As you know, I love to enter various writing competitions and challenges. I recently participated in NYC Midnight’s 250 micro flash fiction challenge. I love NYC Midnight’s challenges because they have specific criteria and are timed which, to me, ups the stakes, and I work great under pressure.
While I didn’t place high enough to move on to the next round of this challenge, I did receive an honorable mention and some excellent feedback from the judges. That is almost as valuable if not more valuable than a prize because it helps me develop my writing skills.
My criteria for this challenge were…
Genre: Historical Fiction
I decided to write about the first-ever night trench raid that occurred in WWI. On February 28th, 1915, 100 men from Canada’s Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry snuck across the area called No Man’s Land between the trenches, near Ypres, Belgium, and destroyed 30 yards of enemy trenches. It was the first trench raid of WWI. Five men were killed. Eleven were wounded. Here is my short story to honor their bravery.
February nights were dark as pitch in the trenches. The icy cold dampness rooted to our bones. An enduring stalemate with the enemy had all but decimated morale. The few of us who dared to hope scribbled our letters home in the sparse light of hidden tallow candles in small tin cans. Direct attacks during business hours had failed miserably. A new and reckless plan emerged.
The smell of burnt corks was the incense for our focused meditation as we smeared their small, charred bodies on our hands and faces to camouflage us in the darkness. Painting our faces like great warriors we’d only heard tales of and hoped to honor with our small courage.
Like mice, we crept out of the trenches, our home away from home — for some of us, our grave. Across that barren waste of No Man’s Land we flew, cloaked in darkness as if death itself gave us its blessing. One hundred men from the great white north swooped into enemy trenches like wraiths, to deal a devasting blow.
Thirty yards of enemy trenches fell under our lionhearted wrath but not without the highest of costs. Five brave souls lost, and eleven wounded would be the price we paid.
The enemy’s shock and disarray would not last long as we hurried back across No Man’s Land like shadows retreating from the dawn’s first light. Cold and bloody, back to the ditch we call home, realizing too late we’d changed the rules of war.
I hope you enjoyed it. Until next time…
One thought on “Night Raid by ATL Doyle”
As a short story writer, I was thoroughly impressed by ATL Doyle’s “Night Raid.” The use of imagery and sensory details transported me straight into the trenches of WWI and the tension of the raid. The focus on the soldiers’ use of camouflage and the high cost of their bravery added depth to the story and made it a powerful and moving tribute to the soldiers’ sacrifice. Bravo, ATL Doyle!
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