I think this was one of the first pieces of ‘flash fiction’, for want of a better term, I ever wrote in the first Creative Writing class I attended, in 2009. It came out of a lesson to which my tutor brought a smooth khaki coloured rock, and told us the 15 ideas it had given him for a story.  He asked us to use our imagination and to come up with something ourselves. This was my effort, which I remember at the time, went down well with Mr L.


David and Goliath by Titian

The sky was a dark gradient of greys, almost black on the distant horizon. Below me, small fires were scattered round, and little groups of men mumbled quietly. Some were bent, hunched in the wind, wearing tattered blood-sodden bandages. Some stood and their voices were louder. The flames caused gunmetal to twinkle, but in a savage way. A few tattered flags some torn in half, our coat of arms only slightly recognisable now, half-wavered, then fell, in the smoke from the fires and cannon.

I tended to my comrade as best I could. He lay on the edge of life, and the darkness had set its tiller at taking him now.

A faint wheeze drifted on the air, but that was all he could muster for breath. A dribble escaped the corner of his mouth every now and again, and bubbles of spit crept down his chin. His hair was dank and lifeless, plastered to his head with sweat, and a large, ever increasing course of blood, ran down his face, covering his tunic, emanating from a huge wound in his forehead.

At last he opened his eyes, vainly seeking me out as best he could, but although I was in his sight, he could not find me. A last grating, groaning breath, his eyes closed, and he was gone.

I turned to the West, and saw the swathe of cheering enemy flooding away over the plain, exulting in my closest friend’s complete and utter downfall.

The sling was a few yards from his sandalled feet, close by… the stone that had felled him. I bent, grasping for it, my hands sticky with Goliath’s blood, and then moved off into the light, and away from this sad, sad carnage.