Fog of War (Flash Fiction)

The sound of explosions and screaming below are deafening and constant. The evilness and greed of man display themselves in bloody and violent fashion. A lone woman runs through the street. A second later, she bursts into myriad pieces with a splatter of blood, plasma, and body parts. A helpless, crying child calls out for his mother and father. His suffering is short as bullets, fired by fully-grown men, tear mercilessly through him. They don’t care. There’s no remorse. They are the only things down there more pitiless than the bullets they fire.

Armoured vehicles crash through smashed and broken vehicles as if they aren’t even there. The crunching sounds are interspersed with shells slamming into buildings and obliterating them. Nobody within could possibly survive. Anybody who did could consider themselves unfortunate.

The sun shines brilliantly and brightly. A handful of fluffy white clouds only add to the serenity. A couple of birds frolic and play with abandon. Nothing matters to them apart from the sun above and the trees where they nest and forage for food a few miles away. An occasional aircraft breaks the tranquillity, though it soon disappears as it travels ever forth to its destination.

The summer is in full swing and the warmth from the sun would energise the ground below if only it could actually reach it. Instead, its heat energy is trapped down there; unable to escape back out into the atmosphere.

Below are death, hatred, fear, and violence. Above are peace, tranquillity, light, and beauty. Two entirely opposing scenarios. The sights, smells, and sounds are divergent and I can sense each of them simultaneously. All that separates them is me. I am what obscures one from the other. I am created of the hell below and will eventually dissipate into the heaven above.

I swell and grow as the ongoing fracas adds to my bulk. Every pistol, MG, rifle, and turret discharged; every explosion that rattles the ground; every fire that rages; it all serves to make me stronger and denser. Few below take much notice of me, however. They’re too busy killing or trying not to be killed.

A man is hacked to pieces with a machete while the murderer laughs with crazed vehemence. He doesn’t care that blood is splattering all over himself as he does it. His attention is then grabbed by another person nearby who screams and tries to run. They run only into the path of a moving tank that flattens them. I can’t be sure if the tank driver did it intentionally. Nothing at all shocks me about what’s going on down there.

I see a child step out into the line of sight of machete man and do all I can to concentrate on what’s going on above instead. The dancing birds have gone; scared off by a loud helicopter that has suddenly appeared. I do all I can to block out the horror of the child being pursued. The problem is that I can’t. I see it all. I see everything around me all at once and I can’t escape this.

The next thing I know, the helicopter’s guns open up and fire a volley to the ground below. A blood-curdling cry rents the air as machete man has his legs obliterated from beneath him. The tank stops and turns its turret to face skywards. All the people inside can see is me. The helicopter has thermal vision. They’re in the empowered position here. A shell fired by the tank flies harmlessly wide of the helicopter. The helicopter returns fire with rockets and their aim is true. While the tank remains intact, the people inside are surely done for.

Next, I see something that shocks me to the very core. The child steps towards machete man who writhes around on the ground in agony; the better part of both his legs gone. The child picks the machete up from the ground. He looks at it. He looks at the man. Then, without another moment’s hesitation, he swings the blade at the man’s head. It lodges in his skull and he dies pretty much instantly. That isn’t what shocks me. It’s the fact that the child laughs, viciously kicks the cadaver, and then runs away in search of safety.

The action on this particular street is over for now. I could have told you about everything I’ve seen on all the others too—lives being ended as though they’re nothing—while, up above, all is calm. There’s sunshine. There’s cloud. There’s blue sky. The humans below can’t see them because of me. While their weapons create noise, fire, destruction, and death, they also create me. I see all. I see the hell below and the heaven above. I’m the fog of war!

5 thoughts on “Fog of War (Flash Fiction)

    1. That’s exactly my mindset, bud. Death happens and it happens to everyone irrespective of age, gender, or how much money you have in the bank. Accepting mortality is an extremely important thing for people to do in my eyes.

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  1. Interesting concept for a story, I must say I’m glad you’re Getting out some more of your flash fiction… I had started to get tired of find me a find… I think you are really good at the darker themes and in general flash fiction/shorter series… though I would still be reading your Apocalypse series if it was still going On! Lol

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  2. I love this Paul. It’s brutal and beautiful, contrasting dark and light. Your focus on the small details is beautiful. This is probably one of my faves. I like it when you write in a clear style, as you do, matter of fact and precise, but this fiction also has warmth and softness to it, and despite the horribleness of the subject matter it is srratenrely uplifting (or maybe I’m just weird!) that’s my take on it though 😊

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    1. It certainly wasn’t intended to be uplifting. That’s the beauty of reading though. We all see our own hidden messages and feel our own undertones. This is where writing the perfect story simply isn’t possible. You can’t cater to every single person’s taste. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to respond. I haven’t responded to any comments in like two months 😨

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