Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Flash Fiction: A Soldier Tomorrow

Every Friday, Kurt posts a new piece of flash fiction. This week...

A Soldier Tomorrow
Word Count: 599

Brenna pulled back on the toy car until the spring clicked, and then let it go. It sped off towards the wall, well out of her reach. She lay stretched out on a bench with her rifle against the wall behind her. It was loaded. She should do something about that.

“Read me a story, Mommy,” said Will.

“Mommy’s sick,” said Brenna. “Can you read it to me?”

“I can’t read it,” whined the toddler.

“You know it by heart,” said Brenna.

“Not by heart,” said Will.

“Then make it up,” Brenna offered.

Will whined again.

Brenna sighed. It hurt a little. The triage room was no place for a four-year-old, but Will didn’t want to leave, and Brenna couldn’t. “Go get Mommy the car, will you, Buddy?”

Will shrugged and loped across the room. He made a vroom sound as he shoved the spring-loaded vehicle back towards his mother. It careened into the leg of the bench Brenna lay on.

Brenna felt around for the car with her left hand, turned it around, and then sent it speeding back towards her son. With her right hand, she grasped a plastic remote with a single red button that would summon a nurse. Her thumb lingered over it. It’s not quite time yet. “Will, can you come over and read me the story?”

“I don’t want to,” said Will. “It stinks over there.”

Brenna cast a glance at her leg. It did stink—mostly from the gangrene, although the general lack of hygiene in the barracks didn’t help things at all. If only they’d had disinfectant, but their supplies had been cut off a week ago—by the same battle that had put a hole in Brenna’s leg.

She didn’t really notice the smell anymore.

Cold sweat. Weakness. Brenna ran her thumb around the button. No, it wasn’t quite time yet. Ah, hell, she thought, and pushed it anyway.

Will played with his car in the corner, pretending to race it around the leg of another bench, imagining a world that wasn’t completely thrown into this goddam war, no doubt. That was a comforting thought.

Brenna could hear footsteps getting closer. A young man in nurse’s scrubs poked his head in the door. “Time?” he asked.

“Not yet,” said Brenna. “But soon. Can you do something about my rifle?” She nodded to the weapon propped up behind her.

“That’s not really my department,” said the nurse.

“Well, put it somewhere he can’t get to it,” said Brenna, “or else he’ll decide to play with it, and then it will be your department.”

The nurse sighed, but nodded and moved the rifle to the top of a bookshelf. “Did you need anything else?” he asked, not even bothering to hide his annoyance as he left.

Brenna shook her head. The guy was busy, obviously, but what a crappy bedside manner.

Dizziness. Time to set her affairs in order.

“Will,” she said. “I need you to come over here, please.”

Will have the car a final vroom and then trotted over to his mother’s side.

“Mommy’s going to have to go away soon,” she said. “If I fall asleep, I want you to press this button, okay?”

Will nodded, as though she’d told him to brush his teeth. Imagining a world without war, Brenna reassured herself. A tear cut a path through the dirt on her cheek. Someday he’d be a soldier who’d lost his mother when he was only four years old. But for now…

“Now, I really do want you to read me that story,” she said.

Edited by Carolyn "I'm Distracted By The Pronoun" Abram.

Like what you see? Help me out by liking my author page on Facebook or re-posting the story using the buttons below.

No comments: