Friday, February 02, 2007

The Fallen

(An island in the South Pacific, World War II.)

Dean's feet sprayed sand. He pounded towards the artillery crater.

Had to move. Had to move. Had to move.

Snipers were plucking them off, one by one.

Move, move, move.

Twenty more yards to cover, just twenty--

The world JOLTED. Spun.

Liquid beach. Liquid cliffs. Colors like mud.

Something crashed into his back. The air was gone.

The bright sky drained to midnight.

* * *

"What've you got?"

"Mortar blast. Abdominal wound. It's a fucking mess."

"You got him?"

"Don't know."

"You got him?"

"Jesus! Get down! They're firing everywhere."

"Fucking nightmare."

"They're cutting us up."

"I'm checking that man ahead. He might be breathing."

"Don't fuck around."

"I'll be back to help drag this guy."


* * *

Dean blinked at the blur hovering over him. He heard paper tearing. Someone muttering and cursing.

"Come on. Stop the bleeding. Stop the fucking bleeding."

Dean tried to speak.

"Hey, you awake? Stay with me, you hear me? Stay with me!"

Dean saw a splotch of color floating in the air. Red on white.

A medic? Had he been hit?

"You're pretty chewed up, man, but if I can just stop this bleeding-"

A whistle and metallic thwak sliced the medic's voice. His helmet landed next to Dean's head. The man pitched forward and across him.

Dean wheezed under the weight. Couldn't breathe.

Tingling in his hands and groin crept inward, then washed up into his brain.

Slipping away.

Slipping away.

The battle sprinkled off into silent white.

* * *

Two men walked among the bodies blown over with sand.

One by one, they pulled the stiffened limbs out of the dried mops of seaweed. Misshapen body bags lined the shore.

"Oh shit, I hate to see that."


"Medic. They shot him right over a guy, for Christ's sake. Fucking animals."


"Should've kept your head down, man."

"Too late now."

"No shit. You got him?"


They unhooked the medic from Dean's body.

"Jesus! Look! This guy's soft."

"He's breathing!"

"Yo! Hey! Get the doc over here! We've got a live one!"

Feet scrambled on another part of the beach.

"Four days.... Holy Jesus Look at that guy's guts."

"It must've been the medic's weight. Like a huge fucking bandage."



"I hope he makes it."

* * *

Dean nodded. His son-in-law blinked. His granddaughter home from college looked at him like she never had before.

"Yeah, I had a lot of respect for the medics," he said with a gruff smile.

(This story is my fictionalized account of a true story. The father-in-law of a former law partner of mine recently told him a story of how he survived wounded for four days after a medic tending to him during the battle was shot in the head fell over him. The pressure of the body stopped his bleeding. I dedicate this piece to all of the soldiers whose stories we will never hear.)


Southern Writer said...

Very nice tribute. You did the guy proud.

Susan Abraham said...

Hello Jason,
Neat tight words.
You poured most of your creative energy into the emotion at hand, I feel which then turned into a highly-powerful emotion.

The result was - A miracle in the visible sadness.

Top class on the writing!

Bernita said...

My nephew is a med-tech - he's in Afghanistan.

jenn said...

Beautiful. And heart-breaking. A fitting tribute, Jason.

Saaleha said...

Wow, Jason, that was really something. Painted vivid pictures. A worthy tribute.

Anonymous said...

This piece is the best I have read in a long time. Superb work. Thanks.

Jaye Wells said...

Nice, Jason. Although I wish I hadn't been eating breakfast as I read this:
"Holy Jesus Look at that guy's guts."

Otherwise, I liked it. ;)

Beloved Dreamer said...

Jason, what a powerful and moving story It moved me in a way you could not know. My Father was a medic during WW2. He was in the south pacific and saw a lot action
He would never speak of all the death he saw.
This story has a rhyhum and tightness to it. Sparse words made it even more powerful. Well done my fiend.
Thanks for reading my poem and for your comment. It always means alot to me.


Bailey Stewart said...

As the daughter of a WWII vet - Thank you.

I've had a lot of writing lately that has left me speechless. This is one of them.

Sam said...

Great story, Jason. Your narration is brillient.

Khylan Seriphyn said...

The human side of war. I could really feel Dean's pain.

Anonymous said...

SW, thank you, my friend.

Susan, such a high compliment. Much appreciated, my friend.

Bernita, I thought of you as I wrote this. I know several members of your family are in the military. Pat them on the back for me next time you see them.

Jenn, thank you for saying so. :)

Saleeha, I hope I gave enough to bring the scene alive.

Steve, a high compliment! Thanks!

Jaye, I'll be sure to give a breakfast/lunch/dinner warning next time. ;)

BD, I'm honored to give this small tribute them. Your father has my respect.

Bailey, I'm very humbled. Thank you!

Sam, very much appreciated.

Khylan, welcome! Thank you for taking the time to read this piece and comment. It's hard for me to imagine what this man went through.

briliantdonkey said...

wow, outstanding tribute to vets everywhere. Not only veterans, but also firefighters, cops, and plenty of other people that put their lives on the line every single day. Thanks


Shameless said...

very moving, jason. :)

Terri said...

A story well told - there's no softening of the blow, it cuts to the chase and makes it all too easy to imagine. Well done.

Verilion said...

I really like the colour imagery and dialogue. A powerful piece Jason.

Michele said...

Oh my gosh! Tell me you can submit this somewhere!
This was awesome,Jason!
Absolutely riviting.

I have the chills. Please tell me this will go further than here. It has tons of merit.

Fran Piper said...

Wow. Very tight, very vivid. Great work.

Anonymous said...

BD, thanks for the kind words.

Shameless, thanks!

Terri, I tried to evoke the way a high adrenalin moment would be highly fragmented, yet intense. Thanks. :)

Verillion, I appreciate the feedback on the imagery. =)

Michele, honesty, I wasn't planning on submitting it. (He ducks as she swings at him.) I don't know if something this short would find a home. I suppose I could try....

Fran, thank you kindly. :)

Michele said...

Yep, you better duck.:-)

Of course it can find a home.
If Short Flash Fiction can find a home, why not this?

Seriously. Tuck this one in a visable spot - it shouldn't fade away to be forgotten.

It's THAT good.

So there.

Anonymous said...

Michele, you really gave me a smile. :D Thanks for that. Maybe I'll give it try.

anne said...


anna said...

Absolutely one of the best.
And the photo of all those apples

mermaid said...

Thank you for this. The details make them real, and give us a taste of what they have been through.