Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Entry #94

Flame, At a Distance, Over Water
by B. Nagel


I’m on my back step, having a last pipe with the pigs, watching the sun fall into the bay. Inside, my Kay is packing her pipe to join us. Everything settled and domestic since I hung straight-edged Kantir above the door. The sun on the water flickers like flame and reminds me of Saychal and Harris-blades. That was an ugly campaign.

A boy on the main island stirring up the natives. Says he knows a passage away from the empire. That kind usually comes to a bad end of themselves.

This boy though. He was the pure penny. Committed. Something had to be done.

As a soldier, I did the needful myself.

As a man, I watched in shock while my men overran the island, using the newest weaponry to chew through ‘hostiles’. Everything dragged into the ocean: men, women, children, pets and lumber. We salted the ground, then set the grass on fire. As we sailed away in the night, the flames shot high with flashes of blue and green.

I sank the weapons in our wake. Such power doesn’t belong in the hands of angry men. I deserted. Then I met Kay. Together, we bought a piece of poor land with a view.

The sound of the Harris-blade scatters the pigs. The sching and grind pulls out the foundations from the earth and rivulets of pain course through my ears and back along my spine.

Kay leans close to whisper, “He was my little brother.”

24 comments:

Precie said...

Patient vengeance. You do an excellent job of capturing the narrator's experience...your use of language and imagery for him is spot on. And the end hits hard.

Loren Eaton said...

Great title and really wonderful imagery, B. You truly engage the senses.

B. Nagel said...

Precie, Loren -

Thank you, both. This was a third attempt at inspiration.

I hope no one is disappointed I didn't pursue the story I originally considered: a Sherlock Holmes denouement with the ignominious ending line, "Elementally, my dear Watson."

Deb Smythe said...

Wow, I didn't see that coming! Love the imagery and the pacing. Great job. Wonderful writing.

Aimee Laine said...

Revenge. What's the saying? ;)

Aerin said...

You have my initial three thoughts, but here's my fourth:

I wonder if it's my relationship to my little brothers (all three of you) that made this so memorable for me? I mean, you add to the sibling revenge a kind of Legend of the Seeker vibe, and I'm done for.

I think your world-building is solid, the characterization of the narrator is powerful; I'm not sure about the characterization of Kay - some indication that she was the kind of person who could live with this man and convince him she's happy. Maybe not. No, the more I think on it, the more I think it's an excellent representation of his almost-tunnel-vision.

Well done, Co-Dictator. Well done, indeed.

B. Nagel said...

Deb, Aimee, Aerin -

Thank you.

Aimee, I believe the saying is 'Revenge is dish best served with a dash of surprise and a slice of mythic weaponry.' Does that sound right?

Aerin, if you remember Fifths from last CoN, this is the same world, just not the same sister and a little farther down the timeline.

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Revenge served up Kay style. Fitting.


Nice.

Dottie :)

Phil W said...

Man. Good job. I was looking up the names of those swords, but maybe you made them up.

Sarah Hina said...

First: most poetic title of the lot.

Also: what I enjoyed most (maybe weirdly) is the one piece of info you give us on Kay: that she is packing her pipe. It seems so deliberate, yet...fiery.

As always, your descriptions shine. Well done, B.

Erratic Thoughts said...

oooh! this is a great piece...Brilliant pace...
feels like it is a snippet coming from a bigger storyline..quite engaging...:)

B. Nagel said...

Dottie, Phil, Sarah, Erratic -

Thanks for reading!

Phil, I hope you didn't spend too much time researching weaponry, since I made up the names. Unless you enjoyed the research. In which case, you're welcome.

Sarah, I'm not sure if you've heard this, but supposedly good women never smoke a pipe, sweat or break wind. I call balls to that.

Brigid said...

Great pace to this story, it would make a great start of something longer.

phatichar said...

Liked the sching! Wonderful writing.

SzélsőFa said...

that dr Watson story would have turned out just as fine as this one did, i'm sure :)
i liked how the past is embedded within, no hiccups.

bluesugarpoet said...

Vivid description and the end packs a punch. Well done! ~Jana A.

Rachel said...

First line I was comfortable with MC, then uneasy, then horrified, then glad he deserted and yet I think something awful is yet to come about.

Was pleased he purified the earth, that the evil went into water, and wondered where this was set. Past, future, SF?

Sad to say I looked up the names of the knives. Know nothing about them....ya got me there!

Very nice, full work!

Old Kitty said...

Ice cold patient revenge. I feel sorry for the man - he seems to have tried to redeem himself with love but it wasn't to be! I really enjoyed this, thank you! Take care
x

Anonymous said...

While I was surprised by the final line, I thought all along that it was time for him to repay. I think it was the one last pipe comment early on. Well done. I echo the other commenters.

B. Nagel said...

Brigid, phatichar, SzelsoFa, Jana, Rachel, Old Kitty and Anon1:40-

Thank you! It means a lot that y'all took the time to comment with so many great entries out there.

Rachel, the setting (time and place)is pure fantasy.

Mikki said...

Excellent ending; it gave me chills. Nicely written.

Thanks for sharing!

Richard Levangie said...

That old adage—revenge is a dish best served cold—makes a compelling 250 words. I'd pick a different word than rivulets, and tighten the writing slightly, but it's mostly just nitpicking. Well done.

B. Nagel said...

Mikki, Richard-

Thank you for commenting!

Richard, I'm always interested in hearing specific suggestions for improvement. I FB messaged you, but you can respond direct to the email on my profile if you'd rather.

jason evans said...

What a delicous twist! That revenge was long in the making.