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31 October 2008 @ 10:55 pm
it's quiet now  

Week 4 entry for October: Brigit’s Flame

Prompt: It's quiet now
Note: I decided not to do the Halloween thing. I don't know how this will fare, seeing as it's rushed...but anyway, here it is. Last entry for the month. :)

They stared at the sky as it illuminated the glow happening from below - two little boys with awe on their faces, and innocent wonder in their eyes.

BOOM.

CLANG.

KABANG!

“What is that?” four-year old Jamie asked, a hint of nervousness coming into his voice. There was a pause, before his six-year-old brother stopped staring at the brilliant display before them to look at him.

“It’s magic,” Joseph said, all solemn and sure. “Jacob said it’s magic.”

Their mother could only look at them with something akin to quiet horror in her eyes.

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

“When you hear those loud noises and those bright yellow lights—”

“Yellow? But they’re red sometimes!”

“Yes, yes—fine. Do you remember those red and yellow lights you saw a few days ago? Joseph? Jamie?”

“Yes.”

“When you hear them again, just remember...they’re fireworks.”

A pause.

“What are fireworks?”

“Fireworks are magic.”

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

The ground trembled as a particularly loud explosion reached them, shaking the basement abruptly. In an instant, Annie Sawyer was on her sons, embracing them and comforting them as one shrieked and the other remained silent.

“It’s a monster! It’s a monster!” Jamie yelled, gripping his mother and whimpering slightly.

“Now, now, baby, it’s not a monster,” she soothed.

“Then—then it’s a dragon!”

“Dragons are still monsters, Jamie,” Joseph stated wisely, his eyes still fixed on the window level to the ground that provided them a foggy view of the outside. “But don’t worry, those aren’t monsters.” Belatedly, he put a hand on his younger brother’s shoulder, and patted him.

After a moment, Jamie stopped whimpering and began rubbing his eyes.

“R-Really? Then what are they?” he asked.

“They’re firecrackers,” Joseph replied. “They’re firecrackers, aren’t they, mama?” He stopped looking through the window, and turned to his mother for confirmation.

Annie Sawyer smiled sadly, and hugged them both tighter.

“Yes, sweetie. They’re firecrackers.”

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

“Where are you going, Jacob?”

“I’m going to play with the fireworks.”

“We want to play, too! Can we come with you?”

“Sorry, kiddo. No can do.”

A pout.

“But why?”

“Because it’s a dangerous game.”

“Will there be firecrackers, too?”

“Yes.”

“When can Jamie and I play with you?”

A pause.

“When you’re old enough.”

Another pause. This time, it was Jamie who broke it.

“Is it fun?”

His oldest brother looked at him with a wry, sad grin.

“Depends on how you look at it.”

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

The firecracker hit the ground behind him—only this firecracker had the impact of ten, and resembled a grenade that could injure a hundred times worse.

Because it really was a grenade, in an adult's point of view.

Jacob cursed, and ran to the side. It might have been too late, as the little dark green object exploded, and sent him careening to the murky ground, facedown and in pain.

“Shit! Shit! Stand up! STAND UP!”

Before he could even gather his thoughts, he was grabbed through his shirt, and hauled to a corner where grass was tall, and they were easily camouflaged. There was gunfire everywhere, accompanied by shouts and screams and endless panic.

“I can’t feel my legs,” Jacob croaked, coughing something wet and...was that red?

“That’s because you have no legs left, mister,” his companion—the one who had pulled him to temporary safety—scoffed, albeit sympathetically.

Jacob blinked. Then he looked down, and gaped in open horror at what he was seeing.

The man was right.

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

“Will you come back?”

“I don’t know, kiddo. Maybe.”

“Why aren’t you sure?”

“Because circumstances might change.”

“...what are circum...?”

A sigh.

“It means the game might take long, Joseph.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah.”

“...but you promise you’ll come back soon?”

A pause.

“I promise I’ll try. I’ll even make a run for it.”

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

His companion had long abandoned him. Not because of cowardice, no—the man was simply lying on one side of the battlefield, in the same position he was in before.

Only this time, the man was definitely dead.

BOOM.

CLANG.

KABANG!

He himself was already too wounded to move, too much in pain to do no more than try to breathe. Other than having no legs now, his stomach was bleeding profusely from a hole caused by a stray bullet—mini firecracker—that targeted him from the enemy’s side. Of course they would target him—he was among the few survivors left, wasn’t he?

Another grenade landed on the ground. This time, it landed beside him.

Closing his eyes, Jacob cursed loudly, and prayed for his brothers and his mother. Damn it, they deserved better than this. Everyone did.

Looks like he wasn’t going to last long.

