11 December 2009

"Tidal" #Fridayflash

The war is over, yet there's an explosion in my head. It’s a deep resonance among the chop-chop-chop of helicopter blades, and shouts of the profane and the dead. I move a muscle—I’m toast. I must stay alive. I will lie here forever if that is what it takes to survive.

Low bended grasses and broken reeds anticipate the crash and clamor of the next land-mine. I crawl on a belly full of MRE and rough-roasted coffee, M16A2 my shield and savior. The war is through, and I want to sound-off the cadence of a lonely soldier, but my mouth has lost all flavor.

I stare through the patterned walls over to the Other Side, where gruesome guard dogs snap frothing jaws and wag ragged tails. A place where sinking ships form a trail of strewn carcasses, like crustacean skeletons at low tide. There’s a rule to not skip, just patter over the xylophone bones as fast as I can before the bottom falls through and the pit gapes wide.

There’s a slow beeping in my ear, and somewhere next to my arm, a cool wire constantly feeding me the ocean.

I stand blanched on the severed shore and shake my head in slow motion at a memory. A spark of reasoning, wedged somewhere between my first kiss in the park and the last cigarette before my flight.

I let go my tidal breath and manage a weak smile as the wave inside washes darker than night.

Inspired by Chevelle's song, "Bend the Bracket."


Photo credit: RAYWAL65 from morguefile.com

31 comments:

Cascade Lily said...

I'm not sure I really know what happened here! He died? He's dying? He's in hell? Or war is hell? I don't know where you took me but I loved the visceral descriptions in this piece. I may be stupid, but I can tell a beautiful piece of writing when I see it!

Laura Eno said...

Beautiful prose chockful of delicious images. I especially loved "..a cool wire constantly feeding me the ocean." You've created an entire story that has a flash-card feel to it.

A Writer said...

He's in a coma after a tragic war accident. Yes, he died. Thank you for the generous praise. I mean it. Yours is well-earned. =)

Marisa Birns said...

Just beautiful!

Your use of "There’s a slow beeping in my ear, and somewhere next to my arm, a cool wire constantly feeding me the ocean" to denote being in a hospital room, tied up to machines and receiving saline solution through IVs is wonderful poetic prose.

Kudos!

jdanetyler said...

GORGEOUS prose, snappy, sharp, crisp. I don't know if I got what was happening, but the descriptions are so delicious it didn't deter me from finishing the read.

Amazing wordsmithing. Fantastic.

Michael Solender said...

now here is some imagery --wow!

Jodi MacArthur said...

I love how you mix the chaos of war and ocean with this poor man's dying thoughts and memories.

You were made to do this, Carrie.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Strong images. You could expand this.

Carrie said...

@Paul My WIP deals much with the afterlife.

Danielle said...

It took a second read to grasp it, but some of the images were so real. Especially the "feeding me the ocean" line.

There's some great stuff in there. Well done.

Chadwick said...

Thick, active detail. Nice work.

Draco Torre said...

Beautiful writing. A nice capture of a soldier in a coma still living the war.

Bravo.
-David G Shrock

Dan said...

As everyone has said, very nice images and prose. I especially like the line about tidal breath.

David said...

All so beautiful, but two lines stand out for me:

"the cadence of a lonely soldier"

"somewhere next to my arm, a cool wire constantly feeding me the ocean"

Pervaded by sadness and pain, yet full of humanity.

Michelle said...

I too love the prose, a beautiful piece of writing. Not sure I totally got it but I did really enjoy reading. :)

mazzz_in_Leeds said...

"as fast as I can before the bottom falls through and the pit gapes wide." I was THERE at that point.
Wow, great stuff.

Death certainly becomes you :)

elizabethditty said...

The language here is just fantastic, Carrie. Not too much, not too little. Beautiful and heartbreaking story. Very, very well done.

Jim_Wisneski said...

Wow this one is great. . . I love nothing more than a poetic story that just blows you away.

Perfect.

Jim

Amy J Taylor said...

The prose is soooo poetic, and the imagery...wow! I had him in a hospital tent, still on the battle field...and I had double meaning for 'the war is over'. I truly believed it was, that he'd missed out on surviving by days, and that his personal war, the fight to stay alive, was ending with the actual conflict. Heartbreakingly sad.

Christian Bell said...

This work has great description and imagery throughout. The words flow well from start to finish and in many places they are just downright beautiful. Well done.

Eric J. Krause said...

Wow, very powerful writing with great descriptions. I enjoyed this a TON!

theothersideofdeanna said...

This is fabulous Carrie! The line "..a cool wire constantly feeding me the ocean" is obviously a favorite - I like it too. I like all of it in fact, just beautiful imagery.
I hope that WIP is a Big Novel. I'll be first in line to buy it.

Weezel said...

Strong, well-written, story. I could have gone on reading it forever. Hypnotic! I loved it!

livloveslit said...

Carrie, this is such beautiful language, poetic, powerful, clear and vivid. It's a heartbreaking story! Funny/strange that we both wrote about war this week. Too bad we're having to think about it. Thanks for sharing this. ~ Olivia

Chance said...

very pyschedlecc - im giving up trying to spell that righ!

Intriguing piece and Loved the line
xylophone bones

estrella05azul said...

Wow, this was beautiful! You've captured this man's life and these war memories amazingly :)

Mark Kerstetter said...

Yeah, that cool wire line is a hit with me too. He could be on the shore or in a hospital cot or both in consciousness - or even a ghost. You seem to suggest all of this. Good stuff.

Dana said...

Your prose is so visceral and lovely.

Like Lily, I'm not sure what is going on there but it didn't seem to matter much.

Anton Gully said...

Don't know how I missed this the first time around. That was incredible.

Crystal Posey said...

Very interesting. Enjoyed it.

Crystal Posey said...

He died?!?! *sigh* Carrie, Carrie, Carrie. *shakes head* Happy. Endings.


;P