Tales of War - Flash Fiction Stories

Updated on October 15, 2017
CMHypno profile image

Cynthia is an author who has written a series of science fantasy books. She also writes short stories and is busy writing two more novels

Christmas Truce on the Western Front 1914 - First World War
Christmas Truce on the Western Front 1914 - First World War | Source

Writing Flash Fiction

I never used to understand why people wrote flash fiction. I wanted to write novels and short stories. Lengthy tomes with lots of words. Then I joined my local writing group, Watford Writers, who hold a monthly flash fiction competition.

My first entry, surprisingly, was placed and I was hooked. But I had a lot to learn. A maximum word count of 300-350 words means that each word is precious, is chosen with care. My long, rambling sentences needed to be pruned back, the adjectives cut and my verbs be more dynamic. I also realised I had a habit of dropping in to the passive voice.

So here are three of those flash fiction entries. They are all set in times of war and explore different aspects of the struggles, challenges, hardships, successes and heroism faced by the characters.

One was a winner, one was placed and one story did not come anywhere. Can you guess which ones they are?

English Lavender Garden
English Lavender Garden | Source

The Lavender Garden

The scent of crushed lavender filled the summer garden.

Charles pulled his arm tighter around his mother as she sobbed.

Over her head he could see his brother’s body sprawled in the herbaceous border; blood pooled on the dry, cracked soil.

The sight of a body, even Harry’s, no longer shocked him. He noted details to tell the police. Like why use their father’s shotgun when his service revolver was still upstairs? And had he angled the gun under his chin so he could not miss?

Charles knew Alicia visited Harry this morning to return her engagement ring.

His mother tried to blame the girl. Charles knew she was too young to be tied to what his brother was now. A man whose hand shook as he raised his glass, who flinched if a door banged. Someone who screamed in terror every night.

His mother looked up and patted the empty left sleeve pinned to the front of his jacket.

It was him they were all sorry for. The fit young man who had to live his life with one arm. All Harry needed they said was rest.

Too late, Charles realised he was the lucky one. He adapted, got on with life. Harry could not rebuild his shattered mind. They told him to buck up, be a man. His brother only retreated further, trapped in his past.

The light at the end of his tunnel was Alicia. That morning she doused the flame. Harry foundered and was lost.

Charles shivered. If this is what they fought for he wanted no part of it. It was the promised life of peace and security he craved.

Back in the house the doorbell rang. They were here to take his brother’s body away.

Indian Mutiny 1857
Indian Mutiny 1857 | Source

Unsung Hero

Colonel Hetherington called for another brandy.

‘You know Doctor, Captain Murray is quite the rising star; most promising officer I’ve ever had in all my time in India. Rides like a demon, expert shot and popular with the ladies. I’ve got great hopes for him.’

Doctor Mackenzie looked at Murray twirling the Colonel’s lady around the ballroom.

‘Well Colonel,’ he said. ‘I agree he looks the part but, as we both know, until he’s seen action I’d rather reserve my judgement. For my money, young Lieutenant Arnold is the one to watch. Solid, dependable and the men like him.’

The Colonel gave a snort.

‘Can’t agree, Doctor. Fellow’s got no breeding. Didn’t even go to a decent school.’

‘Well Sir, we’ll know soon enough if the native troops refuse the issue of the new cartridges next week.’

The two men ordered more brandy and began talking polo as the regimental band struck up a jolly polka whilst outside the garrison gates India turned restless in its sleep.

Two weeks later, the Mutiny exploded around them. Colonel Hetherington turned to Captain Murray.

‘Take Lieutenant Arnold and six troopers to blow up the magazine before those mutinous dogs get their hands on it!’

Murray paled.

‘Yes Sir.’

The fight to take to take the magazine was savage. Arnold, mortally wounded and the last man standing, looked around for his commanding officer.

He spotted Murray cowering in terror behind a low wall.

Arnold crawled over on his stomach and laid a hand on his shoulder.

‘You go, Sir. Get away. I’ll finish the job.’

‘I only wish Lieutenant Arnold lived to share this moment with you,’ Colonel Hetherington said months later as he pinned the medal to Murray’s chest.

He turned to Dr Mackenzie.

‘I told you he was a good ‘un, now he’s the most celebrated officer in India.’

Sunrise Over the Pyrenees
Sunrise Over the Pyrenees | Source

The Darkest Hour

The shadows lengthened as the moon slipped behind the mountain.

Maren knew it was time to wake the American. The wounded flyer would only get one chance and, if he didn’t get it right, they could both be dead by the time the sun rose.

He reached out and shook the sleeping man’s shoulder, shoving his other hand over his mouth to stop him calling out.

‘Time to go,’ he whispered. ‘The moon’s set. It’s as dark as it’s going to get. You need to keep low and make as little noise as possible. I haven’t seen or heard one of their patrols in a couple of hours, but it doesn’t mean they’re not out there waiting for us to make a move.

Maren took the top off his water bottle and thrust it at the American, who took thirsty mouthfuls.

The young flyer gave the old Basque guide a grateful look as he handed back the bottle.

‘Won’t you come too? Someone tipped the Nazis off, those patrols were waiting for us? It’s too dangerous to stay.’

Maren shook his head.

‘My family is here. If I don’t go back I’m putting them all under suspicion. Besides, Todor is only expecting one package.’

‘How can I thank you for what you’ve done for me? You’ve risked so much?’

‘By not getting caught. The Spanish border is over there by that stand of pine trees. Get beyond the gate and you should be safe.’

A light flashed three times in the trees, the signal Maren was waiting for.

‘You must go now,’ he said pushing the American out of the barn door, watching the young man as he stumbled into the dying night to be swallowed by the darkness.

Do You Agree With War Poll

Do you agree with war?

See results

© 2017 CMHypno


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Hi Linda, it feels strange to be back on Hubpages. Thanks for reading the stories and glad you liked them. You are right about one of the stories but not the other. All will be revealed!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      It's great to read another of your articles, Cynthia. I like all of your flash fiction stories, but my favourite is "Unsung Hero". It's hard for me to answer your question because I think all three stories are good, but if I had to make a guess I'd say that the second story won and the first one placed.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, letterpile.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)