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Fiction: The Battle

July 18th, 2013

image by Melen (@Mindcryme)

Master’s decided that a good way to get me back into fiction is to pick a picture from one of our galleries, and tell me to write about it. This is our first attempt at this writing assignment.

I’d was tempted to cop out with this one and do a kink piece. But I’ve been saying for a while that I need to get out of my comfort zone, so here’s me trying to do that. Be gentle. It’s been a while.

Julia looked out over the battlefields, staring out into forever. She heard her mother calling her, but couldn’t tear her eyes away. All those bodies. All those faces. Where were they coming from? There hadn’t been a war here in over two hundred years, and yet here were thousands of twisted, blood covered faces crying out for help.

“Julia, what on Earth are you doing?”

“Huh?” Julia blinked at her mother and almost toppled backwards. She didn’t hear her walk up beside her.

She flicked her eyes back to the field. The massacre that she saw before was gone. Winked out of existence as if it never was. But something told Julia that what she saw was exactly as it was before.

“I was watching the battle. Did you see it?”

“I saw it. You’re going to have to be a little less open about what you see, child. Your father doesn’t like it. It makes him uncomfortable.”

Julia shook her head as if to clear it, then glared at her mom. “I’ll do no such thing. If he doesn’t like our gift, that’s his problem. I think it’s pretty cool. Are we leaving? I’d like to go lay in the grass down there.”

Julia’s mother laughed and sighed at her daughter. “After we eat. Dad’s starved. Then you can lay down there all day, for all we care. We’re going to the reenactment back at the first site. Just be sure to stay somewhere between here and there, or call us if you move so we know where to pick you up.”

The women walked over to the blanket they were sharing with Julia’s father, and sat down to eat.

“So what’s going on that’s so interesting in that field, kiddo?” her dad asked as he ruffled her hair.

“Jesus, Dad, I’m twenty-two. There was a battle down there.”

“Well, yeah. These are the Saratoga Battlefields.” He looked at his wife with question in his eyes. “We did tell her that’s where we were going, right? Julia, did you just get here? Did you miss all the signs?”

Julia laughed at her father’s weak attempt at humor and started gathering her food. “Of course there was a battle here. That’s why these lands are protected. But I mean there was just a battle going on down there. I was distracted.”

Pete glanced sideways at his wife, Marissa, and then back at his daughter. “A battle just now?” He reached out and touched her cheek. “You’re not getting heat exhaustion, are you?”


“Really, Julia? We were having such a nice day.”

“Sorry, Mom. I’ll just tell the dead people to stop showing themselves to me because my dad doesn’t like it. I mean, it’s worked so well for you.”

“Julia, don’t talk to your mother that way.”

“Oh my God, you two. Fine. Whatever. Go enjoy your reenactment. I’ve lost my appetite. I’ll catch up with you later.”

Julia stuffed her plate and all its contents into the bag her mother brought for trash, and jumped to her feet. She stomped off to the old cannon stand, and nearly fell headfirst over the chain used to keep the cannons from shooting across the yard and taking out a few of this side’s soldiers. That’s when she noticed the handsome young man under the stand for the other cannon.

“How long have you been standing there?”

“What? Me? Oh, I don’t know. I imagine just a few minutes, though it feels like a century or more. My girl left me last week, and this was our favorite place, so I came to think.” he glanced over his shoulder at Julia and blushed. “Actually, I was really hoping you wouldn’t notice. But if you saw that battle, I guess it makes sense that you’d see me.”

“You were listening, huh?”

“It’s hard not to. You weren’t that far away, and it’s so quiet out here.”

“True.” Julia looked down at her hands.

“So…dead people, eh?” he grinned this slow, teasing grin that Julia misinterpreted completely.

“It’s true. My mother sees them. Her mother sees them. Her mother’s mother used to see them, but now she is one. God, I sound like one of those cliche movies. This is why I don’t usually tell anyone. I can’t believe we didn’t see you standing here.”

“I’ve been known to blend into the scenery. Didn’t you say you wanted to lay in the field? Don’t let me stop you.”

Julia glanced sideways at the man, and raised an eyebrow. “Are you trying to get me to lay down? Because I assure you, sir, I am a lady.”

The man chuckled and stepped toward her, holding out his hand. “Benjamin Brock, at your service, milady.”

She shook her head at him, unimpressed with his tactics, but found herself laughing anyway. “A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Brock. Kindly get out of here so I can commune with my ghosts.”

“Ah but they’re not your ghosts,” he countered. “For how can one own a human soul?”

“Perhaps you missed the current best seller list? Owning humans is all the rage, now.”

He canted his head to the right and quipped, “Nothing new under the sun, I guess. Tell me, Ms…”


“Just Julia?”

“Yeah, I think the game is over. Just Julia is fine.”

“Well, then, Just Julia, would you kindly tell me the year?”

“The year? What the hell kinda question is that? What year is it? It’s 2013.”

“Of course it is. So why are you seeing battlefields full of living and dead people, and a thirty-year-old man from 1910?”

“I thought you said you heard. Wait. Thirty-year-old man from 1910? When did I see him?”

“You’re talking to him. And I’m not dead.”

“But you saw the battlefield.”

“No, I heard you talking about the battlefield with your parents. I didn’t see anything. I walked out of my house, down the street, and across these fields, and when I got here, I stopped. And then there you were with your mother and father, though I didn’t see you when I walked by.”

Julia stared at him for a moment before starting off just short of a run toward the field where she’d seen the battle.

“Where are you going?”

“To the field.”


Julia ignored him and picked up speed. As she reached the spot where the first wounded man had stood, she noticed the grass looked trampled. As she looked around some more, she found singed spots and blood spatter. Her eyes grew wide and she looked up the hill for Benjamin Brock, but he was gone. She backed away from the battlefield and noticed it was back to normal.

Julia tripped on a rock and landed on her rump. She crossed her legs and stared out into forever. Seeing dead people was one thing, but nothing like this had ever happened before. Who the fuck was Benjamin Brock? And why the hell was he appearing to her at the same time as this battle. And was he really alive?

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