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View Full Version : Bello Captus (Short Story - 1500 words)



JonEd
December 23rd, 2013, 06:45 AM
Every day is a struggle. A new day brings a new way for death to sneak up on me. He is waiting for the time to take me, a time for my body, mind and spirit to give up on the fight for survival. This place, this horrid place is slowly destroying me.
My hope to return home safely dwindles every day. Just as a candle flickers at the end of the wick, I can feel my life giving its last dance before the eternal end. And what saddens me most, is I am probably in the best condition, compared to the other prisoners who have been captured by the Japanese.
Everywhere I look is the same, everyone is the same. Each person has had their spirit shattered; it is visible in their depressed and hopeless faces. I feel the tears well up in my eyes every time I see someone who reminds me of one of my platoon. And now, another weight has been added to my shoulders. What became of them? I was knocked unconscious, left with no memory of the day leading up to the incident of my capture. But I must wash my mind of these thoughts. I am all I have left, and even now, I am slowly losing myself in the depression of prisoner life. A life in a prisoner of war camp is not a life at all.
My mind grows weary, my world dark, and I am left to die slowly. But that can wait. A new day brings a new way of death to sneak up on me, tomorrow brings a great risk for more life.

The day has come. The day for life and death. A day of risk. The guns went off early in the morning, an alarm set by our captors. Three shots fired, the cracks rocked the bones and minds of every weary prisoner. I looked around. The weak, the frail, and the malnourished surround me, slowly wasting away to dust and nothingness.
My pride perked up and attacked my mind. How am I allowing myself to waste away and be spiritually shattered like my fellow prisoners? I walked outside to meet the line up. A brisk wind blew through, chilling the bones and freezing the blood. The Japanese guards lined us up, and walked through, checking the number which had been branded on our wrist. They spoke in their native language, and I could not help but wonder what they were saying.
I let my mind wander and the guard came in front of me. He waited for me to hold my hand out and show him my number, but my weary, wandering mind was not paying attention to him. For a split second, my imagination carried me away from this hell, and I was free, lying on a beach, relaxing by the water. I was quickly brought back to reality with a large hit in the gut from the butt of his rifle. I coughed and spluttered, spitting a light tinge of red. He barked at me in what I found to be a barbaric language.
I stood and met his gaze. His face, practically touching mine, he screamed, prodding his Arisaka rifle in the same spot he had just beaten. As much as my mind protested, my body acted with a spark from my fighting spirit. I hocked back, and spat a large wad of blood into his face. The last thing I remember is the butt of the rifle colliding with my face, breaking my nose. Blood clots exploded out of my face, pooling slightly at my feet. My mouth filled with liquid, and I felt the peaceful grasp of unconsciousness slowly taking me from reality.

The last straw. I have reached the breaking point. A point where my once strong pride had taken its last demoralising hit. The point that will push me to act with insanity, and take the risk of a better life, or be greeted by the eternal peace of death. I stand by the fence that kept us in this living hell, gazing out at the lands that surrounded us.
The snow covered the deep green of the pine woods, and littered the entire grind with a blinding white. Brisk winter winders shuffled the branches ever so slight, in a dance performed by the natural world.
I shivered, and my fingers clutching the cold wire ached with a frosty bite. There was no smell here, and very little sound. The eerie quiet of the forest intruded the brain. It was unnatural, I longed for noise. No animals scurried through the woods. It was a barren, snow filled void of a woodland. There was little hope there, or anywhere for that matter.
I can hear the guards talking; their voices began to rise in anger and frustration. I look back, they are pointing at me. Playing it smart, I walk away from the fence and begin plotting my escape. I sit down, and glance around the compact prisoner of war camp. I canít afford to take anyone with me; I refuse to put anyone elseís fate in my hands.
These people gave up on themselves long ago; they gave up on a life outside of the fences and away from these guards. I see the fear in their eyes, the acceptance of death on their faces. Men who were once valiant members of the army, who were willing to risk it all for their country, but now, they wonít even risk it all for themselves, for their free lives. Instead, they are demoralised to the point of accepting a slow death of malnutrition and captivity.
My mind was now made up, my decision final. Tonight I escape. Tonight I either gain life, or feel the cold of death grip me. The night will hide my path, and hide my body. The night is the only chance I have. Out of the darkness I will spring, to experience the light of life once more.

Night crept into the camp, and I readied myself. We were rallied, getting our numbers taken down for the last time of this day. My last day in hell. The guard took my number and walked on to the next prisoner. I waited, patiently for a distraction.
The man two down from me coughed in the guards face as he got his number checked. The guard grabbed him by the neck, and threw him towards the two guards who were watching over the rest of us. They began to kick him viciously; his bony body was curled, taking each brutal kick with a dull, low thud. I stepped back, and slipped into the shadows, crouching over to the edge of the fence, where the shadows were darkest.
The prisoners were ordered inside, and they obeyed, without question, like well trained dogs. I watched in disgust. The guards each returned to their posts, overlooking the outside of the camp. I could easily get to the gate, for the moon was hidden by a covering of clouds. The run would prove to be my saviour or my reaper. I crouched low, and advanced towards the gate, hugging the fence and the shadows which covered them.
I was no less than ten meters from the fence, when a loud voice called out. Unsure whether I was found or not, I wasted no time finding out. I stood, took a step and began to run. More calls and shouts echoed around the camp, and the first shots were fired, dropping at my feet. I ran faster than I imagined I could, my malnourished body pumped with adrenaline was surprisingly nimble. I reached the outside of the camp and kept running. The cracks of gunshots echoed, bullets tore passed me. I dove into the bushes, and planted myself against a tree, where I waited for the search to begin.

