Les Chiens de Guerre – Friday Fictioneers, February 2014


The hay wagon creaked to a standstill.

Hidden deep within the bales, an English airman held his breath.

The ring of steel-capped boots echoed round the wagon as bayonets jabbed through the load, grazing his shoulder.  His instinctive cry of pain coincided seamlessly with a sharp bark from one of the sheepdogs on top of the cart.

Another jab, another smothered cry, drowned by a perfectly-timed spat between the two dogs.

“Halt’s maul!”

The farmer shrugged.  “Chiens de Guerre,” he spat.

The wagon was waved on.

And the panting dogs of war grinned at no-one in particular, tails thumping happily.

This week one of my photos provides the prompt.  This was taken in Apremont-sur-Allier, said to be one of the most beautiful villages in France.  There are more photos  in one of my cruising reports

Sorry to have missed last week; we were driving up from Spain back to the UK and the story I’d prepared was unworthy of the struggle with the intermittent, slow and unreliable internet connections we encountered en route.  😦   Lovely to be back, though missing our daily walks along the beach – the Cambridgeshire countryside doesn’t cut it quite the same.  

About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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112 Responses to Les Chiens de Guerre – Friday Fictioneers, February 2014

  1. Sandra, glad you’re back and I love the picture. What a tense situation to be in, in this story. I’m glad he made it.


  2. Dear Sandra,

    You had me holding my breath to the end. So well done. Hated that we missed you last week. You mean Friday Fictioneers isn’t your top priority? 😉 Glad you’re back. And thanks for the great photo.




  3. Excellent story Sandra. Well done.


  4. The dogs save the day! Beautiful. Thanks for the gorgeous prompt and it was lovely to read the story behind the photo too.


  5. Great story! You painted a vivid word picture with this one. I’m hoping the soldier made it to safety.


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  7. MrBinks says:

    A great read!


  8. Dee says:

    Loved your photo and the way you linked your story. In a very dangerous situation you allowed humour to shine through, one of your best I think.
    I’ve not been around for a while, but will hopefully get something written this week.


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  10. Ah.. yes that’s what my mind went at first… I’m glad I didn’t do the bayonets… your’s was so much better… thanks for a great picture


  11. Adam Ickes says:

    Thanks for the photo. You’re story is wonderful. It’s almost as if I was in the hay with him… a terrible place to be.


  12. Exciting stuff in 100 words.
    Good story!


  13. Great story with loads of tension. I could almost taste the hay


  14. Glad to have you back, Sandra, although I know how real life can intrude on FF, for better or for worse. This story rings so true. Loved the photo and loved the “dogs of war” closing line. Welcome home and enjoy!


  15. K.Z. says:

    holding my breath as i read this. i felt the tension and then the relief. thank you for the photo. 🙂 glad you’re back!


  16. znjavid says:

    You really built the tension, all in 100 words. Very well done.


  17. elmowrites says:

    Beautiful picture, Sandra – I suspected you before I even saw the credit. Enjoy seeing what everyone’s done with it.
    As for your story – like others I was right there with the airman, holding my breath and praising the dogs for their fighting. You’ve left me worried, though – we don’t see the airman again after the second smothered cry…


  18. Mama Zen says:

    Marvelous write!


  19. helenmidgley says:

    That last line was a killer 🙂


  20. This is the kind of historical fiction that I’ve come to expect from Rochelle! Sandra, you’ve done a brilliant job of it! Welcome home… it’s hard to feel too badly for you and your Cambridgeshire countryside; it all sounds pretty exotic to me, right now!


  21. Bryan Ens says:

    Thank goodness for those dogs of war!!


  22. camgal says:

    Loving the french feel and the last line. Great story and a good picture by the way.


  23. Helena Hann-Basquiat says:

    Thanks for the picture, darling! Loved the parallel between dogs of war and actual dogs.


  24. Love the dialogue! Such a beautiful language to sprinkle in 🙂


  25. vbholmes says:

    Welcome back, Sandra. And thanks for the great inspirational photo prompt. Your story rings all too true, and, hopefully, your Englishman is smiling along with his fellow warriors, “les chiens de guerre”, as the enemy passes them through.


  26. JackieP says:

    Great story Sandra! I was anxious for him.


