Tag Archives: enemies

BLOOD AND A BLAST

7 Jun

The roar of the explosion sent a thumping ache through the man’s head as it reverberated in the summer air, and he crouched, shaking, under a table he thought might be there, but wasn’t.
“That was close,” gasped his friend.
“It bloody was, God help us,” he replied, and his own voice made the shaken ache in his head vibrate painfully.
“What have we done?” whispered his friend, not understanding.
“You mean, to bring this anger down on us?” he asked, ignoring the pain. “Who are our enemies? Who are those throwing bombs at us, blasting our homes to smithereens, killing our women and children so indiscriminately? Who are they?”
“I thought they were our brothers,” whispered his friend “Did not God make them like he made us? In the same image, in the same mould, out of the same clay?”
“They were our brothers once,” sighed the man. “I knew them and called them that.”
“Then why?” asked the other.
“No man knows,” was his mournful reply, and his words were punctuated by the sudden blast of another explosion, closer this time, shaking the ground where they knelt shivering, and shattering the few remaining pains of glass in the windows. Dust flew up, dust and a half brick, a half brick and a garden.
“That was close,” gasped the man.
“The smell…” gasped his friend, and he knew what he meant. The smell was vile, the scorching of fabrics mixed with the more sinister stench of burning flesh … was it his woman or his pet dog? Or both? Maybe both were burning in the other room, the one that probably wasn’t there any more. And there was gas. He could smell that, too, and half wished it would join the war and explode close enough to take him to his God before the sadness or the next bomb got him. But it didn’t. It drifted away through the vacant windows on a sultry summer breeze.
“All I wanted was a peaceful life,” he whispered, “all I wanted was to pray and sing and laugh and love … yes, love… and then the bombs started coming, and I don’t know why.”
“Nor me,” sighed his friend, “and, like you, I wanted a good life with harmony and a kindly woman to cuddle and kiss with, to love, to join with at God’s will, to spend my life like that, children at my feet, stories being told of the fine things on the world, ice cream under a summer sun. But…”
“…but the fine things are all gone,” he whispered. “And instead we are targets, you and me, something for our erstwhile brothers to aim at and destroy…”
Another explosion, further away this time but loud like the devil’s trumpet, split the air and both men shook. Maybe, they thought, maybe the next one would be for them. Maybe the next blast would grab them and tear their flesh and solve the problems of a painful life for them, by ending it.
“When I pray,” he whispered, “when I turn to my God and pray and tell Him he is good I expect to be able to smile in return, to feel his blessing on me, to kiss my lovely woman, to hold her by the hand, to take her walking where the sun shines and where the sounds of children playing are like a wonderful promise of tomorrow…”
“I know,” nodded his friend, and he scrabbled onto his knees and made for the door leading to the next room.
Which wasn’t there.
“My love!” his friend screamed, “My darling love!”
“What is it?” he called, and scrambled after him.
The room was gone. Practically all of it. The walls, the windows, the doors. Scraps of curtain and chair-cover clung to broken bricks and shattered glass, a family picture in a twisted picture frame. But that wasn’t what drew anguished tears from the two men.
Lying in their own blood and clinging together as if that was all they needed to do in order to be saved were two women. Their two women. Their loves. Their hopes for tomorrow. Their future. And one look told the two men they must be dead, to be twisted and smashed like that, to have their faces torn to shreds.
“Oh my God, why have you done this?” spluttered his friend,
“It wasn’t God,” grated the man, and he picked a fragment of torn steel from where the blast had forced it, and turned it over in his hands.
“This is part of the bomb,” he wept.
His friend wept also. “That killed my love,” his strangled voice managed to force out.
“That killed our loves,” he nodded, “and look,”
He held it up and pointed at some markings, still legible, on its scarred surface.
MADE IN ENGLAND, he read.
MADE IN ENGLAND…
“When the bombs stop falling,” he swore, “when all this death is over, I know where I’m going! And I’ll take death with me! For God! For my own sweet love! For everything their blasted weapons have stolen from me…”
“And I’ll be there by your side,” added his friend, grimly.

