Friday, February 10, 2012

Flash Fic: Once, But Never Again.

Look at him: mesmerizing, as he moves through the motions of battle. Pivot, thrust, slash, block, parry, swing. He lunges left, he takes a slash to the shoulder, rights himself, throwing his body like a battering ram into his opponent. He moves well, I think, but...I used to move better.
Now...I can hardly talk, I am a hobbled, handicapped mess.
That man out there, it used to be me. But...I was far better. No one could touch me, I had the luck of the gods. Alas, like a starving puppy trailing hopefully behind, I paid that luck no heed. I gave it no scraps, or love, or attention, and then one day it was just: gone.
With a foot twice broken, a hand severed at the wrist—no, I had not stolen that horse—I have little to live for. Never been a friend to any. Pushed them all away. Like batting at flies—instinctual. Now, with a pittance of pay—the sad remains of pity from a commander that found some imagined value, I subsist.
Sure, it may be enough to while away the hours with a woman of the night, forgetting myself in their flesh and succumbing to the moment. But, despite the variety, even that is beginning to get old.
I am starting to wonder: What else is there for me in life? How can I continue; like a desperate man willing to do anything to stay alive—sustained by my commander’s leavening? Sitting here by the sidelines, idle, giving my comments and notes. Helping with strategy. Is that what my day and my night has come to? Because if that is it, I don’t know if I can last.
I’m THAT man right there. The one going through the motions of battle. A performer of death. Except there is one difference: I was better and now...I am nothing.

© 2012 Clifton Hill, all rights reserved.
I know, another cheery one, right? What can I say? There was an interest in the viewpoint of a warrior, full of life and unstoppable vigor, that has succumbed to age and wounds. What would they become, and how would they view life?

This was actually pulled from my voice notes file on my Blackberry. I've got FAR too many notes, stories, poems, etc. sitting idle, waiting for me to transcribe them and put them to some good (nefarious) use. Next Friday we will return to some poems of an Epic Fantasy setting that I have queued up, in companion and successor to the first one that I posted last week.

What do you think?


  1. Tooooooo infodumpy...

    Nah, kidding. :)

    Good. I liked it.

    A question to ponder: Why did he not choose to end his own life while in battle?

  2. Agh! The formatting is all screwed up! Blogger, you lied to me! Liar!

    Ahem...Steve, yes, thanks. I was leaving that to the imagination, in my own morbid fancy I was thinking that it was only a matter of time before the appeal of life ended for the hobbled warrior; or perhaps he crawls out into the field of battle, his pen wielded like a spear to draw the life blood from an enemy soldier like a writer draws prose across the page—painful and awkwardly.

    Have at thee!


  3. Good stuff Clifton, I could feel his longing, but if I was him I would be happy. Not every solider gets to live and command.

  4. And his foible and folly is his obsession with what he was, unable to move beyond, mired in his perfection and scarred by it too.

    Thanks for reading! I'll be curious to see what you think about the future poems I have coming out.


Thanks for reading, now tell me what you think.