Friday Essay – Doodles (a very short story)

The follow short story took me only a few hours to write.  In fact, I was surprised when I discovered I had finished it, but there was no more story to tell when I got to that point.   A couple of warnings are necessary before I continue.  First, to my American friends (and other Americans who might read this) I love you and this is a work of speculative fiction.  Second, this story is violent and has bad words in it.  Still, I’d like for you to read it and let me know what you think.

Female Combatants

“I’ve given birth to three children,” she spat through the blood, “Why do you think I’m the sergeant of this platoon?!”

Her torturer hovered just beyond her line of sight.  Though she could never get a good look with the lights in her face.  She was pretty sure this was day two in the torture chamber, but it might be three.  She knew she’d been in isolation for four days because there had been a tiny, dirty window near the ceiling of the cell they’d kept her in.  The building had been a primary school.  She chuckled, blood gurgling in the back of her throat, as she thought about how that had been the Yanks’ biggest mistake.  She got a slap across the face for her chuckle.  She didn’t care.  Once the Yanks broke the ranks south of town they had set up operations in the public buildings.  The actual city jail held their most dangerous prisoners: Major Selanger, the brigade commander; most staff of the news outlets; town councillors.  Non-combatants, men and children, were interned in the secondary school.  The soldiers who were unlucky enough not to make it to the woods and hills were in the primary school.  Maybe the Doodles believed torturing soldiers in their children’s school would be demoralizing. More likely the Yanks just found it the easiest to convert to cells and torture chambers.  Of course, the irony was that being tortured in the same room she had last year’s Parent-Teacher Interview gave her strength.  The stupid Doodles hadn’t even taken down the posters or artwork – she could still see the last lesson outline on the chalkboard.  The art on the walls belonged to her youngest daughter, her nephew and the children of friends.  She never saw her torturer, but she had seen the art before the bare bulbs blinded her.  Their images were burned into her retinas, even now she could see the happy crayon families.  Stupid Doodles.  This is why the women led the armies here.  Women gave birth, kept their families fed and protected.  The Yanks would never understand.  Their men fought for the blood lust, for the glory, for their flag.  These women fought for their homes, their families, their children.  No amount of torture, humiliation, deprivation, could break them.  The Doodles were pushing north now, but she knew the strength of the resistance in the hills and woods.  Supply lines were well north of the border.  The resistance would be well stocked within the week.  She knew weapons, rations and reinforcements were on the way.  She hoped to be alive when they arrived.  She hoped she had the strength to fight when they came.  If not, she would be satisfied knowing she died without giving them up.

“Fuck you, bastard!” She growled as another tooth fell to the floor.  The cigarette ember burned her cheek.  She just smiled and filled her mind with happy crayon families.

Thanks for reading!

Be Lovely to Each Other,