Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Exercise: The War That Wasn't . ..

We haven't written many pieces recently. Mainly we've been discussing the use of emotions in our work, and last night was spent critiquing a colleague's short piece. (And discussing our new Facebook Page. Yes, NHWC is spreading it's wings online. A few pieces of work will be published there and will be available for people to read if they are a `friend`. So, if you fancy joining us, feel free. Here's the link.)


Anyway, sifting through my numerous notebooks that I have lying around, I come across this old piece. It was written so long ago I can't remember what the exercise actually was. All I do know is that it's been called `The War That Wasn't`, and it was a worthy tale to tell . . .

Exercise: The War That Wasn't . . .

His blood turned cold in his veins as he watched the cloud of black smoke plume into the blue skies. It cast an eerie shadow over everything that lingered beneath it. A shocked silence filled the streets as people emerged from their homes with horrified curiosity. All eyes were turned towards the explosion.

Kosta wasn't alone as his mind began to comprehend what had just happened. The plane had been low as it passed, and caused no stir of panic. It was a sound that everyone had grown accustomed to in this war-stricken place. At first, when the planes passed, it brought dread thick and strong, and it would last until the sound faded in the distance. Afterwards you could hear the entire town sigh with relief. These days, however, it had become a sound that no one really battered an eye lid to.

Today was different.

This time the rumble of the plane had been followed by the earth shattering crash of an explosion. Whether it had lost control and tumbled from the skies or whether a missile had been been launched was unknown, but all Kosta could think about was the location it had destroyed.

His brother's apartment was over there.

Still groggy with sleep, he couldn't stop his legs as they began to take long strides across the street. His strides quickly turned into a jog, and then into a race. He passed people in the streets cursing the enemy as a panic broke out. Some screamed and others fell to their knees as their sobs echoed against the crumbling, unmaintained buildings.

Kosta ignored these. Only one person was on his mind - his brother.

As he grew closer, the smell of brick dust rushed into his nose. There was so much damage. Many buildings had disappeared entirely, being replaced with rubble and twisted steel. Dozens of people crowded round, calling the names of their loved ones, and digging in attempt to find survivors. Kosta joined them, his eyes dashing from right to left, searching.

Suddenly a sight came to him that sent relief spiralling through him. His brother hadn't been in the building when it collapsed, but despite this fact, something didn't feel right. Why was he lying on the floor? Why wasn't he moving?

He dashed over, dropped to his knees and touched his brother's face. There was no response. Calling his name, he began to shake his shoulder.

Still nothing.

He scooped his brother into his arms, stifling his sobs, and repeated his name in hope he would open his eyes, but there was no life. Giving into his grief, his sobs merged with hundreds of others as he cradled the body in his arms, rocking back and forth. This wasn't their war, but yet it seemed they being punished for living where they did.

His brother was dead and all he could ask was `why` . . .


  1. ohhh I LOVE the title of this piece. Can I use it as my little mantra?

  2. lol. Of course you can...feel free...x