Friday, 29 April 2011

The Note

Velvet Verbosity's 100 Word Challenge - BATHED

His death hit me harder than I'd expected. Never close, we hadn't spoken in years. His inability to love could be summed up by any number of episodes from my childhood. But it wasn't isolated incidents that drove us apart. His detachment had become a constant theme of growing up. Successful at everything he did, he bathed in his own self-importance rather than immerse himself in the duties of fatherhood.

That he had been found hanged, shocked me. That the note they found in his pocket spoke of his failure at the only thing he'd ever cared about, broke me.

Saturday, 23 April 2011


Velvet Verbosity's 100 Word Challenge - DISTANCE

Even on the front line they bring us letters. They keep us sane. As we cower in the trenches, voices of mothers and fathers, wives and girlfriends play in our heads. Shattered faces betray conflicting emotions as each man responds to his own. Smiles for one. Tears for another. Empty, staring eyes for most. Sometimes they bring us a little closer to home. But as minds drift, the twisted, cloying smell of rotting flesh, overflowing latrines and chloride of lime cruelly reminds us that the distance from loved ones hasn't changed at all. And that for many, it never will.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

The Voice

Velvet Verbosity's 100 Word Challenge - IMP

She told me it's often referred to as the 'Imp of the Perverse'. I'd sat in her chair, as I'd done every Tuesday for years, and told her of The Voice. I'd smiled at her description. Perverse, I understood. But I'd always imagined imps as cheeky and playful. Yet The Voice dancing and singing in my head is far from playful. I sit on the floor, my head in my knees, and rock, waiting for it to go. But it's getting louder. I begin to claw at my neck with my fingernails. It tells me that drawing blood is fine.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

That Side

100 Word Challenge - VOICE

I counted five of them. Maybe there were more. Their stale sweat clings stubbornly to my skin. The taste of cheap tobacco still bitter on my lips. Laughter rings cruelly in my ears.

"She is one of them," they'd said, "I saw her with that one."   

There are many like me this side, yet I am alone. The tears stinging my cheeks remind me again of their blows. And now I sit here, shaking with anger. With fear. 

Report them? Ah, but we can't. Not here. Not in Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe, if you're one of them, you have no voice.