#39 The Devil and God

by Quincy Allen

Rain poured in sheets. Murmurs and whispers of what a fine man Sergeant Wilkes had been slipped past the hissing storm. Lightning split the sky, and a crack of thunder hammered into the jungle.

Private Collins pressed through the soldiers circling a muddy grave like a giant pushes aside trees. Angry curses were cut short as battle-hardened dogs of war turned in protest only to stare into Collins’ chest. None of them thought the Bear—that’s what they called him—would attend this particular burial.

Collins was an angry brawler, full of piss and napalm. He’d gone up and down the enlisted ranks like a yo-yo, busting rules and heads whenever the mood suited him. He was also the best killer among them.

Not a single man had the courage to look up into his steely, gray eyes, and they all dreaded what he might say about the sergeant they’d just planted in foreign soil.

Everyone in the platoon loved Wilkes . . . everyone except Collins. Wilkes had been the one holding Collins’ yo-yo string, and it was no secret the two men hated each other like the Devil hates God.

Collins stepped up, staring down into the mud and water of a shallow, hastily dug grave.

The Lieutenant said nothing. He knew the score. He’d been there when Wilkes leapt on a grenade, saving the lives of two men.

Private Collins knelt before the grave of a man he’d hated for years.

He wept like a child.

10 comments:

Guy Anthony De Marco said...

Excellent job in only 250 words. You nailed the complex together-yet-separate feeling of being a soldier on foreign soil, and finished it with a reminder of one's humanity.

Tonya L De Marco said...

Great job, Quincy!

JT Lawrence said...

Like this, well rounded!

Bruce Roush said...

Powerful in just a few words. Well drawn characters.

Josh Vogt said...

Very well done. Great characterization and atmosphere in such a short bit.

Sam Knight said...

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer and sometimes the line get blurred. Nicely played.

Niki vox said...

Looking upon the artwork provided, I was transported into the world that you captured perfectly! Well done, Quincy!

Julieanna Cryn said...

Fantastic !!

Jade said...

I really like some of your analogies, especially like a giant pushes aside trees. I think that the more common simile "like a child" used at the end can be eliminated to deepen the conclusion. The final stroke of "He wept." is strong enough.

Anonymous said...

I cried. Thank You.