DAGGER

DAGGER

A Story by Sachi Ruaya
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Keith is deployed on an operation in WW1. He’s love for writing and his love for his family members become toxic and his two fellow soldiers became victim to a grenade. As the only one uninjured du...

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Abstract

    

    

    

 

 


 


DAGGER

Brothers…

By Sachi Ruaya

Sitting by a camouflage tent to tend to my blistered feet, slipping off the army boots to change my socks. I am on noon-watch as my two fellow soldiers rest inside the tent. My heart leaps. A perfect time to write home! I hastily search one of my bags, ignoring the slicing pain on my torso, to attend to my notebook. Finding a small bubble of peace in this land that has shed much blood made me feel such heartening luck. The evening breeze softly kisses my grimly cheeks and the whiff of dry woodland makes its way to my nose as I write away.

My foolish greed for peace on a battlefield has paid off. As a literary soldier, greedily writing home ignoring his surroundings presents me karma. Bzzt! Blinding light seeps into my eyes following a small though deafening explosion, “Tommy!” I yell, dropping my journal, speeding inside the tent. I see Tommy and Edward laying on the back of the tent to attempt to escape the fate of a grenade. “What’s hurt?” I rush over to Edward to check on his bleeding forehead, a deep cut. His rusty-brown hair being drowned in red. I glance at Tommy’s flesh eaten leg and headed out to check for any nearby opposition. Shock. The smell of the grenade was no other but ours. Behind I heard a curse from Edward. As for now, I ignored the fact that the grenade could possibility be ours.

Instinctively, I start my plan to head to the nearest medic. It will take too long for me to navigate outwards, away from the woods, to bother a medic. Too inconvenient! I thought to myself. “Oi, Tommy!” I slip back on my boots, “After you finish tending Edward and yourself we’re heading around 1 kilometre South-West to the nearest medic. Don’t bring any rifles though! I’ll get both of youse to lean on me.” A slight smile is painted on my face as I remember my two younger brothers back home who all I could wish is to see them again.

Focusing on the sound of our boots scuffling the blanket of leaves covering the bloody soil, we head South-West, already halfway. Dusk arrives, Edward mutters prayers on my right and Tommy limping on my left. “Keith…just leave me. I won’t make it anyway. I’ve lost too much blood. ‘Doubt that doc can help it.” I pretend not to have heard Edward, “I have two younger brothers,” A minute of untamed silence falls between us, “Their names are Jaidyn and Kobey.” I continue, “Jaidyn has an injury inflicted by a baseball bat during training. His larynx is now not functioning properly, causing him to be mute.

“As for Kobey, he suffered a severe concussion from a street brawl-” I decide to save my energy and place the full force onto bringing them to the medic, hoping it would give Edward a peace of mind. To think I can relate Tommy’s quiet personality to Jaidyn’s and Edward’s situation to Kobey’s made me shed a tear. A lone saltwater crystal running down my hardened flesh…I have become too attached. After zoning out, I start to pay attention my surroundings. Unexplainable apprehension rises within my chest but thus again, shook it off. I inhale the dewy breeze and listen to the native birds sing whilst I gaze onto the horizon. I tighten my grip on Tommy’s shoulder and shove Edward up, so his head rests just before my jaw and sped my pace.

 

Kicking the bushes aside, the medic finishes tending another medic and rushes towards us, placing Tommy on a vacant bench and Edward �"who is on the brim of losing his consciousness- on the ground padded with a piece of cloth.  I scan around the tent, again instinctively due to training. Something seems off…Without orders, I exit the woods onto the clay landscape -a battlefield- leaving my belongings back at the tent. Feeling unusually light, my had frantically search my suit. My rifle! I make my way back to the medical tent with dispatch only to hear the bitter song of four gunshots slicing through my ear.

