Friday, 3 June 2011

Srebrenica Beyond Tears - A Story

Some time ago, I wrote this flash fiction piece for a competition. A picture prompt of a female face lined with suffering initiated the idea. The picture triggered in my mind - a misinterpretation of the image on my behalf as it turned out - events I could clearly remember reported in the world's press. I read the piece at Verulam Writers' Circle and received their excellent critique, as ever. It clearly required attention and other things took precedence, so on the back burner it went. I do recall thinking at the time that some of VWC's younger members may not have known much if anything about the events I was trying to capture.

In the past week the wheels of history have turned again and one of the 'swaggering beasts' is caged at last.

With thanks to my friends in VWC, in hope that I have done justice to their critical assistance, here is the latest version:

Srebrenica Beyond Tears

When clouds blush the shelling will stop, Anna knows this. Dusk in the valley spoils the gunners' aim. Yet wild beasts still swagger the commanding hills with murder in their hearts, some toting rifles with starlight scopes.

Again the market place contains fresh meat, stuff that once was fathers, husbands and sons. Nothing moves. No sane being would retrieve the dead 'til dark. A loud report says desperation willed one try.

Dry-eyed, alone in a shelter built of faded dreams, Anna surveys her sometime garden in debris that once was home.

Hers is the timeless face of war, a young face aged by fear and a world's indifference to a clash of ideology insignificant in the arc of time.

Of cherished evening primroses a single stem survives. Daylight fades. Her frail blooms open one by one, the colour of sunlight, the hue of hope.

Anna ventures out to wait once more for Fate's next tumble of the dice.

© Oscar Windsor-Smith 2011