Tag Archive | Short Story

Bullet: A short story inspired by the poem HERE, BULLET by Brian Turner

In a silent confines of his master bedroom, Trevor leans against the pastel yellow wall on the right side of his bed. The brain splitting headache cuts through his head like lightning bolts. He runs his shaking right hand through his short, brown hair and grabs at his head. A bone, cold shiver rises up his spine as memories –Memories he has tried with all of his willpower to repress. Memories of time gone, yet still as vivid as if they’re happening in this very moment– fight to the forefront of his mind. His heart drums on inside of his chest like bombs falling and exploding from sky against his ribcage. Each sharp, cutting breath brings the graven memories closer to being viewed in his head. Trevor slides down the wall shaking his head in an attempt to erase them, but as he sits on the carpet they shoot into his view.

“No, no, no,” he whimpers. The salty, hot tears roll down his cold cheeks, burning.

The flash of silver below catches his attention and he gazes down. The heavy weight of cold metal nestled in his hand can end this all. No more memories threatening to replay over in his head. His index finger caresses the trigger, the life-ending lever.

The yellow walls, king-sized bed with caribbean blue sheets, the wooden dresser and table ends, and the entire bedroom spin around Trevor in his view. Spinning, spinning, and spinning, until it completely deteriorates. In its place, an entirely different setting appears. A memory that Trevor has fought and failed to contain in the deep confines of his mind.

Either way Trevor turns there’s nowhere safe. On all sides of him, his brothers in arms block any form of escape as they trot and run with their black shiny boots slapping against the muddy ground slashing dirty water and muck on the fabric of their pants.

Across the field under gray cloudy skies their enemies run towards them with their faces distorted with pure black, primeval hatred. The yelling and war cries sweep through the air, yet are drowned out by helicopter wings beating against the wind as they turn. The slight whistling of bombs as they drop from the sky and crater the Earth around Trevor as they explode and expand, taking lives in their wake and ruining the only home these people have. His ears ring with a piercing never ending sound. His nose burns and his eyes sting as the smell of gas and rotting death blow passed him and into his airways. His lungs fill with the toxins and his breath grows harder with each intake and outlet. Yet he has to keep moving forward; fighting his duty will only prolong his time here.

Two forces collide with each other; his unit and the enemies like dominoes collapsing and hitting against each other. The booming, continued popping of bullets flying through the air ricochets around him. He doesn’t have time to stop and check himself for wounds. The enemy is here. His eyes round widely as he looks at the faces of his enemies; they’re just children. Children sent to fight a man’s war. The adrenaline and training hasn’t prepared him for this. He raises his gun on constant vigilant alert, yet doesn’t fire a round.

Around him, his brothers with their faces set in stone with determination are unfazed by their youthful enemies. One of his brothers thrusts the bayonet of his gun into the chest of one of the children, screaming into the wind as he does, and pulls the trigger back without second thought as he opens rapid fire on the child, turning the child’s chest into shreds in the process. The child’s eyes widen, yet he doesn’t have time to react as it happens.

In front of Trevor, a child points a gun at him, ready to fire as he smiles like it’s some game. There’s no time to pause as Trevor turns his gun in the child’s direction. He squeezes the trigger down. In a flash, bullets pierce the child’s chest. In that instant, he strips the child of his life and, in doing so, loses a piece of his humanity and his soul.

Turning away, he fights on. Numb to the death he just caused. Until another day.

 

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Writing Exercise: Describing Subtly a Character’s Death

Recently, I worked on a writing exercise that really challenged me to learn how to write and describe the death of a character. I wasn’t allowed to write the beginning of their story that lead them to this point because the exercise didn’t allow it, but I think the challenge was accepted and I learned something about how to subtly summarize and slip in information about the perception of the dying and how the character and the antagonist got to this point with overloading a lot of detail and summarizing.

The exercise was this: Describe a character’s death, accounting in detail the thoughts and perceptions of the dying. Imagine that you are ending a long novel that involves an exhausting life.

Here is the result of this exercise for me:

His Sister’s Reaper

     Brooks, a tall man with silver striking his brown hair, glares at Tyler with his dark eyes, filling with a primal nature, as he tosses Tyler into a nearby brick wall of the basement. Tyler’s lips part as the adrenaline rush veils most of the pain imploding in his body as he reaches out for Brooks and continues to tussle with him, knowing well the danger he has put himself in.

     The formidable Brooks doesn’t scare him anymore, not since Tyler shadowed him for months on end, learning anything and everything he could about the man who killed his sister Evangeline. 20 year old Evangeline who’d started college with her dreams of being a marine biologist blooming. Evangeline, his sister who loved with her whole heart and made everyday an adventure when they were younger. Evangeline, who died six weeks after leaving home.

     Tyler has seen the pictures; those images are forever embedded into his mind. In the passed few months those images: her body lying contorted on the dirty pavement; crimson red blood on her tattered clothes; blue eyes vacant of vibrant life; bone pallored skin; bruise shaded lips. Those flashes of his dead were beginning to replace the memories he has retained of her.

     As he fights with the monster who’d snipped the tether that held his sister’s spirit to gravity, Tyler doesn’t give into the twists his stomach is making, trying to persuade him to leave before something bad happens. He can’t leave. Not now. Not when he has what he finally wants. Brooks is here in his basement with him. It took some time for Tyler to drag Brooks unconscious body into the basement since the sleeping drug he slipped in Brooks coffee knocked him out sooner than he had expected.

     He hadn’t counted on Brooks waking from deep slumber so soon and attacking him, yet here they were, struggling to get the upper hand.

     A life for a life, Tyler has repeated like a mantra for the passed few months as he observed Brooks from a distance. Now, as Brooks swings his tightly balled fist across Tyler’s face, he wonders if this is all really worth it–revenge. Will it really solve anything? Will it lessen his grieve? Will it make his sister return from the grave and walk in the door with her snorkeling gear on, persuading him to come with her?

     The shock wears off and the pain is vivid and agonizing as he falls to the carpet. Weak, yet unwilling to give into defeat, Tyler rolls over and crawls to toward the gun that had slid under the shelf across the room when Brooks woke up and attacked him. The carpet stings his kneecaps as he crawls through the searing infliction. With an arm outstretched, Tyler reaches for the gun, but is thwarted as a blow to his rib cage knocks the breath right out of his body.

     “Is this how you saw this ending?” Brooks bents over and wraps his fingers on the gun.

     Gasping like a fish, Tyler’s airways tighten and constrict his breathing. He flaps over on his back grabbing at his throat, praying for air to fill his lungs and rekindle the life within his body. His icy blue eyes fix on Brooks. “N…o…” He pushes out of his mouth and breaks out into a coughing fit. Air cuts at his throat, but at least small amounts of air are flowing in and out now.

     Brooks positions the gun directly over Tyler’s heart and steps closer as he rests his index finger on trigger, taunting. “You couldn’t left it alone and let me be, but you had to find me and bring me here. All for justice, so your beloved sister can rest in peace?” His face shows no remorse, and his voice is monotonous. “I’ll kill you like I killed her.”

     Three loud pops ring clear and a pressure hits his chest. Tyler gazes at himself and sees the red pools soak into his shirt. Brooks disappears in his haze. The world slips around him, cold and numbing.