The Question

Artwork by Phil Burns

A brand new challenge – check it out here: Min Min.
In no more than 250 words write a story inspired by Paint it Black

The Question

The general looks down at the soldiers in the courtyard, bustling about their duties.
A memory flashes through his mind: he is a young soldier in an occupying army based in a tiny country in Africa.
Sitting on a step, he is idly watching a column of ants.
On impulse he lays a finger across their trajectory.
After a moment of confusion, the ants make a detour round the place where his finger lay and continue on their journey.
Eventually a rebel ant steps out of line and braves the original path.
And soon all the others follow.

The general sighs.
So it has been with his life, he thinks.
The call came: Your country needs you.
And he answered.
He has been a good soldier; he has followed orders and he has given orders on this march towards…
Towards what?
His life used to make sense in the great scheme of things, back when he believed he was fighting for freedom from tyranny, for a future for the young and security for the old.
But is the world actually a better place for all the wars?
Or has it really been to make the rich richer and extend their power?
Unlike that ant he can’t choose the original path.
It has lost its meaning.
Is what he is about to do a final act of bravery?
He has no answers.
He simply presses ‘send’ on his email to the field marshal and walks out of his life.


    • Thank you, Linds.
      I enjoyed writing the story because it took a life of its own and moved right away from the idea I was trying to force it into.


    • I hope that’s the case, Liz.
      Thanks for commenting.
      Glad to hear your story is progressing through the other challenges and looking forward to when you’ve time to try out the 250 word format.


    • Thanks, Maggie.
      It’s strange how the plot for a story evolves.
      I had an idea in mind and then the story wandered off in a different direction.
      I’m glad it worked for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I enjoyed your story. Will spare the Readers my predictable assertion as to the effects of war on the world and the people who make it up.
    but, also, sometimes, with some stories, I enjoy the comments with an equal (but, surely, different) enthusiasm.
    ex: “I had an idea in mind and then the story wandered off in a different direction.

    surely that is one of the (sometimes) secret pleasures of writinghood

    Liked by 1 person

    • It certainly is, Clark.
      I knew what I wanted to say and the story refused to stay in the box I’d prepared!
      I’m learning to trust that more.
      Thanks for always being positive and encouraging in your comments.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s