TAKE ONLY WHAT YOU NEED

They set off at first light. No sign of the enemy.

Peters took the front of the stretcher, Henderson the rear. Felix lay unconscious, each step across the uneven, barren landscape making his head roll from side to side.

Henderson reckoned it was a hundred miles back to the demilitarised zone – at their laboured pace and taking into account stops for rest, it would take them seven days.

Felix would never make it, so why carry him?

Never leave a man behind, thought Peters, looking at his fallen comrade.

Sustenance, thought Henderson, as he eyed up Felix’s ample bulk.


on-route-66-jean-l-hays
Copyright Jean L. Hayes

Written as part of the Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (more details HERE). The idea is to write a short story of 100 words based on the photo prompt (above).

To read stories of 100 words based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.


My first novel, ‘A Justified State,’ is available now
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99 responses to “TAKE ONLY WHAT YOU NEED”

  1. Laughing.
    Nice one, Iain!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It helps to see the humour in situations like this 😉

      Like

    1. It’s all meat at the end of the day…

      Like

  2. Dear Iain,

    That last line took me by surprise. Black comedy well written.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Rochelle, glad I’m still able to spring the odd surprise 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh dear, I didn’t read any “pig”. The story took on a rather dark turn when I read it lol.

    Great tension (although I think my interpretation is warped).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re interpretation is the same as mine. No pigs were harmed in this story… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s always fun when stories can be read multiple ways.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh wow Iain. Grim! (and good!!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Di, grim indeed, but you got to do what you got to do sometimes 😉

      Like

      1. No need to waste resources…………

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I like his sense of humor. Making light of a serious problem makes some terrible tasks easier.

    DJ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Danny. He may not be laughing by the end of their trek! 😉

      Like

  6. We are but creatures of survival. Dark twist there, Iain. Loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Everybody sees things differently, I guess. It depends how hungry you are. I liked the picture of his head rolling from side to side.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Oh gosh! I had to re-read the ending. I thought he didn’t say what I think he just said, did he?? Yup, I had read it correctly! LOL! The twist worked again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, I’m afraid he did 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh man … What are they gonna do if Felix manages to pull through?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure Felix will get that option! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. coffee flew out my nose… thanks😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hope I didn’t spoil the coffee, glad you got a laugh 🙂

      Like

  11. lol, yes, seven days is a long time, might need to stop for a snack….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just a little bit, now and then, make it last 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Good one! Though a bit macabre.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Colline 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Hope his knife is sharp. Also, if he keeps the guy alive there’s no need for refrigeration. These are called “expert tips.”

    Like

    1. Duly taken on board should I ever find myself in a similar situation 😉

      Like

  14. Nothing like the demonstration of two different perspectives! 🙂 . Wonderful writing, Iain. Blessings, Debbie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Debbie 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Oy. They’re going to get him back to base, one way or the other! Really good comparison/contrast, Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, and which way will cause them the least labour? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Great post! My initial thought was combat as well, but I certainly did not see that ending coming!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jewel, glad it surprised you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. The last line took me by surprise as well. Great short story.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Yikes!! I wasn’t expecting that ending. Poor Felix.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hopefully he at least won’t be aware of what fate waits for him!

      Like

  19. As barbecues go it should be a good’un!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nothing like a good campfire chargrill 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Two distinctly different viewpoints, one more practical than the other. Great (dark) twist! Your stories are always so descriptive, I feel like I’m there. Though don’t think I want to be this week (haha).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Brenda. No, I wouldn’t want to be any of these unfortunate souls this week 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I still wonder what will be the compromise when they start to discuss the matter…. a leg and an arm?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Will they let Felix have a say in the matter?!

      Like

      1. You have a choice… either we leave you for the vultures or you offer us a piece…. it’s rational.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Oy vey!
    And … I’m sure these kind of thoughts have crossed the minds of many an exhausted soldier lugging a comrade through mud and gore and helpless situations.
    I hate war.
    N.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It certainly brings out the worst baseness in humans.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, war is not a humane thing. Not meant for humans.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Had to go back and check to see if there was anyone named Donner in this party. It is a grim picture, i can see why you went there.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Oh, now that’s a dangerous thought…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s definitely not a good state of mind to be in.

      Like

  25. Eeew, Number 1 with a canabilism tale, good stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Everyone likes a bit of cannibalism, right?

      Like

  26. Wonderfully written! Hey, one must do what one must do to survive, eh?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very much a ‘needs must’ situation. Thanks Dale 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Very well written! Talk about making the best of any situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Is it wrong that I started laughing at the last sentence? 🙂
    Two very different characters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was laughing when I wrote it so I guess it’s okay! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  29. A warning to all of us – don’t be protein. And don’t trust your buddies. Great vignette.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Good story and writing, Iain. It gets down to the brutal facts of survival. Dark humor indeed. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’re all animals in the end. Thanks Suzanne

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Gotta love a guy who’s first thought is cannibalism… Great write iain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So long as you’re not on his menu, I guess 😉

      Like

  32. There’s nothing like planning ahead! Great zing in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Gads, I just reread the title. Now the story is even better!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, thank you. Essential supplies only 🙂

      Like

  34. Not a pleasant thought!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Depends on your taste 😉

      Like

  35. I sure like Peters… he’d better watch out for Henderson. This was great Iain

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Laurie 🙂

      Like

  36. Battle between heart and brain, fellow feeling vs. hard reason continues. Hope heart is strong enough to win and pray Felix makes it. It is such a long way to the dimilitarised zone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading

      Like

  37. Well, that last bit was unexpected but well done. Peters better watch out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Depends how hungry they get! Thanks Sascha

      Liked by 1 person

  38. Oh my. Their own mini Donner party.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just need some music and a few beers 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  39. The head on the stretcher moving side by side. The descriptions are so crystal clear. Two different yet poles apart perspectives taken into account. The last line surprised me.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. What a difference in perspectives! What’s he going to do for seasoning? In the end everything tastes like chicken anyway 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So I’ve heard! 😉

      Like

  41. Love the dark humour – nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Another reason to lose weight! Nicely done, Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I fear I may be close to looking like a tasty meal for a desperate man at the moment myself, best dig out the running shoes!

      Liked by 1 person

  43. Beautifully written, and a great twist.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Mmm, tastes like pork. Good one, Iain!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bit chewy in places though 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  45. Talk about perspective! lol

    Liked by 1 person

  46. looks like Felix has had it, !00 miles in enemy territory by foot is a hard slog. The hardest part is the decision process – what to do about Felix. They could always remember the good times, you that last meal they had with Felix.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fond memories to be made! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  47. Eek! Good and evil, ideal and practical, what we say and what we think. As I read through the other comments, it wasn’t much different. I love how you captured the human nature in a crisis situation and I’d definitely read the sequel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much 🙂

      Like

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