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eggscropped

Soldiers

By emily slaney

Angry war faces. Snarled teeth and furrowed brows.

Camouflage.

Born to Kill.

That’s what we drew on those eggs.

Whole eggs fished from the white plastic swingbin, maybe three days past their use by date.

Felt tip pen smudged against our eager fingers as we lined them up along the window sill. Four fat soldiers.

Me and Sam in our cramped flat, Mum looked harassed, said, “Behave,” and went to lie down.

But Sam never listens.

Pushing the window open a crack, Sam’s on reconnaissance.

“The target’s in range. Arm yourself Sergeant Davey.”

Old man Foggerty.

Always tapping his window and yelling when we played football on the lawn. Told us we’d ruin it. The same turf peppered with his Lucy’s dark brown dog-turds, coating your football, wedged in the cracks in your trainers. Trailed across our kitchen floor.

Missile in hand I hesitate.

“Chicken shit,” says Sam and drops the first egg.

It falls short, an explosion of yolk on beige nylon trousers.

A furry lightning bolt charges through Foggerty’s legs to lap up the fetid puddle.

Lucy.

shrieking, falling backwards. Grasping at air, he tumbles. His old-man head cracks, a soft-boiled egg on hard paving.

“Davey?” Mum calls from the bedroom, woken by the cacophony.

The moment there’s trouble, Sam’s gone.

“It was Sam.” I say, small voice trembling.

Mum’s voice faint and sleepy, sighing, “Aren’t you a bit old for imaginary friends now, Davey?”

In my ear Sam whispering:

“Soldier: K.I.A. Requesting back-up.”

*Soldiers was originally conceived for LitReactor’s Flash smack down challenge of 250 words or less. The story prompt was a photo of a basket of eggs.

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