The Other Side of the Hill – Part 1

12 Mar

I’m not sure how much of this will get to be written. I have a vague outline in my mind and the intention to maybe add a few hundred words every week. And distractions. I have distractions.
primeval forest photo: Forest primeval IMG-20130903-00413_zps76c12c89.jpg  THE OTHER SIDE OF THE HILL -Part 1

In a prehistoric time when everything was very much newer than it is today, and the sky was bluer, there was a land the inhabitants called Gangl adjacent to another land where a warlike tribe, the Bundl, caused bother and occasional mayhem. Ever it has been in the lives of men, even back then before the first human had stepped tentatively out of continental Africa, that blind selfishness can drive events.

There was a stirring over the hills that bordered Gangl. Wongi could feel it in the air, and he was troubled by it. Somewhere there must be burning, and any burning so close to Gangl threatened hearth and home even if home was only an old dried stream-bed that once had issued from the side of the cliff, and hearth was a smouldering remnant of last night’s fire that he’d lit and the rains had all-but extinguished. But now and for seeming ages the weather had been dust dry and everywhere was parched tinder.

“The Bundl doing burn again,” he muttered to Grizzy, his gorgeous wife in whom shades of angels of an earlier age had returned to glorify the fair sex and provide beauty for the eyes of men to devour. Unlike most of the villagers of Gangl, who were, to a man and woman, bronzed with black, twisted dreadlocks of coarse hair, she was paler, and her hair was of a reddish hue, and fine like carmine gossamer. She was beautiful: everyone said that.

“They threat,” she agreed.

The Bundl was a neighbouring tribe, and it had very different habits to those of Gangl, who were happily free and easy in their approach to a life that nobody could have described as particularly difficult. After all, food was plentiful the weather was balmy just about all the year round and nobody had to toil particularly hard in order to live a contented and comfortable life. The Bundl, however, saw things very differently. Despite the richness of their world, they wanted more.

“They need sorting,” added Grizzy, gazing with contemplative thoughtfulness at her man. “They dangerous,” she continued. “The Bundl spoil things for us!”

Deep in his heart Wongi agreed with her. There had been several incursions into Gangl by the Bundl, and none of them had been anything but threatening. The Bundl were wont to burn and steal and, worst of all, take womenfolk away with them, and that was unforgivable.

And even worse. Their appearance was irrational. To start with, they insisted on dressing themselves in animal skins even when the world was steaming hot and any kind of clothing was clearly not necessary. Wongi went almost naked because the balmy weather dictated it, though they did choose to almost cover their genitals for reasons of prudence more than anything, and during the winter period when there were occasional days when the sun went away he wore a coarsely woven garment made for him by Grizzy. But it was no animal skin. It was created , by Grizzy, from a yarn she teased out of the flax that grew in wonderful profusion along the river bank.

“We need Gangl council,” grumbled Wongi. “Before things get bad,” he added sourly.

A smudge of black smoke drifted over the hill and seemed to smother the sun until the daylight dimmed. In the distance they could hear on the smoke-fragranced breeze the fierce whooping of a battle-chant and they knew their neighbours were preparing for something unpleasant. They had to be. Whenever they prepared for anything it was never actually pleasant.

Wongi wasn’t the Chief, but that didn’t matter. The politics of the Gangl wasn’t hierarchical and if any member felt he had something important to say there was no need to go before a chieftain or an elder in order to get action, but to attend to the matter himself. So with no more ado Wongi called a meeting of all who felt they should contribute – and he was surprised by the immediate turnout. It had been more than he and Grizzy who had perceived danger.

The folk of Gangl were prepared to defend their lives and homes, and the other side of the hill had better watch out … or else!

© Peter Rogerson 12.03.15