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.