Before darkness took over, he thought of his two little brothers one more time.

Sorry, kiddo. I lost the game.

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

A mother’s instinct always knew when the invisible threads of connection would break, at the exact second. It didn’t take long for her to feel one thread break, as another loud explosion sounded from afar—the loudest one yet. She had been bringing out the pillows for their makeshift bed in that locked basement, with only a lamp to guide her in what she was doing.

Joseph and Jamie immediately perked up from where they were playing with their Halloween costumes on—it was Halloween, after all—and stared at the window again. It was glowing outside, from a distance.

“Mommy,” Jamie said, “Look.”

Annie Sawyer did look, her heart breaking and tears silently flowing from her eyes.

“More fireworks,” Joseph announced, mesmerized at the still-glowing view. There was smoke mixed with fire...and nothing else.

Absolute silence.

“It stopped,” Joseph murmured. Then, seeing his mother crying, but not understanding why, he went to her and hugged her. Jamie soon followed.

“Does this mean the show is over, mommy?” Jamie asked, burying his head in the warm shoulder and the warm arms.

“Yes, baby. It’s over,” Annie Sawyer whispered, closing her eyes and breathing in the smell of innocent comfort.

It was quiet now.

It would be quiet for a long time.

 
 
i feel: restlessrestless
 
 
 
dawnna/dawn/coolgirl: red mushroomdawnie_gurl on October 31st, 2008 04:57 pm (UTC)
sigh, tin. this made me sad. but it's lovely. how jacob explained everything to the kids, and his words had a twisted way of actually being true....VERY powerful. ^^
★ Eunhyuk's BB: blue eyescutecrazyice on November 1st, 2008 05:07 am (UTC)
Thanks, Dawn. :)
dawnna/dawn/coolgirl: fuschia bloomdawnie_gurl on November 1st, 2008 11:10 am (UTC)
did you join nanowrimo? you should, girl. submit your enchanted story.
★ Eunhyuk's BB: beauty in black and whitecutecrazyice on November 2nd, 2008 02:19 pm (UTC)
I didn't. Graduating, girl. Heh, don't have the time. Maybe next year. What about you?
dawnna/dawn/coolgirl: springdawnie_gurl on November 14th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC)
i didn't. hehe. busy busy busy! ^^
★ Eunhyuk's BB: sasusaku: let my kiss take the pain awaycutecrazyice on November 14th, 2008 05:38 pm (UTC)
Heh, same tayo. :p
cedarwolfsingercedarwolfsinger on October 31st, 2008 09:53 pm (UTC)
How very sad. The horrors of war... conflict... the rocket's red glare... Well written, well done. Good luck.
★ Eunhyuk's BB: harry pottercutecrazyice on November 1st, 2008 04:45 am (UTC)
Thanks. Good luck, too! :)
Aquarius Galuxyaquarius_galuxy on November 1st, 2008 02:18 am (UTC)
=O That's really sad! And kind of disturbing. =\
★ Eunhyuk's BB: chess piecescutecrazyice on November 1st, 2008 04:34 am (UTC)
It is? Lol. Thanks. I wanted it to be disturbing. :p
Aquarius Galuxyaquarius_galuxy on November 3rd, 2008 02:27 am (UTC)
=P You're evil!
★ Eunhyuk's BB: moulin rouge madnesscutecrazyice on November 3rd, 2008 04:19 am (UTC)
*grins*
Aquarius Galuxyaquarius_galuxy on November 4th, 2008 11:10 am (UTC)
And congrats! =P
★ Eunhyuk's BB: harry pottercutecrazyice on November 4th, 2008 11:24 am (UTC)
Whoa. I'm shocked. Lol. I just logged in tonight. :o
aya be a dork: [G00] hey there strangerya_kun on November 1st, 2008 08:12 am (UTC)
This made me really sad, but in a way pleased since I have a 'thing' for stories about war and conflict and all that. I liked how Jacob explained it and how Joseph firmly believed it. It was really touching, in a way ;__; Nicely done.
★ Eunhyuk's BB: blue eyescutecrazyice on November 1st, 2008 10:46 am (UTC)
Heh, I have a thing for war stories as well. And war movies. Anyway, thanks! I'm glad you like it. :)
karenina143: child's smilekarenina143 on November 1st, 2008 11:26 am (UTC)
Wow. This had me so disturbed. It's so powerful and so effective. I really liked the interaction between Joseph and his brother Jacob, and how they interpreted each other's words. That was amazing. Good luck, Icey!
★ Eunhyuk's BB: harry pottercutecrazyice on November 2nd, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :)
kitkatmalo: Sunset Kisskitkatmalo on November 1st, 2008 02:43 pm (UTC)
Darling, this is great work. A child's innocence always hooks me. And your writing is beautiful, as usual. I love Jacob's way of weird thinking. And Joseph's absolute trust in him. And the mother..that breaking of connection..that was just utterly sad. I love this, in short.

