Sitting Ducks


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Image of Fall 2020
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We now rest like bugs hanging onto the blades of grasses underneath us, intertwined like we were on our little blanket on the hill. Water soaked through every pore under our backs, seeping into our hair and clothes, a rightful deterrent, but never stopped us. We must have lain for hours just for one feeling, one fleeing feeling falling over us like the early winter breeze we just kept ignoring as we pondered the silence that said all too much about us both. Sitting ducks, all of us, me and you, the bugs in the grass, too scared to move or make the move, each waiting to strike on the first opportunity, out for each other by the bite of an ankle or the swell of a mouth. Maybe we were too scared to say it, even more afraid to hear it, words that spilled out alone on my desk with little spots swollen where I didn’t wipe the drops, you practicing alone in your car before you got here because I just know you. The more inevitable truth is that we already knew, our pretend ignorance not so blissful but preventing the dread of mourning, kidding no one because we already were.

Barely feeling each other, legs crossed and arms woven, hands touching by just the fingerprint, we were unknowing if it was the growing cold or just us driving our touch to numbness. Hours moved on that damp blanket of quiet breathing together, but never in unison, swearing sometimes you’d hear it catch in the throat, swearing when it would catch in your own. Sometimes yours would hitch and I would make mine, too, but your eyes never moved over, and my eyes would fall back to watch the bugs that sometimes stopped breathing, too. Maybe they were grieving for us, or maybe just hungry to jump and bite, but most certainly pensive and scared like we were, a song stuck up inside them like what neither of us were saying. Me, you, the bugs perched all around, paused in wait, a group of little sitting ducks on the hill, all of us killed by every slightest move, perhaps each just as captivated by silence.
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Keith Simmonds · ago
Skilfully related story with a sense of suspense woven into it! Please visit your message box for more details ! Good day I have just read and appreciated your work and have awarded my 5 votes ( voix ). Every participant has a maximum of 5 votes to give to each work he comments on.
My latest work with ShortEdition ( French Section), “ Katherine the Combatant”, is competing for the Prix Prose en rose 2020. Here is an invitation to come and vote for Katherine in her courageous and indomitable fight against the dreaded disease of breast cancer. In case you do not feel at ease with the French, I attach my English version of this short story for your reading pleasure and hope you like it! Thanks in advance!

Katherine the Combatant
Katherine had always felt good about herself. She was beautiful, healthy, always in top shape thanks to the benefits of aerobics and netball that she had been practicing for a long time. A former ballerina and three-time carnival beauty queen, she decided to open her own beauty salon and yoga studio to supply fitness classes. Women of all ages respected her and took the opportunity she offered them to stay in shape.
Life smiled upon her and a month before her 40th birthday, she and her husband decided to celebrate this memorable occasion by planning a cruise they had always promised to make. A week before the planned trip, when she woke up one morning, she felt a lump under her underarm and was scared out of her wits. She didn't know what to think. Her husband, to reassure her, suggested that it could simply be related to stress. But she remembered that recently she was often prone to headaches and nausea, and so took the decision to see her doctor.
Katherine and her husband sat in the hospital waiting room anxiously awaiting the results of tests done by her doctor to determine the cause of the large lump under her armpit. Alarmed by what he saw, the doctor admitted her to the Cancer Hospital in order to undergo immediate treatment for breast cancer. She was devastated. The world seemed to be collapsing around her! Turning to her husband, who kept comforting her, she sobbed:
"Why me? What's happening to me? I have no family history of cancer! How is that possible? I was healthy and fit... What have I done wrong? What am I going to do now?"
But after the doctor and his medical team explained the nature of her illness, she was reassured and ready to fight the battle by undergoing chemotherapy. As a yoga enthusiast, she constantly used her immense inner resources to help her cope with the difficult and painful ordeal that awaited her. And thanks to the support of her family, friends and husband, she had enough courage to take up the challenge.
During her chemo sessions, she could be heard saying:

"Now the battle is between the two of us! I'm going to take back my life, I'm in charge, not you, I'm going to fight with all my might, and I'm going to beat you! I am the warrior who will force you to submit; I shall fight on behalf of all breast cancer victims and survivors!"

Everyone admired her bravery and once her treatment was over, she underwent the emotional stage of post-traumatic stress disorder with the same courageous determination to survive and overcome the physical and psychological changes she had undergone.
It was the day after. And what exultation! It was a time of jubilation, joy optimism. She now saw herself as the warrior who had managed to go through the labyrinth of darkness to discover the liberating light of survival, a conqueror with a gift to share with all those who face the scourge of breast cancer.

All those who have come into contact with her since her recovery say they feel a deep sense of serenity and peace.
https://short-edition.com/fr/oeuvre/tres-tres-court/katherine-la-combattante

Skilfully written story with an element of suspense woven into it! Please visit your message box foe more details!