War and Peace

Photo: Tony Alter. CC-BY.

The pacifists were out in force, beating up anyone moderately in favour of the war. I stayed at home, locked up safely behind my stout front door. Out of the window I could see a few brave souls passing; holding banners and chanting in support of the government. But the pacifists heard them, found them and clubbed them down.

The news on the radio wasn’t good: peace was breaking out. The enemy was conciliatory; negotiating. And our government was slowly failing; losing the battle to remain belligerent. There was talk of a cease-fire; a settlement; mutual respect for each other’s people and borders. Peace.

Peace: that evil word. Peace: a slow, burning death. It had finally come to it: peace.

I cried.

Through the sound of my own crying, I heard a loud knock on the door. It brought me out of my sad thoughts.

“Who is it?” I shouted, nervously.

“James, it’s me.”

“Mum,” I said, quickly fumbling with the bolts; unclipping the chain; unlocking the door, “what are you doing here? It’s not safe out there.”

“I had to come and see whether you were all right,” she said as she passed inside.

I locked the door and padlock, slid the bolts shut and clipped the chain back on.

“I was worried about you,” she said, with a look of concern on her face. But then her eyes took in the table by the door where my gas mask and tin hat lay. A look of loathing crossed her face.

“You warmonger! You… animal!” she screamed as she launched herself towards me. I tried to dodge her fist but it was too late: her knuckles – tattooed with the word L O V E – flashed towards my eyes.

Peace overcame me.

Categories Fiction

Peter Coomber was once stared at, on a bus, by Windy Miller - one of the stars of the 1960's t.v. programme Camberwick Green. He also loves making strange howling noises on his electric guitar, but hasn't quite mastered the 'putting fingers on the right bit of the fretboard and plucking the right string at the correct time' part of it yet. Pick up his latest book of short stories Painting by Numbers at https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/painting-by-numbers-5.

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