Writing Prompt: 05/31/10

"Your phone rings. When you answer it, you make a startling discovery: the person on the other end is dead. What does he/she say and why are they calling you?"

Write for 15-30 minutes. My response will be posted 6/02/10.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Flash fiction: Calling Home



Mrs. Toah, this is Sergeant Rakir, Dondass Rakir, of the 21st Mobile Infantry Battalion. I can't see or hear you, even though this is vidphone. Golgotha is fourteen hundred light years from Earth, located in the [SECURITY INTERRUPTION] sector, and what you're seeing is a recording that will take sixteen hours to get to you.

Mrs. Toah, the Mobile Infantry regrets to inform you (nice phrase means nothing) that your son, Shtad was (butchered) killed in action (it hurts mama) on Golgotha. The Imperial shock troops from out of [SECURITY INTERRUPTION] hit us from behind. We held [SECURITY INTERRUPTION] for three days without resupply. The goddamn [SECURITY INTERRUPTION] but we had to wait for a lifter to get us out of there.

I want you to know (no i don't shut up!) that Shtad didn't suffer. He was hit by a displacer round while covering (my) our retreat (he was my man my boy shut up!). He died (screaming for you) instantly. There were no final words (mama! where are my legs? mama help me, godhelpme MAMAITHURTSSOMUCH!) but he told me at chow the evening before that he was thinking of you. (why wasn't it me? should havebeen should have beenmeshould havebeenme)

We of the Federation Armed Forces (don't run we never run i was so scared should have beenme) would like to extend our deepest sympathy for your sacrifice (her son my son my boys i left them i ran my boys) to our planet in her hour of greatest need. (left them me should havebeen me) I would like to remind you that our war continues. I promise that Shtad (screamed blood while i ran) did not lay down his life (for anything) in vain.

Unfortunately, [SECURITY INTERRUPTION] was dusted from orbit and his remains are (glowing) not recoverable. We are sorry for your (my) loss, Mrs. Toah. (my boys)




Mr. LaDrom, this is Sergeant Dondass Rakir of the 21st Mobile Infantry Battalion. What you're seeing is a recording that will take sixteen hours to get to you. I can't see you or hear you...


Christopher Rivan

Virgins Slain, Dragons Rescued.
Reasonable rates for all budgets!




  1. And so it goes on like this forever...

  2. Thanks, everyone. I appreciate the comments.

  3. Oh, I like what you did there. An excellent read, this.
    I don't think I've seen you on #fridayflash before, so hello!

  4. This was so wonderfully depicted!

    Truly a very good #fridayflash offering.

  5. That was AMAZING! Excellent use of punctuation to keep everything straight, and the story! I was enthralled from the first sentence.

    I am so glad you joined friday flash.

    (second time I write these comments--not sure if I've posted twice or if I'm having problems commenting here)

  6. Very intense juxtaposition of the official version of events with his internal truths.

    Well done.

  7. I need to search my thesaurus for a word other than 'intense' because its been used, but it is definitely intense. Well done.

  8. Very cool story. Love the style of this one. As others have said, it's intense and powerful.

  9. I choked up a bit. Most successful when it shows glimpses of the actual death. Good job.

  10. Quite eerie. Part really neat movie trailer script, part haunting sadness.

  11. A great read and very intense as others have said. When I saw it was a sci-fi story I was expecting a twist on a modern war tale, the insight into actual events as opposed to the official line really made all the difference. Chilling and not a little saddening.

    I don't think I've seen you posting #fridayflash before, that being the case - welcome to #fridayflash.

  12. Dang! Spooky and dark. Would like to know more.

  13. Thank you very much for the kind words and the welcomes to the #Fridayflash family, everyone. I don't usually like to comment after the fact on a story because I feel that they should stand on their own. However, a couple of people have asked about this one in email and in the comments.

    In my military science fiction I draw from the examples set by Chris Bunch and Robert Heinlein most of the time, with a little John Steakley thrown in for good measure. Heinlein left too much of the reality of war out of "Starship Troopers" and Steakley put too much IN "Armor." Chris Bunch probably walked the best tightrope with Allan Cole in the "Legion" series where the Brass are not usually incompetent so much as overworked and exhausted, and people die in inventive and horrible ways but the war goes on to the end.

    This isn't an indictment of war. Sometimes war is necessary, just as sometimes it's necessary to defend yourself from street crime. It's just a reminder that even in 2355, there's a price for war that someone has to pay.

    I don't want to say too much more because I don't want the perceptions of the story to be colored, but thank you again, everyone.

  14. Not a fan of sci fi at all but the human pain so evident in the bracketed sections grabbed me and hung on for what turned out to be an exhilarating ride.
    Good stuff.

  15. Very cool layout. It required multipe readings, but I think that just enhanced the overall experience (ADD can be a blessing as well as a curse)

  16. Congratulations, by the way, on Five Star Friday.
    Way to go!!!!

  17. What is five star Friday? I hadn't heard of that before.