Innocence Lost

Creative Writing Prompt: I want My Legs Back. Picture it & Write February 17, 2013. | ermiliablog.wordpress.com

I was thrown to the ground after loud thud.  As I sit up I try to focus on anything in front of me but can only see a dust cloud. I reach to adjust my helmet.  There is blood on my hand. Suddenly a figure approaches me in what seems like slow motion.

“Are you ok?”

Why is his voice so muffled?  Who is he?  My mind is spinning.  I see the dust behind him slowly clearing.

“PFC Graham, are you ok? Answer me!”

PFC Graham?  What is he saying?  I lay back onto the ground, the hot sun blinding me.  I reach my hand to block the sun from my eyes. Again I notice the blood.  “My God,” I thought.  I’ve been hit.  That thud was an IED.  The mysterious figure is our patrol corpsman Coleman.”

“Holy shit, am I ok?”  I feel my body start shaking as everything starts making sense.  I was on patrol and we were hit.  I hear men yelling all around me. I sit up quickly. I see Marines moving frantically across my vision. I look past Coleman to see Private Elken on his stomach crawling towards me.  Through the caked dust on his face I see his pain. His helmet no longer on his head. At this moment I realize my hearing sounds normal. However, the situation before me is anything but normal.

Earlier we moved out on a morning patrol on the outskirts of Fallujah. As we waited for orders to move out I joke with Elken, a tall white kid from Lawrence, Kansas.  We have been in the Marines together from boot camp through infantry training. Afterwards we both are sent to 2nd Battalion 2nd Marines at Camp Lejeune.  Four months later we’re in the desert of Iraq. Marines before us captured this city after intense battles with the Iraqi Royal Guard.  For the two of us, we are in a combat zone for the first time. Today we both lay on the desert floor.

“Graham dammit, are you ok!”

I look Doc Coleman in the eyes and say yes.  I am a little stiff as I reach for his hand and lifts me to my feet.  I look down and notice my weapon on the ground with blood on the stock.  I feel fine, my vision is normal and my senses have returned.  “Doc, I’m fine.  What about Elken over there?” I say pointing to what is now a group of men around him.  I reach down, grab my weapon and sprint that direction.  I push a couple of Marines aside to reach him. He has two corpsmen attending to him along with our company gunny.  As I look down at him, he is now on his back. His face covered with a mixture of blood and sand.

As if there was only one voice out of the chaos in front of me, I hear “we need to apply a tourniquet to each leg ASAP!”

The gunny turns quickly to Lance Corporal Flemming, the company radio operator and yells “get me a medevac Fleming. Right fucking now!”  He turns back to Elken and says “we’re getting you out of here Marine.  Hang in there dammit!”

My body turn numb as I see Elken’s legs are gone below the knees.  Everything slows down as if my mind is drugged.  I begin feel a slight pain in my arm that I hadn’t felt before. I try to make sense of the scene in front of me. How can this be? I stare at Elken’s face.  Does he see me? Does he understand the extent of his injuries? What is he feeling?

“Get the hell back everybody, get organized with your squads!  We have this handled'” Gunny instructs the bystanders.

My mind hears his instructions but my body doesn’t move.  My eyes move between Elken’s face and the corpsman working on his legs. I want to say something to my friend but words never escape my mouth.

“Graham, get the fuck away,” someone yells to me.  I feel a hand grab my flack jacket and pull me backwards.  I turn and take a few steps forward.  I am again in front of Corpsman Coleman.

“Let me see your arm Graham, I see you are wounded.  Move your arm for me.”

“Doc man.  Elken, he’s hurt man, what the fuck!  What’s happening Doc?”

“He’s being taken care of.  They’ll get him outta here.  He’s fucked up man but he’ll live.”

Live.  What is living for Elken now?  What is living for any of us now?

As the corpsman tends to my shrapnel wound I can’t get the sight of Elken on the ground out of my mind.  This is crazy. The suddenly realization of combat is numbing.  There was no speech or manual to explain the horror of this morning.  I can’t stop thinking why am I here as I am lead to a field ambulance. Soon I will be in the safety of our makeshift base a few miles away.  The numbness doesn’t escape me as we ride away from the morning patrol.  I say nothing as my wound is cleaned and bandaged.  I think of my parents back on our farm in Iowa.  I hear the sounds of birds in the morning and the cows mooing in the background. It all seems surreal to me.

