Monday, 21 March 2011

Monosyllabic - Swords at Dawn

I wasn't a fan of Chuck Wendig's challenge for this week - baby noir - so I finished (well, restarted really) an idea I had a few years ago. I remember I was playing Pirates of the Burninng Sea when I thought of it, a monosyllabic story. A duel seemed the best bet (again, probably influenced heavily by the game) and I started it, but got sidetracked.

It was fun doing it, and harder than I thought it would be. A couple of times, I found a turn of phrase that was good, but it fell down when I realised something was polysyllabic. A few words are a bit dicey if they're one or two (steel, duel, wild, a few others) but I did the clapping thing like I teach my kids in class, and even after doing that, moment nearly slipped through until another read.

That's enough yammering, on with the short story.

Swords at Dawn

Dawn. First light with a glint of sun in the dew on the grass. A few days gone by words had been said and it was time to seek an end. So it had come to this, drawn swords and bare steel. They could not turn back now, a sneer on the face of one proof that this must be. Sad eyes, mad face, low bow, curt nod... duel!

Slow, step by step, they spun, to seek flesh, to cut. Tense then a thrust, the clang of steel, a curse. First blood! A small cut on the hand, just a nick, but it led to rage. A wild swing... a deep breath then calm once more. Look for a way, test with a feint, then drive the point home. A miss, this time. Their world shrunk to the blade, the eyes, the foe.

Beads of sweat drip from his face, fear in the eyes as he knows that his skill is less.  Sweep the blade in an arc, and hope to hit. Aim for the head, but no luck. Fall back, give ground to a rain of blows. He is sure the end must soon come, arm sore, a hand that shakes. A cut to his arm, and his blade starts to weave as the blood runs free.

The next thrust, less of a block than a weak push. His foe grins and steps in his guard, spears his leg with the tip of his blade. As flesh is torn, so too is a cry from his lips. Red stains his pants, his groin hurts. He steps back from the lunge at his chest. Too slow, too late, pain there as well. A weak cough, blood on his lips, last words just a croak. He falls to the ground in a heap and can’t move. He does not want to feel this, wants it not to end this way. His foe wipes his sword on the grass with not a glance spent on the dead. It is done.

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