My Microcosms 65 entry shares the same genre as the last story I posted Little Black Book. This time instead of a noir themed tale I went for a twisted love story set in World War One. The two other elements I had to work with was field hospital and artist. I hope you enjoy the story you’ll find below the break.
Dust of War
The charcoal scratches away the surface of the rough paper. Yet somehow it leaves the line I want. One of many, building to a whole.
The charcoal splits in two. A stubby piece between my fingers, the rest shatters on the earthy ground. Another minor detail in the theatre of war. My picture is finished anyway. Curves of muscles. Soft yet harden features. Tim’s words on the other side no more than a shadow. Memory colours his eyes: the deepest, brightest blue. The bit I noticed first, loved first, loved last.
“John.” The Doc stops at the end of my bed. As always his good nature is clear to see. Despite the morning chorus of gunfire he greets everyone with good humour, not the dark jokes of the front. “I’ve got good news for you. We are shipping you home. You’ll be back by Christmas.”
Tim’s favourite phrase even as summer become winter became summer again. The places we would go when we got home, the things we would do. Punting in Cambridge was always high on the list. He was my war.
“What are you looking at?” The Doc reaches for my picture. I crunch it to a ball and drop into the charcoal dust.
“Nothing, Doc. Just the start of a letter home. I’ll need to write a new one now.” I hope my smile is enough to usher him away. To ignore the black words of threat on the other side of my picture. Tim’s words and what he was going to tell my family. They are in the mud and barbed wire of the battlefield now, with Tim and bullet I put in his back.