After we arrive on base I walk into the medical tent with Coleman.  I sit on the examining table waiting to be seen by a doctor. I understand the magnitude of this morning.  Of combat. Of me in combat.  It is nothing you can imagine it to be and much worse that I could have envisioned.

I will live with that vision of my first combat action forever. After nearly a year together Elken and I will be seperated.  I begin to cry as I realize that he is going to leave this country without his legs.  His life altered forever.  In an instant.  In a country far away.

I will eventually leave also, but without my innocence. I am forever changed.

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This is a work of fiction.  It was written for Picture it & Write

I urge people to join in, comment with your paragraph of fiction to accompany the image. It doesn’t have to follow my story or reflect the same themes. It can be a poem or in a different language (provide a translation please). Anyone who wants to join in, is welcome. This photograph will be reblogged under Ermisenda on tumblr and added to the Picture it & Write gallery on Facebook and Pintrest.

They Never Open the Gate

They Never Open the Gate

I feel all alone

in a world of millions.

I stand in clear view

yet no one sees me.

I would cry 

but no one would feel.

I would laugh 

but no one would hear.

I would touch

but no one is near.

I yearn for attention

but everyone walks past me.

Their tracks lead to beauty

that lies beyond me.

They never open the gate

to view the beauty within me.

This was written for THE MAG 156.

Magpie Tales

Daily Prompt: Far from Normal

Many of us think of our lives as boringly normal, while others live the high life. Take a step back, and take a look at your life as an outsider might. Now, tell us at least six unique, exciting, or just plain odd things about yourself.

via Daily Prompt: Far From Normal.

1.  I was born and raised Cajun but without a French last name thus making it difficult to make others believe I am really Cajun.  Plus I don’t have much of a Cajun accent. And yes I like crawfish but I don’t suck da heads! 

2.  I am a lifetime underachiever professionally that struggles daily to make sense of this crazy life.

3.  I was supposed  to be an aggressive 6’3″ 255 lb football player until the big man decided that wasn’t in the cards for me and made me 5’6″ 130.  I am still upset about not playing football in high school due to my size.  Some day I will get over it.  Maybe.  NOT.

4. I want to write an academy award-winning screenplay with some substance.  One that tackles a difficult subject in a way that hasn’t been done before.  And before Morgan Freeman leaves this earth so he can be my narrator.

5. I want to touch people’s lives with words.

6. When I find a song I enjoy, I can listen to it and it only for days and days!  Right now it’s No More I Love You’s by Annie Lennox and Pictures of You by The Cure.

Till we meet again.  Good Day.

Mind of Shoo 

Their Sacrifice

Photo courtesy of fallenheroproject.org

They know no fear

They fear no challenge.

They challenge one another.

Another day of surviving.

They survive the elements.

The elements are demanding.

They demand your all.

Your all for a friend.

A friend now for life.

A life they defend.

They defend our freedom.

The freedom we cherish.

Let us cherish them.

They are our armed services.

Serving our nation.

Nation, please remember their sacrifice.

This was written for yeah write #96 Moonshine Grid

Too Long

We go through life not knowing those we once knew.

I hadn’t seen you in what feels like light years.

Now you are gone.

So sad.

Why did you leave us so soon?

In memory of my cousin Faye.

This was written for Trifextra: Week fifty-five.

For this weekend’s challenge we’re asking you to include some hyperbole in your piece.  It doesn’t have to be the whole piece, but it needs to be in there, and we’re looking for 33 words, as usual.

The Meadowlark

I threw it on the ground and burst into tears.  The stock broke as it hit the ground. I kicked it out of my way then ran across the pasture to the barbed wire fence.  I crawled under the bottom strand then slipped into the back door of the farmhouse.  I walked briskly to my room hoping mama wouldn’t notice me crying.  I lay on the bed face down on the pillow sobbing for what seemed like hours.

