This morning, I have the true pleasure of posting a piece of flash fiction by the talented Morgen Bailey who has taken on the incredible challenge of writing a story a day. The selected piece, “I Did My Very Best to Die in the War,” is an powerful metaphor for all caregivers and those who require some serious TLC. At an even higher level, the plot represents a universal symbol for human frailty and need.
Morgen Bailey (“Morgen with an “e”) is a prolific blogger and freelance author of numerous short stories, novels, articles. She has dabbled with poetry but admits that she doesn’t “get it.” (My note: Morgen needs to read Poems from the Battlefield, an accessible collection appealing to poetry and non-poetry fans.)
Host of Bailey’s Writing Tips audio podcast, she also belongs to three in-person writing groups (based in Northamptonshire, England) and is Chair of another which runs the annual HE Bates Short Story Competition.
Morgen’s British Red Cross volunteerism is writing-related (she’s their ‘book lady’) and when walking her dog, she’s often writing or editing.
Acutely aware of how important a writer’s online presence should be, she has recently set-up an inexpensive blog-creation service at http://icanbuildyourwritingblog.wordpress.com.
Morgen’s eBooks are available (some free) through Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore, Kobo and Amazon. Being an advocate of second-person viewpoint, she also recently had a quirky story published in the charity anthology, Telling Tales.
Somewhere in between all this, Morgen writes a short story a week for an online writing group Tuesday Tales, and has written a story a day for storyaday.org for the past two years (both becoming 31-story eBooks). This year, though, she kept going, creating a new slot on her blog called 5PM Fiction.
Story A Day May 2012: May 6th, 2012
I Did My Very Best to Die in the War
It isn’t every day you meet the love of your life.
I did wonder whether I felt like that because she was an escape, an early exit from living with my parents.
Jane her name was. Should have been Florence. I called her that, just as a joke, and she loved it, ’though she’d probably heard it hundreds of times, so it stuck.
She was my Florence Nightingale. Didn’t flinch when I came in, all shot up, hardly recognisable as human let alone recognisable to anyone who knew me. Most of my battalion were killed so not many familiar faces anyway. I saw Jimmy Talbot being wheeled in, when I was better, sitting up in bed. He was screaming, ‘like a girl’ as the saying goes. The screaming stopped just after that. Poor Jimmy.
It was Flo’s blue eyes looking down at me that I remembered when I came in. I wasn’t in as bad a shape as Jimmy… I lived, but mum burst into tears when she saw me, and that was a long time after. I didn’t have identification on me, jacket still somewhere on the battlefield, and I liked being anonymous. Thought I had a chance of a new life if I pretended I didn’t know who I was, but I got the new life anyway with Flo and came clean.
Mum’s eyes were pity but Flo’s were love, even the first time. Of course she could have been like that with everyone she cared for, but I got the extra biscuits, the hottest tea, the phone number when I was fit to go home. Mum couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to go back. She wanted everything to return to normal but there’s no normal after a thing like that. Flo understood so she rescued me.
Kept rescuing me for 47 years, and all because I did my very best to die in the war.