So, Em and I decided to look at the same prompt, and at the same time, write two separate stories. After twenty minutes, this is what we came up with. Enjoy, but don’t be too surprised! ;P
Jason hated bombshells. The crash, the temporary deafness, the foreign curse words, the deaths, all of it. That’s why he hated war, the whole package, every bullet and dried vegetable. He’d wanted to be a chef but…It wasn’t like that was ever going to happen. Now.
Jason hated war.
Okay, so you, as the reader, probably get it now. Officer J. Edward Parker hated war. Felt like he didn’t belong. Felt alone, and cold, and hungry. Felt hated.
He’d never played with plastic green army men or dreamed of shooting people, innocent people, in other countries. Not once. As a child, he preferred to take the animals his dad hunted and the foods his mother bought, and make miracles. A prodigy chef.
But then came this war…The drafting, the catcalls, the plane away from Chattanooga. The tears.
And there was Mindy. They were going to be married…next year. He was 19, a great chef, working at Colliglioni’s Italian place, making good money and good friends. He had everything he’d ever wanted – a good job, a nice girl, warm, home-cooked dinners by his fireplace, his little sweet spaniel propped against his knee, fur silky, ears soft.
But for some reason, the people were dumb enough to elect a dictator that year. Jason didn’t. He voted for the guy in the red suit, the one with the big ideas, non-toleration of foreign invasion, and good vocabulary. Jason didn’t understand everything that guy said, but it sure sounded fancy.
But here he was, alone – in a dark tent, in some dark desert, smelling –
No, he didn’t want to know what it was he was smelling.
How could he be brave, here, fighting in an eastern land he hated, for principles he didn’t believe in? Why hadn’t he worn his glasses that day they reviewed the soldiers, said he was nearsighted, lived with the shame and gone home to see Mindy?
Why. That was the question.
Jason rolled over, hit a stone in under the tent floor, shouted something,* and went to sleep.
Jason awoke, thirsty. It was dark, but that’s how it always was during morning in the Mongolian Desert. He rubbed his eyes and stepped out of his pup tent. The sun barely peeked over the rim of the earth. Jason glared at it. Off in the distance, shiny wooden varnish glared too.
Jason looked both ways and ran.
It seemed to take longer than he’d thought to reach it.
The piano was by a lake. A large lake, round, with Canada geese swimming on it. Jason sighed. He missed those kinds of lakes, the ones with safe drinking water and –
Look, there they came, around the island!
Jason panted, and his running slowed. He was nearing the shining object, and the bright sunlight hurt his eyes.
He tossed off his knapsack.
Then his jacket.
Then his vest.
Finally. There it was, the piano of his dreams. Positioned in the middle of the glorious lake.
Jason unfastened his shoes, and dived in.
The sergeant found Jason E. Parker in the sand, drowned.
Calm Before a Storm
Colonel Daniels slowed to a halt; his troop of soldiers also slowing behind him. His sharp eyes glanced around the wooded area, trying to detect any sign of movement. In precaution, his hand slowly moved towards his gun holster on his belt.
Ever since the week before, Daniels had snuck around everywhere. The year was 1933. He was on a special mission to rescue some captured generals at a secret base on the coast of Japan. Their base was well hidden; it was rumored to be underground. Daniels had been searching, researching, and observing the area all week, and he felt that he was close to a breakthrough that would lead to the rescue of three important generals with crucial information.
Again, Daniels began walking into the next clearing. The leaves and twigs were quietly trampled underneath his thick boots, and the wind made the air chilly. Carefully, Daniels snuck into the clearing and looked around. He started when he saw it. A piano.
For a staggering moment, Daniels simply stared. He assumed that the rest of his troop was doing the exact same thing from behind him.
A voice came from behind. “What is it?” The voice belonged to soldier Jerry Priesting. He was a slightly scatterbrained fellow, who was shockingly fantastic at shooting a gun.
“It’s a piano Priesting. Haven’t you seen one before?” Daniels grunted at the soldier.
“Of course I’ve seen a piano. But what’s it doing here?”
“That’s exactly what we have to find out.” Daniels answered swiftly.
Slowly and cautiously, Daniels approached the instrument. His men stayed behind as he looked it over. The piano was quite beat up and the wood was splintered. Miraculously however, the keys were a stunning pearly white. As he looked the whole thing over, he considered the possibilities. This piano could be the way into the underground base, or it could have been put here as if it were junk. Daniels more so believed in the second option.
He rounded the piano once more and had a sudden idea. Tenderly, his fingers brushed the keys for a moment. He then got into a stance in order to play the one song his mother had taught him, The Battle Hymn of the Republic. The trees, plants, and his men were silent as he played the inspirational melody. When he turned at one point to look at his men, he saw Priesting wipe a tear from his eye.
But then he stopped. They all stopped. The hideous gunshot rang out from the returned silence. And they ran.