It’s been a while since I posted any stories, so I thought I’d dredge up another from the Bad Old Days of our friendly writing contests back at TrekUnited (may it rest in peace).
This was from another of our ever-popular image-based contests, where each contestant was given a picture to use as the inspiration for their story.
This was what I was assigned:
“Bullets” is the story that resulted. It’s a pretty basic story, but it has a certain catharsis to it. I don’t remember if I won this contest or not, but I suppose it doesn’t matter. Those contests were more of an excuse for us to share our creativity and talk about writing anyway.
Sigh. I miss those days.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the story.
© 2014 by Tyler F.M. Edwards.
For three days and three nights, the enemy ravaged the city. They came in their great airships, raining death from above. The people of the city tried to put up a defense, but against the aerial assaults, there was little they could do.
Mary watched as her life was systematically destroyed. The neighborhoods in which she had played as a child burned. Her friends died in blazing conflagrations. She tried to help by working as a medic, but it made no difference. For every person she saved, a dozen died under her care. Their screams of pain would forever haunt her.
On the first night, her home was destroyed. On the second night, her brother, whom she had loved more than life itself, was killed. On the third, she wept bitter tears for all that she had lost. On the third, she swore revenge.
On the dawn of the fourth day, the bombardment finally stopped. Mary and the few other survivors knew this was not a cause for celebration. Now, the enemy would send their army in to occupy the ruins. Their troops were already approaching.
A few used the brief opportunity to escape, but most — Mary among them — stayed, with the intention of making the enemy suffer.
The enemy had superior technology, but that gain had come at a price. They had completely forgotten the ancient ways of power. But some among Mary’s people still remembered. The knowledge had been passed down through Mary’s family for generations, and now, she intended to make use of it.
She took two revolvers and loaded them with six bullets each. These were no ordinary chunks of lead. These had been forged from all her suffering, all her pain, all her tears. These would allow the enemy to feel what they had inflicted upon her.
The sound of marching troops filled the ruins of the city. The enemy fanned out in many small patrols, seeking to stamp out what little resistance remained.
Mary stalked the streets, her medic’s pouch still hanging at her side, a revolver in each hand. Her pulse raced with predatory anticipation. She came upon a patrol of eight enemy soldiers and wasted no time. She raised her gun and fired a quick burst.
Two men fell. One died instantly, but the other howled in pain. This was not the pain of the bullet tearing through his insides. This was a pain much greater. This was the pain of a lost home, the pain of a dead brother, the pain of a ruined life.
Overcoming their surprise, the enemy raised their guns. Mary fired five more bullets. Two hit, and three missed. But even those that missed had an effect. As they passed by the enemy soldiers, the men wailed in horror as they briefly brushed her own sorrow. It slowed them enough for Mary to fire her last four shots, none of which missed.
Distantly, she heard screams echo from other parts of the city. She was not the only one to remember the old ways.
She didn’t know if her people would be able to drive back the enemy army. It seemed unlikely, but in truth, she hardly cared. She just wanted the enemy to suffer as she had.
She reached into a pocket and withdrew twelve more bullets. She would never run out. They had been made from her pain, and her pain was endless.