March 1, 2009
By Ira Herniter BRONZE, Highland Park, New Jersey
Ira Herniter BRONZE, Highland Park, New Jersey
2 articles 1 photo 0 comments

An empty street. The cobbled road is lined with old shops, windows smashed. Every building has at least three stories all have red or grey brick exteriors. Smashed glass, splintered wood, and trash litter the sidewalks. A wistful, soft breeze blows by, stirring the branches of the few trees left with them. The whole scene is faded out, unreal, as if it is an old sepia photograph, just pulled out of a long forgotten box.
A young man enters the scene. He is well dressed but with drab colours. He is confident, yet has a hunted air to him, as though he both follows an ethereal scent and is followed in turn. He walks along the empty street, looking from side to side as though trying to find something, a past memory, a lost past, anything. He walks forward, past several shattered shops and stops, looking through a broken window into a store.
He looks around, as though fearing witnesses. Suddenly, he drops to his knees, facing down the broken street and begins to pray, rocking slightly, back and forth, back and forth. For several minutes he prays, then he stops, as might a rabbit, sensing the nearness of the fox. He stands up slowly, as if any sudden movement would attract the hunters' attention. He moves slowly into a broken store and pulls out a pistol from the folds of his jacket and waits, standing very still.
Soon, after a short pause, grey uniformed soldiers armed with rifles walk into the scene. Slowly they go down the street, glancing into gaping storefronts. As they walk forward, suddenly a shot was fired, a clap of thunder from a cloudless sky. A soldier staggers, gagging on his own blood, clutching the hole in his throat, and slowly sinks to the ground. His companions jerk around, looking for the source of the shot, suddenly vulnerable and afraid of their own domain.
Another shot, another, and one more. Three soldiers drop to the ground, their bright red blood shining against the dull grey uniforms they wore. The last soldier drops his gun, falls to his knees, and falls to the ground in the universal act of surrender. Nonetheless, another shot rings out and the last soldier drops to the ground, face forward. The young man steps from the wreckage and surveys his work. Retribution done, he turns away and walks down the street of broken dreams and lost hopes, out of sight.
The five dead bodies remain; slowly decomposing, silent watchmen of the hell they helped create.

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This article has 7 comments.

bjm said...
on Mar. 20 2009 at 11:35 pm
Wow! captivating, well written.

rman said...
on Mar. 20 2009 at 5:11 pm
very vivid and effective in building suspense

A.T. said...
on Mar. 20 2009 at 3:16 pm
Very vivid and creative! Great work!

collyrob said...
on Mar. 20 2009 at 2:22 pm
Very good! Had my attention from start to finish. Well done!!!!

cherniter said...
on Mar. 20 2009 at 1:39 pm
Wonderful. I really felt like I was in the scene.

Lori said...
on Mar. 20 2009 at 11:57 am
Well done! I love how you leave the reader with so much to think about.

Marcia said...
on Mar. 19 2009 at 7:41 pm
Excellent story, creative and well written.

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