#DailyPrompt: 180 Degrees

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “180 Degrees.”

180 DegreesHer calm eyes took the whole group for what it was: a bunch of murderous thugs. She observed the hate, the lust, the most vile desires on their ugly faces: she had plenty of time to reflect, they did not, but they were deluded. What could a thin elven woman do against all of them?

Behind them, high on the cliff, her companion adjusted the lens of her rifle, it was much as they had so many times trained for, assured, free from haste… and from hate.

The first one to make a move was a tall, massive brute, and he came close to touching her: the bullet crossed his skull back to front, and he fell, surprised, silent, head first in the dust. The shot had been silent too, so the others were petrified.

So, one by one, they killed them, one at a time, by the bullet or by the sword. The last one alive fell to his knees, crawling, abject fear painted on the brute’s face.

Her companion waited: it was her decision, to kill or not. She looked down at her feet: then slowly, her arm raised, thumb up, she made the immemorial sign of the antique circus.

This one would tell the others: time was now up.

For Esther, who wrote: “Patriarchy made Woman stranger to this world, An eternal child. Women are no longer slaves, And the amazons strike back.”

#FiveSentenceFiction: Furious

BushidoHe was too small, his tiny fists in his pockets, shaking with rage.

They mocked him, he was so young, they kicked him, the way bullies do, knowing there is no way their victim can strike bak, his little face went blue, smeared with tears and their spit.

And, of course, later, he learnt, for months, years, slowly becoming the man he wanted to be.

One day he woke up, looked at himself in the mirror, so composed he was, with all those years of training behind him, all that wisdom, steel and nerves.

And he went back, stood in the square, waiting: and sure enough he saw them, or their siblings, gathering like locusts, so, suddenly, the cool guy disappeared, and in a blue rage he made minced meat of all of them; and the police said “you had a good time here”, and he smiled.


“This post is written for the 110 Creative Challenge Contest, hosted by Thewhitescape


My father taught me to despise violence, to despise the provocation of it. But he taught me other things too. And once he was gone, wherever fallen samuraïs go, I learnt from others too.

So when she came to see me, telling me her story, I was faced with a dilemma. As she knelt in front of me, around the low tea table, head bent, awaiting my decision, I thought of my father. I stood up, said to her I would be back. I took my sword, and walked.

So died a rapist, silently without honour.


#FiveSentenceFiction: Words

『忍びの者』Raizo IchikawaShe knew the signs: his knuckles slowly getting whiter, his steps a little slower, his eyes narrowing to the pitiless concentration of the street fighter.

But he was so young, and yet always ready, his fists tight in his pockets: how could she not admire him, her virgin champion…

He, had only eyes for her, and otherwise his work, the training, his ambition for the ring, but this was a time when he would have to fight, for her.

Slowly he turned round and faced the man who had just insulted her: a massive guy probably used to have his way: now he was calm, fearless, weighing where the first blow would fall…

So she spoke the words, her voice smoothing the dense mist of his anger, she sensed him collect himself, and then hit, a single blow, on his lips the smile of the victorious samurai…

#WritersWednesday: August 1st

Yukio Mishima, the last Samurai

 He was one of the most gifted and original writers of his generation, straddling western modernity and, at the same time, rooted in the heroic traditions of his country, Japan. His death, following the samurai ritual of the seppuku, confirmed his uniqueness, in what he saw as an age of cowardice and pretence. Dying by his sword may have been his finest hour.

Kimitake Hiraoka – the author Yukio Mishima –  was born on January 14, 1925, in the Yotsuya district of Tokyo. He was listed three times for the Nobel prize for literature. He wrote forty novels, and works of poetry, plays and Noh and Kabuki dramas. He was also an actor and directed one film. A fluent English writer and speaker, his interviews can be found here. His last work, The Sea of Fertility tetralogy, was described by Paul Theroux as “the most complete vision that we have of Japan in the twentieth century.”

#Haibun: Bushido knows no gender

This piece is inspired by the driving rain of the past week, and an article I read about gender and Bushido.

 Their ragtag troop walks through the deep ravine, sharp rocks cutting through their feet, the rain drowning rivulets of blood down their legs and cloaks. They are starving. Only faith in their beloved leader keeps them walking.

At once they see him: a powerful Samurai knight standing immobile as a statue on his horse, his sword drawn, in front of them, barring the way. “Who’s your leader?” the knight asks, “bring him to me, now”. They hesitate.

“I won’t let you pass without seeing him, there, in front of me.”

In small steps, as in slow motion, their leader walks to the knight.

“Is it me you are calling for, my Lord?”

“O, really, this is too amusing”, says he, looking down at the slender woman and her grey cloak.

“My Lord, I am leading these poor people to the other valley.”

“No you won’t”, says he laughing, dismounting swiftly and approaching her, sword in hand.

“My Lord, I am asking for safe passage for this troop, they are hungry and exhausted”, says she, as he lifts his sword. She stands, immobile, rain running down her face, in front of the knight, towering above her.

“Would you stand against me, woman?” says he, still as ice.

“I won’t, my Lord, this will” says she, as she draws her short Wakizashi from under her cloak, and in a fluid gesture, so fast he does not react, disarms him.

The knight looks at his sword on the ground, smiles: “Your knife is too short to worry me, but you are brave, and the Way of the Sword has no quarrel with bravery”.

And the knight mounts his horse and leads them to the valley.

swords glitter in the rain –

believers hold their breath in hope

knights walk the sky