To Tear A Stone
Author's note: I wrote this because I felt like I had to. I felt powerless against war, as though I could do... Show full author's note »
The GeneralThe offices of war are bustling like the streets of a city. The offices of war are their own city, a separate city like no other. This city’s mayor is a fat and piggish man. The general sits in his chair smoking a fat cigar and watching the smoke swirl up in the air. This war he commands should win him Commander and Chief, if he plays his cards right. He will, he wants that title so badly.
“There is a science to war, an art!” The general shifts his seat slightly; he speaks to the officer,
“How is it beautiful, sir?” The officer asks, although he does not care. Whatever the general has to say, the officer couldn’t care less: but the officer knows how the general loves the sound of his own voice.
“The glory of war, my boy, is like no other you see… there is no glory to fighting a war, there is no glory in dying. Where the glory is behind the front lines, among the maps and planners. Wars are not won by the men who fight them, but by the men who teach where to fight and when. We are the artists, people like you and I, this war shall be my masterpiece. Watch my disciple, watch!” The officer loves the sound of his words, cherishing every one. The officer watches on, his time will come he knows. There will be a time, when the officer becomes a general. The officer is just waiting, waiting for that time.
“I am glad to be a disciple, to a man like you.” Says the officer with a small sigh, lies slipped from the officer’s lips like water from a jug. The general stands with a grunt, and walks from the smoke filled room, the officer hot on his heels.
Far away, in a large town house, the general’s wife is bored. The general’s wife dislikes her life, despite its great riches and fame. Yet most of all, of all the things she dislikes, she dislikes her own daughter. The general’s daughter, the ugly girl belongs to her father. The general’s daughter is thin and frail, and feels her mother’s hate like a stomach-ache.
“You strange girl, what is that you wear?” The general’s wife sneers, loving the pain that floods the general’s daughter’s face. The girl cannot utter a word; she bites her lip and twists her fingers together. “Change, you look even more ugly with that on.” The general’s wife says with a half smile. The general’s daughter walks away into the house.
The general’s daughter does not cry, she is only slightly sad. If she were not in love, she would cry now. She does not mind if her mother thinks her ugly, her mother is not exactly beautiful herself. The general’s daughter’s heart is not her own, it belongs to the officer. She takes a thrill in this; her mind is full of romance novels. The general’s daughter very rarely leaves her house, because the world outside is scary to her. She likes to stay inside and press flowers for her collection. Her collection is her pride and joy, her life’s work. She wants to have one of every flower, pressed and dried and placed in her book. Whenever she is sad or lonely, the general’s daughter opens that book and takes pleasure in the flowers there.
Down in the streets below a tramp searches his bottle for drink. He looks down its glass neck and searches for some liquor left over. There is no. The world is a deep and dull place. Thinks the tramp. I am not allowed but one more drop of this sweet and fiery liquid. The tramp is irritated. He sighs and scowls at the passers by. People are so causally cruel, thinks the tramp. They ignore a homeless man on the street, because they are afraid that he smells or has lice or has brought his sufferings upon himself. The tramp had not brought his homelessness upon himself. He was the victim.