 

Looking down at the two lifeless bodies, the stench of blood lingers within the stale scene. The flesh on Edward’s left cheek has been ripped outwards showing the teeth with two gunshots on the forehead in which are close contact with each other. It is almost certain Edward was attacked with a dagger before being shot. Looking over to my right, Tommy’s body is slouched on the floor, his head resting on a bench. Thickened blood continues to ooze out of his leg. With my calloused fingertips, I close Edward’s death liven eyes to attend to Tommy’s body. One shot behind his right ear and one on his upper-torso. I knew that wouldn’t have killed him. Any hitman knows that if you’d want to kill someone by shooting them twice in the head to ensure that the bullets get through the armour-like skull. Which he or she did quite well in Edward’s case. And as for Tommy? He must have put up a good fight meaning Edward was definitely attacked first. I place my ear closer to Tommy as I relax my stiff back as I feel the taint puffs of his breaths patter on my ears. “Hey…

“Time to use that voice of mine, eh?” he lets out a dry chuckle, his voice soothing but strained, I cuff my hand onto his bloodstained lips. “Shhhhhh…” My eyes waver down to Tommy’s right arm which slowly lifts as he points over my shoulder, “K-Keith…” Stunned, I look over my shoulder in distress �"heart racing. The pain came before the sound. A burning piercing sensation shoots upward from the top of my collar-bone. “Arghhh…f**k!” My wails resonate throughout the tent and beyond. Grrr…Gushes of scarlet liquid run to my clothes. I feel the tickling, oozing blood dribble out of the wound, feeling sticky once it reaches my chest releasing the familiar scent of metallic salt. Minimising any movement from my neck, I glare back at Tommy. His sullen lips morph into a diabolical grin as his blue marble eyes gape. I cuss, “Tommy you-” before I could finish my sentence the dagger digs deeper into my dyed flesh reaching closer and closer to the end of me.

                 

 

                  

 

© 2018 Sachi Ruaya


Author's Note

Sachi Ruaya
Not really edited...so may catch some incorrectly structured sentences...

Anyway...enjoy! I'm back guys!

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This is presented as a chronicle of events, recited by someone unknown, for unknown purpose. As such it may be accurate, but the presentation is fact-based, and informational. That's a problem because the reader comes to us to be entertained. They don't want to know facts—especially facts that lack context as they're read.

For example, you open with someone unknown telling the reader that they're sitting by a camouflage tent. Does the reader know what a camouflage tent is? I don't—not in the context of this story, because as worded it could be a tent camouflaging something or one printed with unknown patterns. But you go to the trouble of telling the reader what KIND of tent it is before you place them in time and space. So the kind of tent must matter. But would the story really change had they all just been sitting together, resting? No. So why does the KIND of tent matter enough to mention? Without context the reader is lost. You have intent guiding you as you read, but intent never makes it to the page.

Clarifying later—even in the next line—helps not at all because you can't retroactively remove confusion, or a bad first impression. You know what's going on, of course, but telling the story in overview, as a narrator who already knows the situation causes you to automatically fill in the blanks as you read, which is something your reader can't do. For you, the words point to the images you held in your mind as you wrote them. But for the reader, the words point to the images you held in YOUR mind as you wrote them. And since you're not there to ask as it's read...

When you say, "My heart leaps," and then explain that it's a good time to write, you place effect, the excitement, before the reason, a chance to write. In addition, because the reader has no idea of who this person is, or who they might write to, such great excitement has no known cause. And why would a reader care that someone they know nothing about is excited for unknown reasons? You know, of course, and have context. So again, your knowledge provides context the reader lacks. But if, instead of reporting, you were in the viewpoint of the protagonist, experiencing his emotion, it might have read, "A chance to write to my love." And with that coming first, the excitement would make sense. In writing fiction, context isn't just important, it's everything.

You take the time to mention that this person has blistered feet so it must matter to the story. But we don't know how they became so, and he never seems bothered by them after that, so the time it took the read about it was wasted. Have you ever tried to walk on blistered feet? Remember, you didn't say he had "a" blister, or tired feet. You said his feet were "blistered."

I see that you're trying for stream of consciousness, but to make that work the reader needs context, which you don't provide.

I also have a serious problem with the attack. Our protagonist is sitting upright when a grenade goes off nearby. Nothing in that sequence tracks:

• You say the light "seeps" intro the eyes. Seep means to trickle. but the flash of an explosion is instant.

• You call the explosion small but deafening. To the one experiencing it, anything deafening isn't small.

You cannot tell the story as an outside observer, relating things on a general scale. Any story is told in the viewpoint of the one living it in real time. And when enduring a grenade explosion it definitely seizes your attention.

