100-Word Challenge: “Rot”

It’s time, once again, for another 100 Word Challenge for Grown-Ups, courtesy of Julia, who prompts us with
…as the apple fell….

We’ve got to incorporate the prompt, which means we get a total of 104 words with which to work. For me, I’m examining a character in the rough.

“Rot”

He crunched, teeth ripping through red flesh, and sniffed at the dumb, shuffling forms below. Worms, they were: dim drones bred for labor and submission.

Not that he was better. Soldiers followed orders; the behavioral inhibitors wired through his central nervous system made certain of that.

But there had been a time…a time when he’d reveled in the rush of freedom, the flush of passions, and the squeeze of tiny fingers around his thumb….

He crunched again, then grimaced, at the wriggle of greenish, half-eaten pulp.

As the apple fell, he aimed his rifle and sniffed again.

Worms. That’s all any of them were.

Dark, perhaps, but it’s where my mind’s at, these days of rain and storms.

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15 Comments

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15 responses to “100-Word Challenge: “Rot”

  1. I love the imagery in this. Awesome. x

    • Thank you, Beth. I’ve always liked weaving darker imagery, myself, even if I tend to go light in my larger works.

      I can’t wait to see what the Limebirds do with this odd little prompt this week! :D

  2. Wonderful imagery – you give us quite a lot of depth to your character in very few words, well done.

  3. Ooh, this is good. I love the association with apples and worms and soldiers and rifles–I think you have a nice metaphor going on with this one. I also felt a little tug at my heart when he thinks about the ‘tiny fingers around his thumb’. Immediately I am on his side.

    Great job!

    • Thank you, Kate.
      I’m not certain where this one came from. Glad it resonated, though! (It was a bit tricky to get all of what I wanted to write into 104 words, but part of the fun of these challenges is that they’re a challenge!)

  4. I’m with 4am writer – the detail of the tiny fingers around his thumb, really stood out in contrast to the darker images. I’m on his side too.

  5. Funny how worms are seen as something so low, and yet, are quite vital to plant growth. At least, the nitrogen on their slime is important. I like what you did there: Appear to be the lowest of the low, and yet so important to another life.

    As dark as the images are, I like the flashes of hope you added in there, with the times of freedom and the little baby. Very nice imagery in the whole piece.

    • Thanks, spooney. :)

      I don’t quite know where this one originated; I was thinking of my Stowaways characters, though this feels a bit too dark to be my soldier from that. I’m glad he comes across as still being human, though.

      One of the fun aspects of these flash fiction challenges is testing the waters of another world without having to agonize over a lot of details. :)

  6. I guess that’s how humans manage to kill each other in cold blood – by dehumanising them. Quite a different take on the prompt.

    • Thank you, Delft. I don’t know why I went into such dark territory with this one, but you’re right about that dehumanization factor: it’s how many people following orders learn to live with what they do.

  7. And Delft isn’t quite wrong. Dehumanising an enemy is one way to justify it, but so is the simple nobility of self-preservation. In this case, I think both come into play.
    Still, the imagery here is dirty, gritty and quite worthy of the battlefield. I would set this in the trenches of WWI, personally.
    Awesome work Mayumi!

    • Thanks, Shade.
      I was going for a more cyberpunk/Orwellian vibe, but I can see the association with trench warfare, too. This viewpoint isn’t easy for me to wrap my head around, but it just came out with the prompt.

      Thanks again!

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