100 Word Challenge - Required

What follows is offered in response to Velvet Verbosity's 100 Word Challenge. The challenge, this week, is "Required".

100 Word Challenge 

What It Takes

He sat on the edge of his foxhole, the blank stare on his face explained, perhaps, by the blood spatter across his fatigues.  His knuckles were white with his grip on his rifle, held high and close to his chest.

"Are you okay, Marine?"

He slowly looked up at his Lieutenant.

"They're kids, Sir.  These guys don't even shave", his gaze shifting to the bodies laying on the ground in front of his foxhole.

"You did what was required, Marine.  You did what it takes to survive."

"But they're just kids, Sir."

"So are you, Marine."

"No, Sir.  Not anymore."



Britt said...

Wow, just...wow. This is so beautifully written. Hits close to home in a way I'm not in the military, but so many of my loved ones are. I always enjoy reading your work.

PattiKen said...

Good one, Lou.

Tara R. said...

These break my heart every time, knowing that a part of you is in each one.

barbara said...

I look back at the pictures of the "kids" I grew up with - who went off to war as kids, but who came home as "shell-shocked" men. Well done, Lou - and thank you. I am sorry you had to grow up that way, too,

Robyn Greenhouse said...

very powerful, can't even imagine what it would be like to be in this situation.

David Blackstone said...

I liked this. I felt, however, that the point of the piece was spelled out explicitly for the reader instead of having the reader come to it organically. The idea that the Marine has 'grown up' loses some weight by merely being asserted by the character, rather than shown by his actions (i.e., 'show me, don't tell me'). Which, admittedly, is a hard thing to do in only a hundred words. but it's something to think about.

Velvet Verbosity said...

Indeed, as others have said, powerful. I also liked David's suggestions about trying for more show than tell. Not sure how that would be accomplished for this particular piece.

Sad, though, the thought of young men losing their innocence in battle in a way that can never be recovered.