My daddy had given me this pellet gun in March as a gift for my birthday.  Now that summer had arrived I had plenty of time to shoot things around the farm.  Everything was fair game in my young eyes despite being told by my father that we only kill for eating and nothing else.  I did not adhere to that rule.  I killed everything that moved.  From rats to snakes as well as birds.  Today though, I would do something that hurt my eight year old heart.  I killed a meadowlark.

I had killed many birds before this meadowlark.  However, in this instance I took the freshly killed corpse and placed it on the top of a fence post next to a dead tree and walked away. Soon I returned to the pasture, walking toward the post.  As I approached I noticed another meadowlark perched on a branch above.  I stopped in my tracks and just stared.  The meadowlark was motionless, its yellow so bright under the beautiful blue sky. “Was this bird a partner of the dead one?” I thought. “Birds don’t have feelings do they?”  It seemed expressionless, taking glances at the dead bird on the post below.

That sight of the meadowlark just broke my heart. It was as if it was waiting for its companion to awaken from its sleep. I knew he never would.  The bird didn’t.  

Still sobbing I heard a knock on the door.  I look back at my door. The hand made poster of stars and hearts given to me by my little sister disappears as my father opens it.  He walked into my room and ask what was wrong.  I looked at him and through tears asked, “Daddy, do birds have feeling?”  I explained what I had been doing since he gave me the pellet gun.  I told him about the meadowlark I had killed and its visitor.  

Through his disappointment he explained that no scientific evidence showed that wild birds have the same feeling of loss as we do. “They don’t feel love thus can’t feel loss,” he said.

He emphasized that we don’t kill in nature just for fun.  Like our ancestors, we only kill game to eat.

“I won’t kill any living thing again daddy.”

I had learned my lesson. I never shot another living creature.  After repairing my little gun, I turned to shooting beer cans and glass bottles.  Nothing more.  Now in my teens, I still find myself analyzing that experience.  I don’t know the relationship between those two birds or if it was a chance landing that I spotted. Whether that meadowlark could feel a loss or not, I certainly did.

This is fiction written for the speak easy at yeah write #96.

Reaching for Life

copyright-David Stewart

“Don’t let go” I yell. I reach frantically for a branch on the side of the raging river. The power of the moving water is strong as I reach desperately. So many thoughts running through my mind.  How did the car end up in the river? Which friend is holding my leg?  My parents will be devastated if I drown.  It’s taking every ounce of strength in my six-foot frame to keep my balance.  Between the person hanging on my leg and the force of moving water I am nearly drained of all hope.  Just another inch!  One last lunge.

This is fiction written for FRIDAY FICTIONEERS

THE CHALLENGE:

Write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and end. (No one will be ostracized for going over or under the word count.)

THE KEY:

Make every word count.

Join the fun!

Shattered Images

Joseph finishes his writing for the evening. He places his pen down gently next to the paper as he takes a last sip of wine. He rises from the chair and takes a seat on his couch. “Time to relax and forget about the evening” he thinks.  Time to enjoy being. He then looks up and places headphones on his ears and turns on his iPod. The Cure’s “Picture of You” will play over and over again. Now time for his daily fix, a necessary evil that haunts his every being. He tightens the rubber band on his arm, exposing his vein for easy injection. He grabs the eight ball off his coffee table ready for injection.  A quick poke of his needle and the deed is done. Minutes pass and Joseph’s body falls onto the couch in somewhat of a fetal position. His eyes affix upon a half filled glass of wine on his table.  The background slowly becomes a blurry glow of colorful lights.  Is this real or just his imagination?  The music at this moment is so clear, as if the singer is directing the lyrics directly o him.

“So delicate lost in the cold You were always so lost in the dark.”

He tries to focus on the blurry colors in his line of vision but it’s not working.  It is as if these are the only lights in the room. He feels his body begins to shiver as if he were cold yet finds himself sweating profusely.  “What is going on?” He can’t tear his eyes away from the glass.  The colors behind it are haunting him.  Why can’t he make them clear. He hears more lyrics from the song.


