible fate. You have a gift for imagery that rips at the soul.


  25. michael1148humphris says:

    Great timeless images, the author Arthur Machen would have enjoyed this.


  26. Sandra says:

    I found I could identify with that weariness, that sense of ‘whatever will be will be’. Good one, CE.


  27. James says:

    Death will find you anyway.


  28. Lynn Love says:

    Very strong snapshot of battle there – that world weary voice rings very true, C. And being too exhausted to care rings true too. Love the bookending with the same sentence – very effective.


  29. Iain Kelly says:

    Brutal, harsh storytelling. Excellent.


  30. elmowrites says:

    How very bleak and vivid (I am concerned those may sound contradictory, but in my head they aren’t!), CE. I can’t decide if the repeated line at the end helps or not; I rather think I prefer to end on the previous line, but that’s simply my opinion. As a first line, it’s excellent.


  31. The story made me think about all the WWII soldiers I met when I was a child.


  32. Mandie Hines says:

    I thought my favorite line was “They rain down around me, on me, into me,” and it really is a great line, but whoa that last line. Let me just say wow.
    I find myself reading your introductions to these as they add a little something to the story. I find that tales rarely ever go where they are told.


    • ceayr says:

      I sometimes think that my stories, like myself, might benefit from slightly more control. But as I am generally pretty happy with how things turn out, in life and in fiction, I don’t bother.
      I am glad this story resonated at least a little.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. This story makes me think of things I’ve read about the trenches, that soldiers felt they were responsible for accounting for the dead. Terribly sad.


  34. Dear C.E.,

    My dad suffered a shoulder wound in WWII. He said that he just sank down in the water and mud, too weary to care anymore.
    Your story graphically illustrates that battle weary soldier.




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