At least an hour passed by my count. I decided it was time to begin the walk. I hadnít seen any searches go on yet. I stood up, spread my arms out and stretched my legs, breathing in the free air. And then, the crack. A gunshot in the distance fired and my body went numb and hot. I looked down at my chest, and saw a small hole. It steamed slightly in the cool of the night.
I tried to breathe in, but my breath caught, and instead of the cool, fresh air, my lungs were filled with a burning heat. The blood trickled down from my chest to my gut. I collapsed to my knees and looked up towards the sky. The clouds were beginning to reveal the moon to the night, and stars dotted the caliginous sky. I smiled at the freedom that I had gained. The moonís light was fading; I fell, lying on my back, staring at the beauty of the night sky. A deep and dark sleep encompassed me. Peace washed over my mind and I lay, still smiling at the stars and moon of the sanguine sky.

Greimour
December 23rd, 2013, 08:15 AM
I only read the beginning.

For me, how a story starts is vital; which I suppose is true of every reader. That hook that draws you in...


Every day is a struggle.Intrigue instantly created, not a bad way to start... and that's where it ended for me.. a constant downward spiral that ended with the word "Japanese".

There are many small ways to make the hook stronger or to keep the level of interest/intrigue up... but that is for you to decide as it is your work.
An example based purely on what is already written - based purely on my own opinion - is to take away some of the excess information.


My hope to return home safely dwindles every day. Just as a candle flickers at the end of the wick, I can feel my life giving its last dance before the eternal end. And what saddens me most, is I am probably in the best condition, compared to the other prisoners who have been captured by the Japanese.

Hope to return home dwindles every day.

"My hope" and "safely" adds too much stress to the sentence.

And what saddens me most, is I am probably in the best condition, compared to the other prisoners who have been captured by the Japanese

By not saying who they have been captured by increases curiosity. Let the reader get more engrossed in the story before revealing any secrets.


I did actually read more than the beginning, but my mind started wandering from that point forward... so I don't wish to comment further. I can see you have ability and that you can produce better work. Perhaps this story is just not in the genre I prefer and so I could not get into it for other reasons, but I do believe you could polish this up to be on a much better scale than is currently presented.

I would probably rewrite much of this; maybe take it out of first person and expand a little on thoughts, condition and emotions. As it was, I didn't really care if the character lived or died from the moment I started reading. Even if you do write this story in first person, writing it from different points of view will help you grasp aspects of the story you didn't even contemplate before. Take for example: "The short second life of Bree Tanner." written by Stephanie Meyer. She said that, had she written it before publication of the book in which Bree Tanner dies (Eclipse), she may have changed the story so that Bree lived.



Every day is a struggle; each new day bringing the excruciating pains of learning. So many methods to be learned; so little time. Were it not for the fact such things were being taught by practical demonstration, he would certainly fail to grasp the brutality of it all. As it was, he could still barely grasp the brutality involved. Conscious awareness came only with pain accompanied by agonizing screams. When the pain ended, consciousness faded. Soon he would die, at least that was something he could be thankful for, something he could look forward to, and, despite everything else - was still something he could grasp.


That little snippet was more for myself... I just wanted to play with it a little and see what happened ^_^


Kev.


(Edit: I edited the snippet to see how it would read if i didnt make the fact he was being tortured so apparent... I dont think i like the changes but I will play with scenes in my usual manner on my word documents from here on :P )

Olly Buckle
December 23rd, 2013, 10:35 AM
Less is more, and someone in this situation would be economical with everything, look;

'Everywhere, everyone is the same, all have had their spirit shattered; it is visible in their faces. Tears well up in my eyes every time I am reminded of my platoon, another weight on my shoulders, what became of them? I was unconscious with no memory of the day of my capture. But I must wash my mind of these thoughts. I am all I have left, and I am slowly losing myself in depression, life in a prisoner of war camp is no life at all.'

I have reduced it almost to half without changing much, simply taking out the extra, I don't know what you think, everyone has their own ideas of style, but for me it adds to, rather than subtracting from, the immediacy and import of it.

JonEd
December 28th, 2013, 04:17 AM
Thanks for the comments! I'll definitely look into changing that, I have thought about re writing in 3rd person, but this was a University assignment (also won an award online for this, got $200 :D ) so I don't know if I'm going to go through and edit it. Just thought I'd gauge some more thoughts on it.