This week I am using the suggestions of a friend of mine that were given to me a few months ago in practice of the Flash Fiction Challenge over at NYC Midnight. She’s a big fan of Jane Austen, so her suggestions were somewhat in line with that.
Genre: Historical Fiction.
Setting: A Park
Object: A Locket
This week, though, in the spirit of the Anzacs, I decided to base my story on that. It’s centered on remembrance and honouring the fallen soldiers at Gallipoli in 1915.
On 25 April, Australia commemorates 100 years since the Anzacs landed at Gallipoli during the First World War. It’s called Anzac Day, and it is perhaps one of the most notable days in the country’s history. I decided for this story, I wanted it to be visual, so for the first time, I have written a story with no dialogue. If this is not your thing, I can understand your aversion to reading it, so I made the story exactly 500 words long.
Mostly, though, I just hope it comes off as genuine and honours all that have fought in wars past & present.
Meet Me at Kings Park: An Anzac Story
Fiona watched as the dawn broke through the trees at Kings Park, her ascent along Fraser Avenue was nearing its completion. In the distance, she could see over 200 people standing listening to the final notes to “The Last Post” echoing from the bugle player. A single tear fell down Fiona’s cheek as she finished her contemplative stroll. Her hand unconsciously reached for the chain around her neck, carefully touching the locket at the end of it. She still remembered those final moments with Gregory over fifteen years ago.
The Head Nurse tendered Fiona a note with instructions to take some time off for the remainder of the afternoon, sorrow deep in her brow. Fiona only had to look briefly at the note to know what she must do. Removing her nurse’s cap, Fiona ran out to a Taximeter Car that was sitting outside the hospital with the driver hailing her from beside it.
They arrived at Kings Park 15 minutes later. She thanked the driver and provided him a high gratuity for his troubles before she ran to the tree where Gregory awaited her.
The tall tree was as lush and vibrant as ever, sitting between two park benches that looked out onto the Swan River. He sat with his hands resting on his lap looking out towards South Perth. His posture was rigid, his hair shaved down to a number one, and his uniform finely pressed.
Fiona joined him on the bench, her hand reaching for his. He put his arm across her instead and stroked her hair. For a brief moment, she felt as if this was just a normal meeting. The restrained expression on his face denoted only his duty, though, and he spoke to her in hurried tones about 11th battalions and other-worldly destinations. His once jovial countenance now marred with the remorse of not knowing what the future held. They kissed passionately and completely, both knowing it may be their last, and after a few minutes of raw emotion, he gave her a final gift – a gold heart-shaped locket at the end of a delicate chain. Then he said as quickly as she had arrived, he was saying his goodbyes.
Fiona let a few more tears trickle down her cheeks. She had sat down in that same park bench now, looking out along Swan River and South Perth. The world had changed; she had changed. Gregory lost his life on 25 April 1915 at Gallipoli, but she had helped saved countless others, volunteering the day after he passed.
Fiona sighed deeply, startled back to reality as a man hobbled past to sit down beside her, his war wounds a permanent reminder. He was followed by a trio of children who sat down in front of the two as they all listened in silence at the final words of the service.
“Lest we forget.”
With heads bowed, they sat quietly together with gratitude in their hearts. “For all who have served, thank you,” Fiona whispered.