Friday, April 10, 2009

Perspective

*I know, I know, it's a story, but it's really short and I'm not posting again until at least Monday, so if you have the time this weekend give it a read and let me know what you think. It's even kind of fitting for this weekend. Kinda. Like big picture-wise.

He had walked a short distance from the camp for a small measure of peace, only a few dozen paces from the nearest tents but far enough that the incessant talk was more murmur than anything else. The constant noise, well, that was camp life. Armies were noisy, but it was the talk that drove him to distraction. The endless talk of nothing. Bragging, tales, gossip and worst of all speculation. He did not like battle, but at least it would put an end to all the guessing and expert opinion. It wouldn't be as bad if he were amongst the officers, they weren't all fools. But that was not his fate. He had been cursed a giant. He stood at least two heads above even the tallest of his fellow soldiers and for that he was eternally cast the army's monster. It did not matter that he was more intelligent than any officer commanding him and (he doubted even his king could match wits with him) it did not matter that he had his letters, all that mattered was his size. He'd long ago given up searching for intelligent conversation among his "brothers," or conversation at all. Most treated him like a fool or a dangerous beast so that is what he gave them. Grunts and bestial screams made them happy so that us what they received.

The two hills they had set up camp between had been covered in beautiful purple flowers. Most had now been crushed but he had found an unmolested patch just outside the sentry lines and that was where he had spent the morning. Below him the sound of his squire returning to their tent interrupted his meditation. The boy had completed his errands and now bleated about the camp like a lost sheep. He did not bother answering. Someone would point him out in good time. Besides, it was too damned hot. The less movement the better.

As predicted, the boy found him soon enough. "Sir!" the squire panted as he ran up the hill, "I found a local who knew the name of these flowers."
"And?"
"Lupine, sir"
"Lupine," he repeated, committing it to memory. He had removed some seed pods earlier and placed them in a small leather bag he now handed to the squire. Hopefully he would get the chance to plant them once the war was over. He had been admiring the flowers throughout their current campaign, but this had been the first time they had come close enough for him to collect a specimen.

"There's a stir at the front, sir. Some say they've finally found someone to challenge you,"the boy reported cheerfully. Finally, he thought. Maybe we can finally end this damn war. He did not understand why their foe continued in this pointless action. They had been beaten twice now and had their precious treasure taken, but on they fought. If they would just give up he could finally be free. His term of service was done with the completion of this campaign. Ten years was enough. He had made enough to provide a good home for the bride his family had chosen for him. A home and a comfortable life once he found work. He had long ago decided to follow his family and work the sea. No fools to suffer upon the waves, the fish did not speak. Afternoons alone untangling nets in the solitude of his own thoughts? He could think of little sweeter. A quiet life with a good woman and a house full of children, all he needed was for this fool's errand to run its course.

Sure enough, word eventually came back that the Israelites had chosen a warrior. He returned to his tent and enjoyed some wine and a quick bite while his squire prepared his armour. He was always chosen for single combat, his enormous size guaranteed it. He took no joy from it though, it was a necessary evil. In fact, when he first joined up he had been terrible. If it weren't for the terror he brought forth in his adversaries he should be long dead. As it was, he had plenty of opportunities to practice over the seasons. If he should never spill another man's blood he would be blessed.

First though, the show. After donning his leather and plate and choosing his favoured spear he made toward the front lines. They parted before him, chanting his name and screaming for blood. "Goliath! Goliath!" If they only knew how much he despised them in these moments. They were little more than animals, but he gave them what they wanted. He bellowed like an angry oxen and shook his mighty spear for all to see and they lapped it up. He felt the fool for it, but it garnered him extra food every night and a tent to himself, not that any save his squire would sleep near him. All the better, he thought.

When the final waves of screaming faces parted and he stood alone with his commanders he began to worry. Around him his fellow soldiers and officers scoffed at his opponent, laughing and slapping one another on the back in their mirth and merriment. Across the clearing between the two armies stood the Israelites and their champion. To say the man was small compared to him was a gross exaggeration. I could probably eat his body weight in one sitting, he thought. But while his Philistines derided the small man, Goliath knew the Israelites had chosen him for a reason. There were many warriors behind the man who would have made a better match, but instead they chose this little man to decide their nations fate in single combat. The soldier played the part of being frightened, but Goliath decided that was exactly what he was doing, playing a part. The fear in the man's face did not extend to his eyes. Those eyes were busy taking his opponents measure, were in fact, taking the winds measure as well as he noticed the man's attention flit from himself to the banners that waved above the Philistine lines. Sure enough, as the diminutive Israelite turned Goliath caught a glimpse of a sling hanging at the man's hip. Outwardly, the Philistine played his own part, but inside he was worried. While his reach with a spear was formidable, all his opponent needed to do was keep beyond it and pelt him with those damned stones. His own men might think the rocks would bounce from him, but he suffered no such delusions. A skilled man with a sling was every bit as deadly as he was with his giant size and strength.

He sighed. His die was cast. He turned his back on the little man and lifted his spear and shield high. They expected a show and a show they would receive. He gave them his best roar and then turned once more to face his enemy. He screamed all his best insults and stepped forward into the clearing. Why couldn't they have just given up?

