To mark 100 years since the start of World War 1, the Isle of Wight Library Service held a short story competition recently. This is the flash fiction story I submitted and hoped that no-one else would choose the same unusual subject matter. Flash fiction stories are very short and this is exactly 250 words long.
No Man’s Land
It is early morning, not long after the sun has risen. The air is crisp, the sky is cerulean blue and I’m flying over the trenches with a very important cargo.
Troops are sleeping fitfully below me and all is quiet. I’ve made journeys like this many times before and the trick is not to get complacent. Stay alert and keep your eyes peeled.
Out of the corner of my eye I see him; an enemy fighter closing in. I take evasive action by veering to the right but he’s on my tail. Although he’s faster than me, if I swerve and jink enough I can out-manoeuvre him. Even as I dodge and weave, I realise he’s gaining on me. If I fail, the mission is lost and so is my life.
Changing tactics I fly over No Man’s Land, that godforsaken sea of mud, razor wire and blasted trees, hoping to disorient him. Diving low, I’m so close to the ground that I can see puddles rimed with ice and disembodied limbs strewn about the minefield.
I still haven’t managed to shake him off so I swoop back over the trenches but this time snipers start firing on the enemy. They miss their target but I’ve almost reached headquarters so flap my wings with all my might. I reach the sanctuary of the pigeon loft just as the peregrine falcon makes his final strike. He wheels away, screaming in frustration, grasping nothing but my tail feathers in his talons.