Did you join Nanowrimo? I didn't get to join this year, but I'll try next year.
★ Eunhyuk's BB: little colored balls of lifecutecrazyice on November 2nd, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

I didn't join, girl. Super busy this second semester. Heh. Our last defense project is up. I'm already nervous!

You should have joined Nano this year!
kitkatmalo: Pinkkitkatmalo on November 16th, 2008 11:45 am (UTC)
I'll join next year. Let's do it together! ^_^
★ Eunhyuk's BBcutecrazyice on November 16th, 2008 02:47 pm (UTC)
Sure! :)
dragonrose: another brigit's flametriplescorpio on November 2nd, 2008 05:29 pm (UTC)
EDIT
You did a lovely job with this vignette. I've read it through twice. The only negative I have is that I needed to read it twice to get everything straight - but that may have just been me. I got a little confused on who was who; at first I thought Jacob was one of the two younger boys and I couldn't figure out what he was doing in the middle of the conflict. However, on a second read it made sense. And like I said, it may have just been me reading too quickly.

I like the connection Jacob had with his brothers. You did an excellent of detailing that relationship simply through conversation. You also did great in portraying the two little brothers - it's very realistic and also endearing without being overdone.

Battle scenes are difficult to write. I think you conveyed the horror and sadness very effectively, again without being overly dramatic. If anything, there could have been a little more emotionality expressed when Jacob realizes he is dying; however, if you were going for bravery, that comes across clearly.

All in all this is a very well written piece, and it works. The reader is left feeling the horror, as well as the sorrow. Good luck this week.
★ Eunhyuk's BB: edmund shares some magiccutecrazyice on November 3rd, 2008 04:47 am (UTC)
Thank you for the edit! What you said helps a lot. Heh. :)
Jacqueslacombe on November 3rd, 2008 11:36 am (UTC)
This was a delicious read. :-) Nicely done. I made one little error as I'd read, which was to read "-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-" as Ooooooohhhhhh!!!!!!!, and it oddly lend to a sort of fable feel to the story, but I liked the overall effect of that. I really enjoy this piece.
★ Eunhyuk's BB: zeki: one kisscutecrazyice on November 4th, 2008 12:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Heh, I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. :)
lapu_zella: is esmeralda pretty?lapu_zella on November 3rd, 2008 01:10 pm (UTC)
This is very good. The way you portrayed the relationship of the brothers made it very realistic and innocent at the same time. I like that. Good luck!
★ Eunhyuk's BB: little colored balls of lifecutecrazyice on November 4th, 2008 12:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you think so, since realistic is what I was aiming for here. :)
cedarwolfsingercedarwolfsinger on November 3rd, 2008 11:35 pm (UTC)
Editing
I did the edit this AM before I saw that you won the month! Congratulations! I'm so happy for you. It's funny because I told my brother, bridgets_fire, that I would have picked a few of the other entries over mine. Yours was one of them. OK, now down to the edit.

This grabbed my heart and pulled. The timeframe is not clear to me. After a few times through, I am thinking perhaps London and the Blitz. It really isn't important to the story. The important bits are the trust the middle brother has in the eldest. And the desire of the eldest brother to allay their fears by calling it “fireworks”.

I made a few changes in the first line:

They stared at the sky as it was illuminated by the glow happening from below—two little boys with awe on their faces, and innocent wonder in their eyes.

The youngest son does not believe the comfortable fiction, though. It is a monster, anything that causes scenes like this is monstrous.

I love that you have Anne feel her son die.

The ending is brilliant. It can be interpreted several ways. It would be quiet for a long time because the Blitz is over. Or at least this attack is over. OR because Jacob is dead and that heart song will always be silent. OR because the fire and smoke will reach them and they will die. Good writing. I originally had “Good luck” here – since you won, I don't think you need my good luck wishes.
★ Eunhyuk's BB: moulin rouge madnesscutecrazyice on November 4th, 2008 12:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Editing
Wow, thanks! I just logged in tonight, and I didn't even expect that. Heh.

And thank you for the edit. It's lovely, my dear. :)

Oh, oh...and good luck on Nanowrimo! I heard you're joining. :)
bea_tifybea_tify on February 18th, 2009 04:35 pm (UTC)
You deserve the win. Congratulations!
★ Eunhyuk's BB: animated: i was only dreamingcutecrazyice on February 18th, 2009 04:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you. ♥ It's flattering that you think that. :p