“If I had only thought of the right words I could have held on to your heart”

He thinks of what he wrote just a few minutes earlier. The words on the paper next to the glass still in his view.  The colors behind it still won’t go away.  The letter is dark.  A few hours before there was a second glass of wine along with his. Now that one lay shattered next to the front door of his studio apartment.  Wine slowly running down from where the glass impacted.  He stares at that image momentarily. It reminds him of blood from a horror movie.  His eyes shift back to the wine glass.  Alone on the table.  Alone.  Like he is at this very moment.  Music blaring into his ears.  His mind memorised by the colors behind that glass.

“There was nothing in the world that I ever wanted more Than to feel you deep in my heart”

Everything begins to become blurry as he hears one last line of this song.  The music slowly fades and the room becomes totally dark.  He lay motionless.  The photo of the female who earlier walked out the door lay on the floor next to the couch.  She now gone from his life.  Now life has gone from him.  

“There is nothing in the world that I ever wanted more Than to never feel the breaking apart, my pictures of you.”

This is a work of fiction, written for:

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This was written for Picture it & Write

I urge people to join in, comment with your paragraph of fiction to accompany the image. It doesn’t have to follow my story or reflect the same themes. It can be a poem or in a different language (provide a translation please). Anyone who wants to join in, is welcome. This photograph will be reblogged under Ermisenda on tumblr and added to the Picture it & Write gallery on Facebook and Pintrest.

Daily Prompt: All About Me MIND OF SHOO

This was written for the Daily Prompt; All About Me

Explain why you chose your blog’s title and what it means to you.

I have been surprised at the number of people who have asked me about the title of my blog.  So this is as good of time as any to explain what it means.  It is actually pretty simple.  

“Legend” has it that I was born premature and that I weighted less than five pounds.  I was so small that someone made the comment that I could fit in a shoe box. My understanding is my mom would hold me and say my poor little shoe shoe. Well, that stuck!  That was what I was called by all my relatives growing up and still to this day.  At school, thankfully, I was known by my real name. Not many of my friends actually ever called me Shoo-Shoo, but from time to time I was ridiculed for the nickname. When I write my nickname I chose to use shoo instead of shoe. My parents are no longer alive to confirm this story. However, many have told me this years ago, including my mom.

So when I stared writing I came up with Mind of Shoo, which basically is that I am writing what is on my mind.  An Adult Child of an Alcoholic Parent is self-explanatory.

That is my story and I am sticking to it.

Till we meet again. Good Day

Mind of Shoo

Daily Prompt: All About Me.

The Cost of Fame

My thoughts on the flight from Los Angeles to New Orleans is solely on being home.  I enjoy the visits to my hometown.  It is great having people who know and care for the real me. Not the me that millions see in movies. I am a working actor. Not a day goes by that I don’t understand how fortunate I am. However, it is so different from what I imagined.

Even if it’s only a few days, I am happy to escape the rapid pace life of Los Angeles.  Agents. Publicist. Managers. Photographers. They don’t know me nor do they care to.  I am not shit to them unless I am making them money!  That is all this city is about.  Money.  I got sick of fame very quickly.  Sure, at first it’s wonderful. You buy into the hype that is Hollywood.  The balance of your bank account.  The nice cars and luxurious homes. Everyone telling you how great you are. That all fades when you realize your life is an act.  You are not you.  You are someone they want you to be.  I miss being me.

At home I don’t dwell on Hollywood. I relish all the family gatherings during my visit.  My family welcomes the real me home.  They hug me with feeling.  They smile when they say great to see you. I don’t feel so alone amongst those who know me best. Sure they are curious about “fame” and I understand.  However, it’s no different from asking cousin Monty about how his accounting firm job is working out. It’s a genuine interest in my career and my path in this life.  It is with family I feel loved.

I know this is my last visit home.  It will be my biggest acting challenge yet. To act happy. I look around the town. I feel the memories flow through me.  How wonderful it is to be a long way from Hollywood. Unfortunately I will return there.  The acting will end.

This is fiction.  It was written for Trifecta Week sixty-four.  Write using the following word:

Please remember:
  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone.  Please join us.