Swords Today’s snippet is inspired by “The One-Minute Writer” prompt: Swords. (Granted, this was written in little over a minute.)

Names, Blades and the Insane  

“Do they look at the names? Royce, do they look at the names?” Dale Evan shoved a collection of forms in his brother’s face, fist shaking with the rest of him. It had only been his first day on the job. If he had it to do all over again, he wouldn’t have accepted the assigned track so easily. “These are the ones removed today. Who knows-?”

Royce gripped Danny’s wrist with one hand, pried the smuggled forms with the other before tossing them into the open fire. They both stared at the rising ashes. “I don’t need to look at them, Danny. I hear them, like blades through the heart ripping through muscles meant to keep me alive, muscles that failed for them. I taste the spirits stolen from them, siblings, sons, daughters, sole family to many soldiers who fought beside me, against me, and many as insane as me.

“You see faces; I feel swords. But we play our parts in this madness until we find a way to break free. You can’t drink in every name you see, Danny. It’ll be the death of you if you do. It’s crazy, me saying this to you, but don’t do anything to disturb the harbor you have. I know it’s hell; I fought for that hell and I’m sorry I did. I’d do it again if it meant your safety and Gail’s.”

Dale Evan kicked a log towards the fireplace, the sore toes a mild irritation to his ire, his brother’s illogical request. “Maybe I can enlist this-.”

“I’ll kill you myself,” Royce warned. “In time, you’ll be able to fight with the paper, Danny boy. You’re the bookworm among us, the word-wizard, and pattern-finder. I know you’ll find a way to burrow towards the weak spots.”

The younger brother shook his head, wishing their baby sister would cry herself to sleep already. “For how long,” he asked, ahead of his brother in two strides before Royce could roll the wheels once. “How long?”

“For as long as it takes for us to survive.”


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