[Kaimee]: 5.Contest Entries.Grandmother

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2007-01-28 04:09:20
Shoot us in our bony breast
Speculative Fiction/Ideological
Flash fiction
Free for reading
My entry for the War Diary contest.


© Kate-Aimee Conrick. All rights reserved!

I spend my days hiding behind tattered filthy curtains, reeking of old cat piss and that gunpowder taint that hangs in the air. I don’t know why I bother writing this, the only one who’ll ever read it will probably be whatever 16 year old child shoots me, and they’ll walk over my back to get to these pages. I can see it, my loose skin shifting and throwing their balance off, but walking over the dead just seems so much tougher to these crying children, tear streaked faces hidden behind helmets and gas masks. They’ll rifle through the pages looking for treason and find this account of their own actions, a premonition from an old lady. Their ears will burn and I take joy in it, I chortle at the very thought! Imagine me, a grandmother many times over and my grandchildren all scattered and dead in this, this uprising of whoever. Imagine me shaming those soldiers in my death, hovering over those soldier’s shoulders and telling them to always wear fresh underwear, remember not to cross your legs in public, please don’t shoot your grandmother in the head dear, I just had my hair done, do you like it?
I wonder who it’ll be? A young woman, ashamed but surrounded by hungry young men, who’ll rip her throat at the first sign of weakness. Maybe she’ll grind her heel into my still twitching hands as she reads, soft cracks, easy with an old woman’s bones. Making her boy warriors gulp, glance down, the backs of their necks screaming fear in their ears. Proving her point, and reading it too at the same time, ashamed but not willing to slip from that high top. Slipping on my skin, and the tumbled bones of shop owners, librarians, accountants, mothers, fathers, grandparents, she’ll overbalance her way to the head of an army, and land dazed staring at the eyes of each soldier; as scared and ashamed as she.
Or maybe whoever kills me really wont care. Maybe it’s just an old woman’s fancy that she’ll mean something in her death. In this world where no one has a career, a goal, a cause. Only the young soldiers fight a cause, and they fight the old. We mean stagnant futures to them, and so they trample us, not looking at the hard dead faces of the soft scented grandmothers who dandled them on their knees.
You shot the lady who always smelt like soap, whose shelves smelt like old pages and spices and furniture polish, who used to let you eat the tiny balls of biscuit dough before they went into the oven and then one for each hand when they came out again. You shot her in the back of the head; you shot hundreds of her, thousands. Her soft waved hair curls bloodily now, the lumpy black before averted eyes. Not something you even glance at now, as you march street to street, throwing open the doors of the last dissidents, the last old alive. An old dog will bat her tail at you on the floor, machine gun rhythm, and a voice will call warm recognition from the kitchen and then stop. You stopped her! You saved your future! And the soldiers will march out again, tears rubbing raw edges around their masks, voices stifled and harsh, “YES SIR!” coming muffled from throats closed with sobs.
Oh why do you fight us, children? We’ll be gone soon enough, with our lavender and soap. With our food stamps and weevils, with our cat piss and tattered curtains. With the burning piles of rubble and spitting, smouldering, blistering bodies, with the hard soldier's heels grinding soft skin onto gravel, blood clotted cement.
Don’t worry children; crying tears into our shoulders, snuffling into our flowered dresses, sobbing death into our cardigans. We always loved you, even when you stopped visiting. And even when you visit again, you’ll see how proud we are, it shines in our eyes. Don’t shoot us in the back of the head, really dear.
Shoot us in our bony breast. Look up once at least; look at your commander crying for her childhood, for a kiss on a scraped knee.
See the pride shining in our eyes, and know that we’re hearing you ring the doorbell, the bat bat of that dog’s tail, we’re seeing you come home again. Welcome home, children.

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2006-02-02 grushaj: As you already know, the begining starts a little weak and the word choice could possibly use some work at that point (and throughout at just some key points really) HOWEVER the imagery is actually very well done. Although I can't say I would know exactly what you were thinking when you wrote it, I get a pretty good idea of what you mean, and the figurative overtones are great and compliment your overall imagery.

Its strange to say that the imagery is good but the word choice could possibly use some revision, because obviously the two go hand and hand in most occassions. I guess I would just like some more vivid/stronger words personally, but overall very well done.

2006-02-02 Kaimee: To me.. it's meant to be sort of soft. Oddly enough the entire thing is about forgiveness, so I chose the words I did with that in mind.
Could you tell me which words you mean? We both know I think the beginning needs work ;) but I don't know which other words throughout the story you mean :/

2006-02-02 grushaj: Well its no particular wording.. just some of them seem ... I dunno.. plain maybe? Again reading it for the fourth time (what can I say.. I like it :P ) most of them fit the mood pretty good. Its mostly I use more of the comparision/analogy language and descriptive words to back up my points.. again that really is better in a novel situation, and your choices for words probably hold pretty strong for this setting. I've personally always been either poetry/short prose or novel-length.. oddly can do actual short stories at all hardly. :P

2006-02-02 Kaimee: Short stories are... what I do, for lack of a better way of classing them. I've always called those actual story-short stories novlettes, and saved the term 'short stores' for those very short things that explore ideas.

It's a hard viewpoint to explain :P To me, anything that's an actual fiction story in short story form.. well, it's for entertainment, it's fiction, it's a novlette.

Anything that's just.. for thinking, (ursula leguin's short stories can definetely be used as an example here! :P) that's how I classify short storues. They're more about exploring the idea than the story.

2006-02-02 kileaiya: Using humor to get your point across was a very good idea, I think. I really like your imagery aswell.

*is horrible at commenting on things*

2006-02-02 Kaimee: You think it's humorous? Geez, I have gotten some verrrry different opinions on the tone of this one ;)

2006-02-02 kileaiya: The piece as a whole is not, but in areas, bits of humor sort of emphasis(sp?) the point (to me). Or maybe that's just in my sick and twisted mind that some parts come across as humorous. :P

2006-02-02 Kaimee: *snorts* Nah, at first.. she feels a bit old and cynical, having a laugh at the people who come to kill her. I guess that bit is humorous :P

2006-02-02 kileaiya: Told you I was awful at trying to explain my point. :P

2006-02-02 Kaimee: And I just need to point one thing out, which I didn't want to write into it, and didn't know if it's be picked up anyways. At the end, that last bat bat is actually the noise of the machine she imagine's will kill her. Or maybe she is dying, maybe it's moved beyond a simple diary entry. I don't know, and I wrote it! :P But at the end she isn't hearing a gun in that noise, she's hearing the dog's tail, batting on the floor, she's forgiving them, she's happy.

2006-02-05 Burning Inside: haha man that was actually quite a funny diary entry, but still good job on it, i liked it

2006-02-06 Kaimee: You people have warped senses of humor *makes Kaimee faces at you*

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