Grandmother by Felicity Edwards

The guys were in a state of shock. For weeks, they had been playing at war. Their officers called it exercises. One side wore blue armbands, the other yellow. They did not use live ammunition.

In the evening, they shared stories of their prowess. They had not been in the army long. These war games made them feel like real soldiers. Their orders came. They were on the move to liberate those held hostage by neo-Nazis. The word was the people would line the streets waving greetings and welcoming them as they came to deliver freedom to the enslaved population. To return them to privileges they had enjoyed years ago, such as standing in queues for hours hoping to buy basics like bread and milk. To bring them back onto the fold, back from irksome independence.

Troop carriers and tanks trundled slowly along the road. They did not know where they were or what they had to do other than liberate a population.

A lone man drove up in a battered car. He got out, looked at the military might, shook his head, and sent a text to his fellows. The brave soldiers decided he was the enemy and shot him. An old lady hobbled over, leaning on a makeshift walking stick. She leered at them and, through her toothless mouth, muttered. “You think you’re better than me, don’t you?”

They were confused. This wasn’t the reception they expected.

She came closer, throwing a handful of sunflower seeds. “Take these to your graves.”

Their attention diverted, she cackled. “Here is a little cocktail for you, too.” She threw a Molotov cocktail at them.

Moments before they met their maker, one texted his mother. “We are in Ukraine. They lied to us. Now I’m going to die. Mother, I love you.”

Selected - Weekly Write - Week 9

Published in Issue #27

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