Memory is a deadly disease; it is my cancer of the soul. It gnaws away at my heart, a constant pain that kills me every day just a little bit more, replacing living with a darkness that overshadows each moment. In this darkness I can’t get the sense that anything is important at all, neither life, nor death, nor pain. I yearn for the restful embrace of slumber, to be able to sleep just one night without the sound of pitiful voice drenching me in cold chills.

I look outside the window waiting for dawn to come and bring the world alive again, to remind my desolate heart that there is hope yet, that out there is a whole planet of sentient beings that live and love and laugh and grow. I wait for dawn to shed my world of its mourning black and dress it in the colours of sunshine again.

But for now all I have is this starless sky. Even the moon is not shining tonight, as if she too lay frightened, quivering, taking refuge behind unseen clouds. The vice on my heart keeps squeezing, unrelenting, and all that my heart can do is beat warm blood around my veins in a hope that the storm will eventually end.


The intelligence had been solid, the coordinates correct, our planning and execution meticulous, yet everything went so very wrong. The bastards had thrust guns in the hands of boys and left them as sitting ducks. I knew the moment the firing started. Those were not the screams of men. But there was nothing to be done. The target had moved on. We had to move on. That’s what I kept telling myself. We had to move on. There is always collateral.

And now the screams just won’t stop.

Written for Michelle’s Photo-Fiction #88

6 thoughts on “Collateral

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