• You suggest an impossible situation: The protagonist sees the flash which means being in the direct line of the spray of death a grenade tosses. Yet the protagonist, who-is-sitting-upright—the perfect target—is uninjured while people lying flat only inches from him are badly hurt—one of them sure he's bleeding to death. Is it possible? I suppose. But your protagonist doesn't ever react to having been spared injury. Wouldn't you?

• The protagonist makes not the slightest effort to staunch the bleeding, or locate first aid supplies for the ones in pain from the attack. One of the men has "a flesh eaten leg," which sounds like it needs a tourniquet. But he doesn't evaluate the extent of the wound.

• You have Edward mention that he's not going to make it because he's lost too much blood. But as reported, he has only a deep cut on the forehead, so a simple pressure bandage will stop that. Yet it somehow doesn't?

In short, as an external observer, you're focused on plot points (pretending to be the character, narrating the director's cut of a film only you can see, changes the storyteller's viewpoint not at all), and have things happen according to the needs of the plot, and, your dramatic vision. As such if you need someone smart they are. If you need them to miss something their intelligence falls away. And that cannot seem real to a reader. Why? Because you're focused on explaining events, and are leaving out the humanity, the internal reaction, the character's needs, and the immediacy of that. For why that matters so much, and what it can provide for the reader, you might want to take a look at this article:
https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/the-grumpy-writing-coach-8/

The problem isn't a matter of talent or potential, or the story. It's that you're using the nonfiction skills we're given in school to write your story, as almost all off us do when we begin recording our stories. Great for reports and essays, but when used for fiction the result reads like a report or essay.

But that's fixable by adding the specialized knowledge and skills of the fiction writer to your kit. Yes, it does take time to learn and make as automatic and intuitive as our nonfiction skills become after years of use, but that's true of the skills of ANY profession or trade, so it's not a big deal.

Hit the local library's fiction-writing section. And when you do, look for the names, Dwight Swain, Jack Bickham, or Debra Dixon on the cover. Swain is the best I've found, but Dixon is the easiest to read. All of them are gold.

And, as I often suggest, you might want to take a look at the articles in my writing blog, for an overview of the issues our teachers never tell us exist.

But whatever you do...hang in there, and keep on writing.

Jay Greenstein
https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/category/the-craft-of-writing/

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Sachi Ruaya

3 Years Ago

Thank you Jay for your review. I will apply it as much as possible for me to improve.



Reviews

Hey Sachiko
There is a story here that would make for a much better read if you give it more emotion. As of now, it seems like you are commenting on an event, reading out a report of this incident. As you said in your author note, it is not really edited, and I'm sure that if you put yourself to the task, you will see a few typos and errors quite easily, for I know how well you can phrase your ideas :)

Throwing the reader right in the mix of things is fine by me, but the sudden transition from writing a letter as a literary soldier to carrying two wounded soldiers didn't come about as it should have, in my opinion.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Brilliant piece. I love how it simultaneously feels so real and yet so very abstract at the same time. It feels like a game that changes from forst person to third person. The pacing is good too, from slow and descriptive to panicked and staccato. Lovely piece.

Posted 3 Years Ago


This is presented as a chronicle of events, recited by someone unknown, for unknown purpose. As such it may be accurate, but the presentation is fact-based, and informational. That's a problem because the reader comes to us to be entertained. They don't want to know facts—especially facts that lack context as they're read.

For example, you open with someone unknown telling the reader that they're sitting by a camouflage tent. Does the reader know what a camouflage tent is? I don't—not in the context of this story, because as worded it could be a tent camouflaging something or one printed with unknown patterns. But you go to the trouble of telling the reader what KIND of tent it is before you place them in time and space. So the kind of tent must matter. But would the story really change had they all just been sitting together, resting? No. So why does the KIND of tent matter enough to mention? Without context the reader is lost. You have intent guiding you as you read, but intent never makes it to the page.

Clarifying later—even in the next line—helps not at all because you can't retroactively remove confusion, or a bad first impression. You know what's going on, of course, but telling the story in overview, as a narrator who already knows the situation causes you to automatically fill in the blanks as you read, which is something your reader can't do. For you, the words point to the images you held in your mind as you wrote them. But for the reader, the words point to the images you held in YOUR mind as you wrote them. And since you're not there to ask as it's read...

