Connecting the Past and the Present

Turns out that the recent stuff I’ve been posting is a part of a short story I might be writing for grad school applications. I’m still up in the air between two very different ideas. The story I’m writing now is very similar to David Foster Wallace’s style of interconnecting story lines. The story I’m writing has to be 25 pages and right now, I’m at around 18. I stupidly didn’t write an outline, but I have a general idea of how I want the story to be read. I’m playing with dialogue, the past and present, multiple story lines, and internal conflict. It’s very ambitious from my point of view and I have a feeling I might be doing too much with such a limited amount of space, so I have to try to find the balance between passages and somehow let what isn’t being spoken tell the story (like in hint fiction). This small passage goes back and forth between one of the main character’s past and present. Let me know what you guys think. This is an unedited, work in progress, so go easy.

 

“Covering fire!” can be heard off in the distance, so Franklin instinctually finds the source. Bullets from overhead rooftops rain down on him, forcing him to slalom between cement pillars.

“Franklin! Rooftop! Ten O’Clock!”

Franklin thought that was where he was supposed to fire, but the Afghani fighter had an RPG zeroed in on his position.

“Through the window!”

The RPG fires and Franklin sees the rocket coming straight for him. It’s half way across the plaza and Franklin turns around, jumps through the closed window behind him, and runs as fast as he can to the back wall, taking cover behind a counter. He hears the explosion, but it didn’t hit the building. RPG’s are known for their inaccuracy. They’re cheaply made and can do significant damage if the rocket stays on target.

The silence that comes from shock after possibly killing a large group of people fades and screams from the wounded are faint, but distinct.

“Medic!” screams someone.

“Momma!” yells another.

Franklin tries to run over but the enemy knows his position. In waves, bullets rain into the building. He notices the sounds of gunfire, similar to his, coming from across the street. There are definitely casualties, but Franklin knows he has to get to them. The military didn’t even have to tell him to never leave a soldier behind; it’s been implanted in his mind starting at a very young age. Franklin remembers these moments as either grenades or mortar rounds explode in the street. The familiar gunfire is becoming less frequent, but the yells for help are starting to pick up.

 

When Franklin was little, he and his buddies would have rock wars with the older kids from the neighborhood. It was incredibly unfair, as well as dangerous. They started in the park and gravitated to Franklin’s backyard, which was also next to the park. His parents were never home, so they didn’t get to see the carnage take place; only the after effects. Anyways, the older kids, who were much stronger, would find baseball-sized rocks and use those instead of the conventional (and more abundant) pebbles found on the playground. The older and Franklin came to a truce in an earlier battle saying that if they’re going to throw rocks that could potentially kill them, they need some kind of cover. The slides were perfect, even though they left the legs exposed.

The little pebbles were good for laying covering fire. Franklin watched the military channel with his father on a daily basis, so he always took command.

“Andy! Tommy! Get behind the playground and start throwing the rocks as high as you can at ‘em.”

“Why?”

“’Cause I asked you to.”

“…”

“No, they need to be distracted. Jay, get the secret stash ready. When they’re not looking, aim for in between the eyes.”

 

Franklin wakes up from an apparent explosion, covered in dust and debris, confused and unable to hear anything except an unremitting ringing in his ears. He pats his extremities, making sure they’re all in place, and they are, so he runs through the hole the RPG created, covered by the cloud of dust, and reaches the site of the first explosion.

Limbs are scattered across the ground. Bodies lay in pools of blood. There are soldiers who are still breathing, but too far into shock to actually respond to or acknowledge Franklin’s presence. This was Franklin’s first taste of war. The sulfur from the blast lingers on his tongue with each breath he takes when he ran through the smoke providing cover. He reaches the bends down to put pressure on a leg wound of a fallen soldier, but he doesn’t recognize the severity of it, and blood squirts in his face. He throws up almost immediately, but regains his composure and applies a tourniquet to the mangled leg.

 

“Now!” yells Franklin.

Wave after wave of tiny pebbles cloud the sky and rain down on their enemy. Some are distracted and inevitably get hit in the face, causing screams from shock, rather than pain, due to the fact that the pebbles were the size of marbles. Franklin sneaks around with a baseball-sized chunk of concrete he found earlier in the street, and closes in on his target: unknown to Franklin, but actively making his presence known to them by kicking this shit out of anyone in his path. The target sees Franklin standing alone, and charges.

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