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ClusterChuck
June 6th, 2012, 04:58 AM
A warrior poet awakes at dawn to a wasted field of corpses. As he gathered his strength he recalls last night's defeat.

His lover's smile is all he can think of as he watches great plumes of smoke rise in the north beyond the hills and woods.

The blood that has seeped through his tunic is already dry and thick. He is still bleeding.

He drops his armor among the ruin of his countrymen. They are all dead. They have abandoned him to meet their fathers' fathers. He knows the war is over.

Silence.

He walks away from the black sorrow of the field. He limps over the hills and into the woods.

He heads north.

Midday brings rain. He stops to wet his lips and rest beneath a tree at the edge of a brook. Closing his eyes, he takes a breath and invites the voice that comes and goes.

"You're getting all wet," it probes politely.

"You're not?" our poet answers.

"It helps being in here. I suppose you need to wash some of that filthy blood off you anyway. Most of it isn’t even yours."

"I think I'm lost."

"You're not lost. You just want to be... At least you’re not dead," the voice replies trying to be helpful.

"Where would you be if I were?"

"Good question. Maybe you'd be in my head, eh?"

The rain picks up in fat loud drops.

"I don't want to go back,” our poet says, more to himself than to his friend.

"Back where? It's all ashes. Let's go east. Let's really get lost."

"You're not real. You know that right?" Our poet asks, a lightness rising in his chest.

"How sure are you that you’re as real as you think you are?

"I have feet." Our poet replies. The darkness behind his eyes become blacker. Deeper.

"I’d check twice on that..."

Stephanie Andromeda
June 8th, 2012, 11:22 PM
I liked it. I think that the vagueness about when and where this takes place, who the soldier is, and what the voice is make it really effective. The description towards the beginning helped convey feelings of desolation, which is sometimes hard to do in a short work.
I'd cut down on using the epithet "our poet". Since the voice is consistently referred to as "it", you could just refer to the soldier as "he". I realize you were trying to stress that he was, despite being a warrior by trade, a poet by nature, but with the number of times you use the epithet in this piece, it loses it's effectiveness.
Still, great job!

ClusterChuck
June 9th, 2012, 04:41 PM
I liked it. I think that the vagueness about when and where this takes place, who the soldier is, and what the voice is make it really effective. The description towards the beginning helped convey feelings of desolation, which is sometimes hard to do in a short work.
I'd cut down on using the epithet "our poet". Since the voice is consistently referred to as "it", you could just refer to the soldier as "he". I realize you were trying to stress that he was, despite being a warrior by trade, a poet by nature, but with the number of times you use the epithet in this piece, it loses it's effectiveness.
Still, great job!


Very good point. Upon reading it again, 'our poet' really sticks out awkwardly.

Thanks for the read and the time taken. Glad you liked it.

Cefor
June 9th, 2012, 08:54 PM
Hey there, Chuck,

I liked this piece, it was good. However, I feel that the repetition of "He [verb]s" is irritating and detracts from the poetic language you sometimes employ.

Instead of:

Midday brings rain and he stops to drink. He stops to think.He lies against a tree and closes his eyes. He invites the voice that comes and goes.
Try something like:

Midday heralds fresh rain and he pauses to drink, feeling the cool dew wash some of the battle's filth away. Thoughts wander in the desolated void of his mind. A tree becomes a comfortable seat, he slumps against it and his eyes slowly close. That illusive voice he often hears at the strangest moments returns, the sound heartens him.

Now, this is just a suggestion obviously, and I was trying here to highlight how the simple sentences you used weren't necessarily the best way to write that sequence. The poetic language you begin with at the start should be a constant in this piece, I feel, especially as your character is a warrior poet.

I thought that the dialogue was okay, if a bit colloquial, and I liked the way the two characters have that friendly banter between them, even if one is an imagined voice.
There are one or two grammar/spelling errors, you may want to just go through again and check for typos.

Enjoyed it though,
Keep writing!
Cefor

ClusterChuck
June 9th, 2012, 09:21 PM
Hey there, Chuck,

I liked this piece, it was good. However, I feel that the repetition of "He [verb]s" is irritating and detracts from the poetic language you sometimes employ.

Instead of:

Try something like:


Now, this is just a suggestion obviously, and I was trying here to highlight how the simple sentences you used weren't necessarily the best way to write that sequence. The poetic language you begin with at the start should be a constant in this piece, I feel, especially as your character is a warrior poet.

I thought that the dialogue was okay, if a bit colloquial, and I liked the way the two characters have that friendly banter between them, even if one is an imagined voice.
There are one or two grammar/spelling errors, you may want to just go through again and check for typos.

Enjoyed it though,
Keep writing!
Cefor

Solid observations. I'll be cleaning this one up a bit. Thanks for the read mate.

akrathan
June 11th, 2012, 02:05 AM
I think this is really hard to pull off, leaving so much out of the story that the reader has little idea of where they are and who they're with, but you've done it well. It feels like there is a story behind it, and a lot of meaning, so it made me want to keep reading to find out what that story was.

Koechophe
June 13th, 2012, 09:16 AM
I like the emotion behind it. I'm not a very visual reader, so I generally read things empathically rather then visualizing them. I think that the fact that you drew the emotions of imagination was actually king of brilliant. The voice is almost a little bit relate-able. It is our desire to do what we know we shouldn't.

Thumbs up for good work!

~Glassword~
June 13th, 2012, 12:07 PM
The above comments seem to be in line with the suggestions I would have made. Flash fiction is something entirely beyond my skills. You have done a very, very good job in creating a storyline in less than 300 words. I look forward to more material!

PassTheDrinks
June 23rd, 2012, 11:51 PM
I have to say that I found this post stood out a lot more than any other that I have read on here so far. I really liked your style of writing and it definitely kept my attention. It makes me hope there is more to this.

Oasis Writer
June 24th, 2012, 12:46 AM
I love how absolute this piece is. This happens, it happens now, it never changes. It feels like a hammer is striking an anvil methodically. I got a little lost at the immediate change of direction with the dialogue, but once it was developed that it was within the poet’s head, it made more sense and seemed like a logical conversation between madness and insanity. :) Either way, I liked it. The only thing I see if that a space is needed between the period after think and He in line eight. (think.He -> think. He) Otherwise, I didn’t catch anything.

jpa321
June 29th, 2012, 10:09 PM
I think this story has strong elements, in fact I first read the story as a dialogue between the poet and the river, and then rereading I realized he was speaking to an inner voice -- but it made me think that one of the best elements of this story could be a more surreal or mythological feel to it, something symbolic -- is the tree he is next to an oak, for example? (Oaks were used to forge swords because of the heat at which their wood burns, hence their use in some myths about warriors.) Specifics like that give a dreamlike feel to stories sometimes.*