Bearing Gifts (Five Sentence Fiction, April 2012)

The One Word prompt from Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction site this week, was Explosive.  I’m afraid I went for a rather literal interpretation. 


Above the sound of Christmas carols drifting from the barracks canteen, the soldier on guard duty hears the excited shouts of the young boy as he cycles towards him down the hot and dusty street.

“Look what I’ve been given for Christmas,” shouts the boy, weaving ineptly towards him, indicating both the gleaming bike beneath him and his new green puffa jacket.

I wouldn’t have thought his family would celebrate Christmas, let alone be able to afford a bike like that, thinks the soldier idly, and surely that jacket’s far too warm for this weather.

A split second later, after the soldier has glimpsed the wires dangling from the hem of the jacket, years of training kick in and he snaps his rifle to his shoulder.

Instead of a crimson flower with tufted centre, the bullet unleashes a massive orange-yellow explosion, and the sentry falls to his knees, hands covering eyes that may never see again, but which will never be able to erase one dreadful image.

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About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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16 Responses to Bearing Gifts (Five Sentence Fiction, April 2012)

  1. Nice Sandra. Powerful imagery.

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  2. Judee says:

    Oh my, you do go for the power hit, don’t you? And again, such a way with words – “the crimson flower with tufted center” what a way to describe a bullet wound, you just amaze me.

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  3. Wow, your last two sentences really got me…actually made me feel sick as realisation sank in, a great piece!

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    • Sandra says:

      Yes it’s a bit savage isn’t it? It’s a concept I’ve had hanging around in my head for some time now, but I was in two minds about submitting it. Not my usual style at all. Thank you for commenting Lisa.

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  4. Rain says:

    This is the kind of shudder-inducing prose I love to read. Such a powerful and heart-numbing scene, such a terrible reflection of reality. And somehow I hardly expected the bomb to be set off by the bullet despite usually expecting the worst in these scenes. Great job.

    Oh, and stepping out of your usual style is generally good — you just might discover you have more styles than you thought you did. 😉

    / Rain

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  5. ahblack57 says:

    Wow. Very powerful. How horrible to be faced with the split second decision of taking the life of a child or allowing him to take the lives of other innocent people. Well done and a sad commentary on our world today.

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  6. Sandra says:

    Yes, you can’t begin to imagine what it must be like to have to face that decision. Thanks for commenting.

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  7. In a word….WOW! What impact….well done!

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  8. Sandra says:

    Thanks Donna. Glad you dropped by.

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  9. Brandon Scott says:

    If this is the result of stepping out of your comfort zone, I suggest you do it more often. This is a great piece of short fiction. Very powerful. This one definitely leaves an impact on the reader. Great job!

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  10. Such a vivid, aching picture you painted so beautifully. Really well done.

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  11. Sandra says:

    Thank you Lillie! 🙂

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I'd love to hear your views; it reassures me I'm not talking to myself.

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