Red-Shirt Rememberance Day

1 Dec 2013

It's the 1st of December. The National Novel Writing Month of 2013 has finished. It also means that it is Red-shirt Remembrance Day.

As I've stated before; those of you don't recognise that 'red-shirt' reference, it is a Star Trek one. If you see a random, nameless red shirt in Star Trek... he will die. It's inevitable, it nearly always happens. So in dedication of all the red-shirts in our stories,

We miss you, but you die for the better good of our word counts and stories.

Now, on to this years tribute. WARNING: For those of you who are yet to read my novel When There's No Tomorrow and do not want a major character death ruined for you, SPOILER ALERT FOR THE REST OF THE POST!!

This 'Redshirt' has a name, but she doesn't get a single line in the story, or at least no verbal lines.  Her name is Gul, and she's a child whose life has been destroyed by war, her voice stolen from her by injury.

I didn't want to kill this character, though from the very beginning of the story I knew I would.  Her death gave my main character the reason to act, the push to change the way things were. Every book needs these moments, and unfortunately Gul's death had to be that ugly act of war to get the story rolling.

EXCERPT: (this happens just after Gul takes a bullet meant for my main character)

  My legs finally working, I stumble over to Gul’s side and collapse. My arms feel like lead, and I sit there just looking down at her limp body for what seems to be hours before I finally convince myself to turn her over.

Her usually rich caramel-coloured skin is now a whitish-grey brown. Her lips are pale and slightly drawn apart. I touch them briefly with my fingertips before scooping her up into my lap.

‘Gul?’ I whisper, hoping against everything for a response and hating the silence that follows. ‘Gul?’ I choke out as I hold her close, caressing her blank face. I hold her to my chest and cry, my tears softly falling onto her face, trickling down her skin.

I don’t know if she’s still alive, but I know she’s gone. There is no chance that she could survive this; I had seen enough war-victims to know this. Holding her slightly away from me, as far as I can bear, I look at her face, at her eyes and nose and mouth. My gaze is drawn to the damp cloth around her lower chest. The part of her shirt that is redder than the rest. I hate red. Red is the colour of suffering and pain. Red is the colour of death.

Her fingers flutter, and my heart jumps. ‘Gul?’

Her eyes open, and she looks at me, eyes dark with pain. I stroke back a lock of hair, the pesky fringe that won’t stay put. Her lips tremble as they move in silent words. I place a finger over her chalky lips. ‘Shh,’ I whisper, lowering my forehead to hers. ‘It’s all right.’ It isn’t. It isn’t all right. It isn’t anywhere near all right. It is so . . . wrong. So, so . . . wrong.

‘I’m sorry,’ I whisper. ‘It’s my fault you’re here. I shouldn’t have come with you. You shouldn’t be here.’ She shakes her head before grimacing in pain. A single tear trickles down her left cheek, and I brush it away, catching the sparkling drop on the end of my finger. I stare at it, imagining a world trapped away underneath the glinting surface. Did they have war? How could they when their home was so calm. Yet taking away of its beautiful demeanour, a tear was produced from pain and suffering. So why was it so peaceful?

Skin brushes against cheek and I look back to Gul, the teardrop falling from my finger and onto the floor where it explodes into hundreds of individual drops, into a hundred more worlds. Her hand is floating in front of my face, aimlessly reaching towards the ceiling. I grasp hold of it and bring it to my lips, using it as a muffler for my sobs. Her eyes are dim, empty.

 To the beautiful little spark of light in a world cast in shadow: Gul, forever, you shall be remembered.



H. J. Stephens said...

Testing comment function.

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