Monday March 14th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the warrior.

Worked the 4 to 9 closing shift at the community centre again this evening. I'll be doing that everyday this week, except for Thursday (Kat has two appointments in Penticton that day and I wouldn't have been able to get back in time to do that shift). Pretty nice to get some steady work right before baby arrives.

Going to have to set my alarm for tomorrow morning. Max has been 'sleeping in' since the time change. I might actually get to be the first one out of bed for once!

... yeah, probably not.


His skin tells a thousand tales, each scar a memory. He knows them all, remembers them all. Do not ask to hear any of them, for he will not share. It is a deeply personal history, these tattoos of war, and he intends to keep them between himself and those who inflicted them upon him.

Every aching muscle is a reminder. He cannot leave the past in the past, for it shadows each step he takes. Though, I must admit, I do not think he would if he could. The lessons born from what was guide him through what is to come.

He knows too much of battle and bloodshed, and too little of peace and harmony. Quiet is unsettling, so he does not seek it. Stillness stinks of death, so he continues forever onward. There will always be more conflict, always men and women in need of his services.

There is a type of peace in knowing one's purpose. He has this, at least. It is enough. It must be enough.

For he will never know any other peace. Even, perhaps, in death. I cannot imagine him being content in his grave.

So I intend to stay far, far away from the burial ground that will one day attempt to contain him.


morganna said...

He's a little fat now
Still has that street fighter swagger
It's a new place but
The old rules still apply
Defend the territory against all comers
Watch out, Snowy
Kojak-cat has come to town.

Greg said...

@Morganna: I had to read it twice before I realised that you're talking about actual cats! I like your word choice – I think it's strong – though I might have put a colon at the end of the fourth line myself. And the scene in my eye is charming, if threatening violence any moment now :)

@Marc: that's a lucky break on the extra-work front! And given that the baby's due shortly I guess you're going to hit an all-time record for not responding to comments too ;-) I think we all understand why though, and the baby's definitely the more important happening.
I think I'm tired, not only did I miss that Morganna's poem was about cats on the first read, I found myself feeling confused about what was happening at the end of your piece as the narrator expressed his own feelings instead of talking about the warrior. I like the incipient threat there though, and I do wonder what the warrior will do if he can't lie quiet in his grave!

The warrior
"Professional warrior. Hmm." The interviewer laid the CV down and regarded the slim young man sitting in the other chair. There was an air of tension about him as though he'd sat down only to get a better position for an intended ambush. The interviewer interpreted this as nerves: many candidates fell apart when the first questions started coming. "That's mercenary, right?"
"No." The young man's lips didn't seem to move, but the word was in the air, light and ghostly like an ex-lover whispering in the interviewer's ears. "Mercenaries fight for the highest bidder. I fight because war is an art-form and I make art."
The interviewer frowned: why weren't the candidate's lips moving? He picked a pen up – his fingers closed on empty air. He looked up, and the young man was holding it like a tiny javelin.
"War," said the young man, his eyes grey and intense, "is a form of ritual worship when it's done properly. It respects the men and women who perform it and they in turn respect Ares. A contract is struck and with every scream, every splash of arterial blood, every collision of steel and flesh, a promise is made and kept. Heroes are made upon the battlefield."
"That's my pen," said the interviewer waspishly. He held his hand out, and the young man reluctantly surrendered it. "How is that relevant?"
"I want to be a QA tester," said the young man simply. The interviewer's face cleared and he set the pen back down.
"Now I understand," he said, and a genuine smiled spread across his face and revealed rotten teeth. "Tell me more."

Marc said...

Morganna - I quite like what you've done with this prompt. I would be happy to hear more about this warrior cat :)

Greg - yup, pretty sure this qualifies as an all-time low in the comment responding department. At least I'm starting to make a dent in the backlog now...

Really like this scene. I was surprised the young man gave the pen back, but I think in the end it made sense. Also: I would hate to work in a QA department that would actually hire this guy. Though I think I would also prefer that no competitors hired him either!