When you say, "My heart leaps," and then explain that it's a good time to write, you place effect, the excitement, before the reason, a chance to write. In addition, because the reader has no idea of who this person is, or who they might write to, such great excitement has no known cause. And why would a reader care that someone they know nothing about is excited for unknown reasons? You know, of course, and have context. So again, your knowledge provides context the reader lacks. But if, instead of reporting, you were in the viewpoint of the protagonist, experiencing his emotion, it might have read, "A chance to write to my love." And with that coming first, the excitement would make sense. In writing fiction, context isn't just important, it's everything.

You take the time to mention that this person has blistered feet so it must matter to the story. But we don't know how they became so, and he never seems bothered by them after that, so the time it took the read about it was wasted. Have you ever tried to walk on blistered feet? Remember, you didn't say he had "a" blister, or tired feet. You said his feet were "blistered."

I see that you're trying for stream of consciousness, but to make that work the reader needs context, which you don't provide.

I also have a serious problem with the attack. Our protagonist is sitting upright when a grenade goes off nearby. Nothing in that sequence tracks:

• You say the light "seeps" intro the eyes. Seep means to trickle. but the flash of an explosion is instant.

• You call the explosion small but deafening. To the one experiencing it, anything deafening isn't small.

You cannot tell the story as an outside observer, relating things on a general scale. Any story is told in the viewpoint of the one living it in real time. And when enduring a grenade explosion it definitely seizes your attention.

• You suggest an impossible situation: The protagonist sees the flash which means being in the direct line of the spray of death a grenade tosses. Yet the protagonist, who-is-sitting-upright—the perfect target—is uninjured while people lying flat only inches from him are badly hurt—one of them sure he's bleeding to death. Is it possible? I suppose. But your protagonist doesn't ever react to having been spared injury. Wouldn't you?

• The protagonist makes not the slightest effort to staunch the bleeding, or locate first aid supplies for the ones in pain from the attack. One of the men has "a flesh eaten leg," which sounds like it needs a tourniquet. But he doesn't evaluate the extent of the wound.

• You have Edward mention that he's not going to make it because he's lost too much blood. But as reported, he has only a deep cut on the forehead, so a simple pressure bandage will stop that. Yet it somehow doesn't?

In short, as an external observer, you're focused on plot points (pretending to be the character, narrating the director's cut of a film only you can see, changes the storyteller's viewpoint not at all), and have things happen according to the needs of the plot, and, your dramatic vision. As such if you need someone smart they are. If you need them to miss something their intelligence falls away. And that cannot seem real to a reader. Why? Because you're focused on explaining events, and are leaving out the humanity, the internal reaction, the character's needs, and the immediacy of that. For why that matters so much, and what it can provide for the reader, you might want to take a look at this article:
https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/the-grumpy-writing-coach-8/

The problem isn't a matter of talent or potential, or the story. It's that you're using the nonfiction skills we're given in school to write your story, as almost all off us do when we begin recording our stories. Great for reports and essays, but when used for fiction the result reads like a report or essay.

But that's fixable by adding the specialized knowledge and skills of the fiction writer to your kit. Yes, it does take time to learn and make as automatic and intuitive as our nonfiction skills become after years of use, but that's true of the skills of ANY profession or trade, so it's not a big deal.

Hit the local library's fiction-writing section. And when you do, look for the names, Dwight Swain, Jack Bickham, or Debra Dixon on the cover. Swain is the best I've found, but Dixon is the easiest to read. All of them are gold.

And, as I often suggest, you might want to take a look at the articles in my writing blog, for an overview of the issues our teachers never tell us exist.

But whatever you do...hang in there, and keep on writing.

Jay Greenstein
https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/category/the-craft-of-writing/

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Sachi Ruaya

3 Years Ago

Thank you Jay for your review. I will apply it as much as possible for me to improve.

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Added on May 4, 2018
Last Updated on May 4, 2018
Tags: WW1, historical, fiction, thriller, mystery, climax, short, mochiko, sachiko, hanzi, font, three, stanze, dark, emotional, poetry, extracts, improvements, inside, beast, the, draft, hope, help

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Sachi Ruaya
Sachi Ruaya

Victoria, Australia



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Also known as Ximeha or Young Lilith. more..

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