*I wrote this on my iPod while at my sister's the last time we were visiting. The main reason it is so short.

33 comments:

  1. ok ok did he get to plant the lupine???????

    hate cliff hangers lol

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  2. Love it! Yeah we know the ending, but it's a unique take. Makes you wish that David would get stomped on.

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  3. You never told me you had an ipod...

    I've never read of Goliath being inwardly worried, but bet he was. When a kid comes to me with a catapult I'm worried.

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  4. I'm totally loving it dude.....
    I would make a really deep and thoughtful comment but I'm already half past Margarita time here in Georgia.
    Hope the bunny drops lots of eggs at your house for you and yours....the chocolate kind, not the other kind.....

    Steady On
    Reggie Girl

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  5. Honestly? Love it, but...since we all know the outcome, why foreshadow? I would edit out after Goliath sees David checking the wind, all the way to the end of that paragraph. You've already engendered sympathy for G at the beginning.

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  6. Husband suggests adding that Goliath "made his customary challenge." But he thinks your story is very good, and wouldn't change much at all. I have NEVER gotten a compliment like that from him on anything I wrote.

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  7. Middle aged women gave a thoughtful response! I liked the vivid description of the scenery. Sorry I can't help more. Have a math question? I am there for you.

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  8. Interesting, it took me a minute to understand the setting. I think you have an natural knack for story telling, and some good sentences, the flow works really well, doesn't feel forced. I'd drop some of the language though, like ' foe ' that felt unnatural to me, but great story!

    (ps i'm not sure if this is the kind of feedback you look for? if you are not looking for 'critique' persay i'm sorry! not trying to be annoying. just the writer in me :)

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  9. A twist! I love it. After reading MAW's first comment, I
    tend to agree with her. I wouldn't have thought so, but once she mentioned it and I went back and looked, I agree.

    Will your sister be upset when she finds out this is the reason you didn't help with the dishes?

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  10. Actually, we don't know how this is going to end. Not much point in just rewriting a bible story like it has been told. Although nothing says this is really a bible story either.

    Reminds me a little bit of Gene Wolfe. He's the fellow that wrote "Urth of the New Sun" series. If you read any of that work, read the 1st one "The Shadow of The Torturer".

    I like it, bro. The lupines are a good detail. Why couldn't they have just given up, indeed.

    Echoes of the Eternal Champion, or the Elric of Melnibone series by Michael Moorcock, too.

    Damn, now this story is in my head...good job.

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  11. is there going to be a part 2 to this story?

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  12. I liked this for the point of view. It's also nice to read something completely different from you.

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  13. oh for the LOVE OF GOD.

    okay. I'll come by in the morning when I have my coffee in hand and will read it THEN.


    (secretly I can't wait....)

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  14. I love the POV change up - cool!

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  15. Nice take on it. I love the different perspective aspect...

    Pearl

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  16. You wrote this on your iPod? That's disgustingly productive.

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  17. I loved this! I love the bible story and LOVE DAVID! BUT, you made me remember that all is not as it seems with people, and emotions... great read! would love more...

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  18. I did like your story very much - but the idea that I have never complimented MAW on her writing is patently false. (I can't remember the last time she even solicited my opinion.) On my re-read just now, I wondered - is the lupines thing was a Python reference?
    I might close with Goliath looking into the sky at circling birds, wondering whose flesh they are going to be eating. Or something.

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  19. That was fantastic. Reading the comments it seems I'm supposed to know the story. I better to open the bible every now and then I guess....

    I really liked it. You write very well.

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  20. That was great. He's goin' down, I suppose ;) I have never thought of Goliath's perspective. Very clever!

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  21. great story bro.....so that's why your children were running around my house like crazy monsters and you were nowhere to be seen.....hmmmm?

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  22. I was reading this thinking man this sounds like David and that tall dude! : ) Very nicely done! Definitly tells the tale from a different perspectve. Could even be thought of as a take on Jesus and... the whoever were agaisnt him. No? Loved it Captain.

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  23. wow, wow--that was incredible,
    I was riveted! Never would have
    thought to look at the ancient
    and well known story that way.
    You are a gifted storyteller!

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  24. Love it. When will it be available in hard cover?

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  25. OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

    Oh..Vodka, bring two coffees. Seeya in the morn.

    can't wait either :)

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  26. Love it. I, of course, like the normal Dumbassery more, but this was a good read all the same.

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  27. I love stories that make you see something from another view point. Makes you realize that not everything is black and white.

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  28. i love it.....

    and I especially loved the part about the lupine. I Love that flower-

    very, very well done.

    xoxox

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  29. 購物安全又有保障,這家我有買過,種類很多樣化,價格也蠻平價的,情趣用品隱密包裝。

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  30. I think Anonymous liked it from the that comment, but like the story, that is a cliffhanger too.

    Loved the flower take on this. How long did it take to write on an ipod?

    Will there be more??

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  31. Ah, see? I'm not overly familiar with Bible stories so it took me a bit. Very well written. I'd read the Bible if it were ALL written like that.

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  32. I love how you make Goliath out to be a good guy...such a great twist to a well known story. Loved it! :)

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  33. Since I'm fairly new here this is the first story I've read. Loved it!

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Come on, sailor. I love you long time.