Lieutenant Winnington-Smith is a promising artist and hopeless soldier who gets injured on his second day. Captain Southall is the commander of the Royal Flying Corps, Kite Balloon Section, who takes ‘Winner’ up in the sky to sketch the view. Elsie Fox is the fearless young working-class woman who drives an ambulance for the British Women’s Hospital and developed a soft spot for Winner on the boat out there. Isabel Hinchcliff is an upper-class nurse at the hospital, brought up with a heavily starched upper lip. Welcome to Salonika in the middle of the First World War, a multicultural playground and hotbed of spies in neutral Greece where those with the means can make believe carnage doesn’t lurk just over the horizon.
This week’s flash fiction challenge is to write a 99-word story featuring a raptor. To avoid a category error, I did a search to check which birds would qualify and was surprised to come across a military aircraft at the top of the list. Although I was tempted by the thought that this would be a novel take on the prompt, and a great contrast to the kite balloons in this novel, I wasn’t inclined to plough through the information, but I hope someone else does. (Anyway, I wrote about flying last month.)
A rabbit caught in a trap, perhaps? Or someone stepping on a child’s squeaky toy. A cry, for sure, but was it from pleasure or pain? A call for help or to scare predators away?
He suggested scouring the heather for a wounded animal. She wanted to forget it and continue their walk. Begun in whispers and ending in shouts, their debate drowned the noise that sparked it. Neither thought to tilt their head skyward to watch the pair of buzzards circling, wheeling joyfully on the afternoon thermals. They stomped home, united in disappointment that no wildlife seen today.