Thursday June 17th, 2010

The exercise:

Today we shall write about: the campaign.

One day of work to go!


The men moved between snow-crusted pines, as silently as their weary feet could manage, their rifles at the ready. With the moon fast approaching full they had been expecting a rare night of rest, but a thick cloud cover had brought with it the concealment they required and so they continued to march. There was no choice – their hunters would be moving as well; stopping while the Americans closed in would be suicide.

No words were exchanged in the whitened darkness - the crunching of their boots against the packed snow beneath their feet was more noise than any of them cared to be making. No sign of pursuit had been spotted for over a week but not a nerve was less frayed for it. They knew too well the price to be paid for lowering their guard. If they had not grown too complacent in the town they had been charged with occupying they might still have had a roof over their heads and a fire to warm themselves by.

Their numbers had been more than halved since they had been deployed into the countryside and they were on the retreat. But there were no thoughts of surrender. No consideration of putting down their guns. Until the order came from the F├╝hrer, they would continue to fight.

The commanding officer, a young Untersturmf├╝hrer who had the misfortune of being the highest ranking survivor, brought his troops to a halt at the edge of a clearing. It was a lonely, exposed three hundred feet to the tree line on the opposite side. They had precious little time to waste on delay and the young man felt the pressure of his men’s nervous backward glances as he studied the terrain.

After only a few seconds of contemplation he signalled for the soldiers to move to the right and they began to follow the edge of the clearing, hoping to find a way north that offered more cover, or at least less time in the open.

On the far side of the clearing the Americans continued to wait for their prey to step into their trap. Another two days would pass before they accepted their targets had slipped past them. Wearily they decamped and returned to their chase, each of them privately hoping this drawn out conflict would be brought to a halt before any more shots were fired.


Greg said...

Hmm, well written and quite gripping. I like the miniature character studies you've got going on in this a lot. And it hints at a continuation!

I'll probably not reach tomorrow's prompt until Sunday as I'm away for part of the weekend, and Sunday's likely to be the first day back with an internet connection.

The campaign

"I have to say, I'm a little surprised," said Dr. Septopus. He was wearing his best suit, with the tailored tentacle-holes and shiny, starched collar, and had put a monocle into his eye for the occasion. "I wouldn't have thought you, of all people, would be working for his campaign. It seems... I don't know, underhand somehow."
"You need a button," said Sylvestra. She picked up a large one and pinned it over Dr. Septopus's breast pocket, obscuring it completely. The slogan on it was the campaign slogan: Oh no you don't!
"Is he paying you?" Dr. Septopus's curiousity had cost him tentacles before now, and all chance of integration with human society, and now, judging by the electric feel in the atmosphere, was likely to cost him some part of his life if he kept questioning her.
"I happen to feel that he should have the chance to implement some of his policies," said Sylvestra, smiling through gritted teeth. "I felt the best way of seeing that happen was to run his campaign for myself."
"I see...." Dr. Septopus didn't see. The incumbent, Mayor Evil, seemed guaranteed to win, despite Sylvestra's best efforts, which made him very suspicious that she was up to something else entirely.
"Where is he, anyway?" he asked, looking around the crowded, sweat-smelling tent.
"On the stump."
"You mean, he's going around drumming up support for his campaign, don't you?"
"Heh, no." Sylvestra giggled girlishly. "The Green Lightbulb insisted that the phrase had to be taken literally, so I had the feet cut off one of his supporters, set Green on the man's shoulders, and sent them off. They're stumping around, literally."
Dr. Septopus pulled at his button, realising that Sylvestra was still up to her old tricks, and discovered that it had somehow fused with his suit and couldn't be removed.
"Oh bless us all," he murmured, wondering where he could hide until it was all over.

Marc said...

I'm glad you liked it and I hope you have a grand time wherever you're off to this weekend :)

I have to admit to laughing at the thought of a suit tailored for tentacle holes.

And that's quite the mental image you've created there - I'm not sure I'll ever think of stumps the same way again.