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shell shock

Hello all, first time poster here. I went a little sideways with this... it was harder than I expected, had to re-write it three times and I'm still not satisfied with the result. I have trouble with humour, apparently. At one point I even thought it was going to turn out to be a poem, and trust me you're all glad it didn't. My prose may not be fantastic, but my poetry is worse. Anyways, critiques are welcome and all that jazz. Hopefully next week I'll produce something I'm happier with.

Dragon Birth

Three figures on a mountain ledge gathered around a nearly hatching egg. A mother, father and son, about to welcome the newest member of their family.
"Soon," breathed the father, all attention focused on the egg.
"Any moment now," seconded the mother.
There was silence then, except for the crack of the egg and an involuntary gasp from the mother as her new son emerged.
"Is he alright?" whispered the youngest of three figures, the new older brother.
"He's fine," crooned the proud mother.
"Just fine," agreed the father, tail swishing in pride.
"Why does he look so dumb, so out of it?" the new brother asked again.
His mother tsked. "He's just a baby, he's just hatched, be nice." She moved to nose away the broken pieces of egg that still clung to the dazed dragonet, to help him clean himself off.
"He's fine," his father repeated, enraptured by his new son. "You looked the same, not so long ago. It's just a little shell-shock."
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Shell-shock

 Since he'd come back they'd barely known what to do with him. It wasn't that he'd been injured, or at least there was nothing visible to the eye that indicated injury. And the officer hadn't said anything about a hospital stay. But he just sat there. Day after day. Looking at something no-one else could see.

"Shell-shocked".

 One of the grandmothers had looked the word up, from a distant memory of talk of her grandmother's grandfather. Of course back then war had been different. Everyone was really there. Really in the midst of it. Being shelled. Up and over the top, running through the real mud while real bullets hurtled past.

The word was still strangely apt.

 Nowadays war was different. The army was remote. "Just like a game" read the recruitment posters. Which just made it even worse. Even more of a shock. When the armour failed. When it became about being really there, running through the real mud while real bullets hurtled past.

It was just the emphasis that had changed.

 Once, once he'd been the life and soul of the party. Once he'd been the man everyone wanted to know. But now he was but a shell of a man. To all outward appearances he was still there, still the same, but inside something had totally and irrevocably broken.

No longer shock caused by shells, but shells caused by shock.
Alora

Shell-Shock (critiques welcome)

Unhappy Few

I was met with a reassuring smile
that no one is ever reassured by,
a sort of leering lie from my superior.
This man with a mixed personality
— part rigid part patronizing patriarch —
showed me where to put my bags down,
my pictures of people and my clothes in tow.
He shook my hand and walked away.
He must have done the same for
how many other men, and how many
did he ever seen again?
I looked around later to see myself
reflected in other men, our faces the same
our bodies blending in the cold sterile ready-room
as we waited for orders.
They came; we went.

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Miss Smoking

Topic

As of 2/16/07
Shell-shock


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