  27. So much to enjoy about the photo and your story. I too felt the pain of the soldier.


  28. Sorchia D says:

    Nice tension and dialogue. Quite a lot to ask of 100 words, but you built a nice scene.


  29. hugmamma says:

    Nicely done. Like a movie script…an oldie but goodie starring Gregory Peck.


  30. Glad the Germans saw fit to “let slip the dogs of war!” Guess they must have loved Shakespeare after all …


  31. Indira says:

    Very nice Sandra. Such a cooperative dogs. Loved your story.


  32. Wonderful story, Sandra! I’m a little concerned about that soldier, but glad the dogs were on his side.


  33. Great title. I’m currently reading D-Day The Battle for Normandy by Antony Beevor, and had visited the beaches last year, so I’m a bit into all that sort of thing right now. Great story – yours.


  34. plaridel says:

    great story. amazing what you can come up with in 100 words.


  35. Hala J. says:

    Tension in so many forms. I didn’t read anyone’s responses to the prompt before I did mine, but apparently you and I think very much alike, hehe. Nice one!


  36. dreaminofobx says:

    I thought he was going to sneeze because of the hay and be discovered…I didn’t anticipate the enemy stabbing through the hay with bayonets! Great job getting your character into and out of a terrifying predicament in so few words. One more illustration of how dogs are man’s best friend!


  37. I have often thought that pets and animals do more to help us than we think. I believe in a kind of telepathy or empathy among them and us.
    Good job!


  38. Jim Kane says:

    Well done!
    Thanks also for sharing the photo it is a wonderful photo!



  39. storydivamg says:

    Lovely tale, Sandra, to accompany your lovely photo. I especially enjoyed all those perfectly timed “coincidences.” I believe everything happens for a reason.

    Marie Gail


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  41. rgayer55 says:

    I’m a person who believes in a higher power. Are barking dogs in a situation like this a coincidence? I think not. A great story, Sandra, and a wonderful photo to work with too. Thank you for both.


  42. atrm61 says:

    Missed you last week but glad you are back with an excellent story ,to boot:-) Those dogs were trained to bark like that or was it just a lucky coincidence?Thank you for the photo prompt-I had no idea it is called hay wagon,lol!


  43. AnnIsikArts says:

    I like the double entendre between the title and those precious heroic rascals – the 2 dogs of course. Ann


  44. Hey Sandra, what a powerful story this is, I absolutely loved the role of the dogs, as well as the line” And the panting dogs of war grinned at no-one in particular, tails thumping happily.” Well done!


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  46. Amy Reese says:

    Such exquisite writing, Sandra. You have me hanging on every word. Thanks for the photo!


  47. Taygibay says:

    For personal reasons, the same as Roach got : 3 thumbs up! 😀 Tay.


  48. R. E. Hunter says:

    Looks like a beautiful area. I once got to spend two weeks working in the Nice area. Very beautiful. I’d love to go back again.


  49. Sun says:

    great story scene…love the idea with the smart dogs. thank you also for the lovely photo this week.


  50. draliman says:

    Clever dogs, great story (and photo)!


  51. Jan Brown says:

    Great picture and a great story ! I love the crucial role that was played by the dogs!


  52. shailajav says:

    Phew, I was holding my breath all through! What a build-up 🙂 Nice!


  53. Thank you for this week’s inspiration, Sandra. I love your story – saved by the bark! 🙂


  54. Nan Falkner says:

    Sandra, great story – enjoyed the prompt too! I enjoy this writing club so much!!!!!!!!!!! You are all so funny and entertaining. Nan


    • Sandra says:

      Thanks Nan, glad you’re enjoying our company. Russell and Perry come with a government health warning – do not drink tea in front of computer whilst reading their offerings. 🙂


  55. sandraconner says:

    Yay for our side!!! Loved this, Sandra. You made it so very real. So many of my family were in WWII and went through these kinds of things that just the thought naturally brought tears — but joy at the end of the story.


  56. Sarah Ann says:

    Such well-trained dogs. The tension builds so well, and the sigh of relief that comes with those wagging tails is so welcome.


  57. solaner says:

    Sandra, I’m not perfectly sure about your “Halt’s maul!”
    Do you mean ‘stop’ to one of the dogs by using a swearword? In my opinion it’s German for “shut up” using a quite simple (workers / uneducated) and vulgar language. It’s considered quite rude and violent.


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