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Short story: <i>The Guardian</i>

I’m the guardian of this place.

When the smell of blood is on the wind I can feel my own blood boil up inside my veins, swelling at my heart, aching and pounding to be let out to join with its blood brothers.

I’ve got to stand here, though, and guard the door. Guardian sounds better than guard, more other worldly, like I’m protecting the secrets of gods. I’m the guardian of this place.

I stand firm, upright, proud, I know what I’m doing here, what my job is, what it smells like. It smells like blood and cordite and shit and piss and earth and rain and sunshine.

It feels like scratchy fatigues and rigid boots. When I stare my eyes out across the landscape, smoke and dirt and screaming, I know my eyes are hard and my mouth is set and and my jaw is clenched and my moustache bristling and I have so much control that my teeth are being ground down to stumps in my sleep and when I lie down I’m like a wooden plank; I could lie down to sleep over a stream and people could use me as a bridge. My whole world is my body and this door. I am the guardian of this place.

Other people here, they cry. They complain. They display weakness. They rebel. They fall down, get sick; bug-sick, flu-sick, home-sick, sad-sick, shot-dead-sick. The range of illnesses here encompass more kinds of sick than I’ve ever seen at home. But my jaw is clenched so tight that no sickness can get in, and any bullet that caught me would have to get passed the muscles that bunch up all over my body. When I smell blood and look out from my door I know what it’s like to have a goal, a purpose, to be part of a bigger picture, even though I only know one thing.

I am the guardian of this place.

This is the result of a thirty minute writing exercise. The only constrictions were the time limit and five randomly selected words from the dictionary. Today the words were: guardian, firm, rebel, mustache, and encompass.

Image courtesy of YourLocalDave.

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