Death Comes Silently – Very Short Story

Tension was high as James and his men skulked along the undergrowth. The air was thick and hard to breathe; and they had to be careful not to sink their entire feet into the soggy earth lest their shoes would disappear into the mud. He and his unit had become lost along the offensive and all contact between them and the main force had been lost. Despite sending many scouts to find their way, nobody returned and the soldiers were getting nervous.

Talks of them being surrounded circulate among the men and nobody dared to go anywhere unless they were in sight of the others. It was pointless to send anymore to their deaths and rather than risking going even deeper into enemy territory, he decided to dig in and wait for relief. They found a hill which they fortified as well as they could, giving them view over the endless forest jungle. James wanted to scream out in frustration, but he couldn’t; he was an officer, and an officer could never complain, at least when his men saw, which was always.

The air was particularly still that night. James was used to deafening sounds of the jungle, at night; the bellowing monkeys, the shrieking birds and the endless buzzing of thousands of different insect species. They had become but a hiss in his ears, unnecessary sounds they wouldn’t aid his survival. But in their absence, there was something ghostly about the jungle. James couldn’t fully relax that night, though he heard his men snore and whisper.

Though being cautious was a virtue in war, James was but a man and he soon succumbed on the dry floor of the officer’s tent. He’d never liked beds, or anything soft, for that matter. Perhaps he’d been born a soldier, definitely not meant for modern conveniences. His eyes and ears were keen and his men depended on him, like a guard dog, which was another layer of responsibility on top of the commanding one. It was as if he was the hound and the human, at the same time.

His eyes felt heavy and he was near blissful unconsciousness, when he heard muffled voices at his ear. Are they crazy? Talking so loud on enemy turf?! But as he rose to tell his men off, the muffled voices vanished. He stared at the ground for a moment, not wanting to believe, but as his ear reached on the ground anew, he heard the muffled speech of the enemy.

And before he could shout out a warning, there was already an explosion and gunfire. Bullets whined through the tent, ricocheting on his canteen and then, a burning at his throat. James stumbled out of the tent only to fall with blood rising through his mouth. The last thing heard was the screams of the men and those that tried to bring order to the chaos.

It didn’t take long before the cries silenced and the animals and the crickets returned to their usual calls…


© Christopher Stamfors

Never-Ending War – Very Short Story

War is never ending, always looming. You can never let your guard down, even when things seem the brightest, for this world will take more than it offers.

I lived in a small town out on the country, far away from the struggles of power and ideologies; things that I, nor anyone else in my village, could care less about. Even so, war found its way to us. I didn’t understand how it came about, at the time, why those horrible men did what they did, why they just couldn’t leave us alone. But now I understand that they were a product of their time, a time of chaos and unrest. Even to this day, I don’t fully understand how the Order came to an end; giving up the power to the strong rather than the just.

Shortly after the fall of the Order, a Warlord came to our remote village, whose name I’ve forgotten. He was like any other marauder, oppressive and ruthless. Though, later in life, I’ve heard he was far from the worst… We weren’t treated as badly as could have been, I’ll admit, as we had two (disgusting) meals a day and was allowed a few leisurely hours to tend to our own. But in the end, we were slaves and we were expendable.

My father died before the unrest, leaving me and my mother to fend for ourselves. She died shortly after the occupation, however. Before her death, she’d all but given up as the light from her eyes slowly faded, leaving only a husk and an empty expression. I haven’t forgiven her, to this day, for leaving a young girl to the cruelties of the world. Fortunately, I was not like my mother and vowed to escape. I had to simply wait and let opportunity present itself.

Several weeks later, it happened.

Continue reading “Never-Ending War – Very Short Story”

Raven’s Shriek – Poem

Pest, war and famine,

emptied the streets

The city echoed quietly

Through the raven’s shriek

Beaks black; now scarlet

There was enough to go around

Must devour quickly,

before the rats come


© Christopher Stamfors