My favourite gift this year was a book called 642 Things to Write About which is full of writing prompts. I could barely wait for guests to leave before I started to write in it.
As I am always looking for things to write in this blog, I shall share what I write. I’m not going to promise to do it everyday as once I am back at work, that will be impossible but I will try to do it regularly.
Here is the first one:
Write a scene that begins “It was the first time I killed a man.”
It was the first time I had killed a man. But not the last.
It didn’t feel as bad as I might have supposed. The distance was the thing. It was the bullet rather than the knife so I didn’t have to witness it eye to eye, as it were. There was no hot blood oozing over my hands. I saw his body drop though, all heavy like lead. Straight for the floor. Like a giant hand had cut all his strings. The wound was to the head so death was probably instant. If not, it would surely have been quick.
Of course, he was one of the bad guys. That was what the Government said. So his death didn’t really trouble me. No more than shooting a rat might have. Vermin. Better off dead. And of more use.
Now that the Fuel Wars are over and the Government has retained supreme control, it is hard for the young ones to imagine what it was like. The fear we had then was all-consuming. And then there was the cold. That sneaks up sometimes. I’ll wake in the morning and the toes are outside the quilt and they are like ice and I get transported back there. To huddling together with all the people in your building. To having nothing to sit on, nothing to read, nothing at all because it had all been burned. And the thought, what would happen when everything had been burned.
That had been my reason for going to fight for the Government rather than the rebels. The Government gave you a thermal uniform. You got gloves, socks and regular meals. All the rebels could give you was a sense of moral superiority and that does not really keep you warm.
I admit I don’t think often of those who died, whether by my hand or one of my fellow soldiers. I think, instead, of how warm it is now.