He stood in the doorway of his homestead, looking out at his land.

The sweat poured from his bronzed head, the receding hairline exposing his scalp to the sun. In his hand he held the machete. Blood dripped from the point of the blade, pooling on the steps at his feet.

The stench of fresh, dead meat pervaded the air already. He looked at the slaughtered cattle, struck down where they stood. He would keep one for himself, enough food for a fortnight. The rest he left.

In the distance, black smoke clouded the sky, creating a dark fog, heralding the coming apocalypse. He had burned his crops. Scorch the earth, leave them nothing worth taking.

His land. His father’s land. He had seen off many. Whites and blacks. Governments and rebels.

This was no different, no matter where they had come from. He didn’t care if they were from Mars.

They would not take his land.


Linking up with the prompt at What Pegman Saw. The task is to write a story in 150 words or less based on the destination that Pegman is visiting. This week’s destination is Free State, South Africa, and I’ve just finished reading H. G. Wells’ ‘The War of the Worlds’, so this tale came to mind quite quickly!

You can read other stories based on the prompt HERE.


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21 responses to “FREE STATE”

  1. An excellent take Iain, devastating but so plausible

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great story. Vivid and gruesome.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very believable from your character there – if you’ve worked decades to build something up, to defend it, why would you let anyone take it from you?
    Never read War of the Worlds, though I did read The Time Machine years ago. Did you watch the recent BBC WOTW adaptation? Interesting – the first part was the strongest – but flawed.
    Great story, Iain

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I didn’t watch, but that sounds much like the book. The first half is great, with the MCs eye witness account of the invasion, but the 2nd half dwindles away a bit with a bit of a flat ending. Still worth a read though, and amazing how influential it still is.


      1. Very much like the TV adaptation then. Wells might not have been able to do endings but he had quite an imagination

        Liked by 1 person

  4. “In the distance, black smoke clouded the sky, creating a dark fog, heralding the coming apocalypse.”
    Certainly in the mood for the destruction of life by invasive alien creature.
    However, you could alternatively read “in the distance” as some time in the very near future. Makes you think.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks James, always good when the reader adds something to the writing 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Humans are their own worst enemies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s surprising we haven’t made ourselves extinct yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You capture the determination of your hero to hold onto his land by any means possible. And with the ruthlessness and forethought he demonstrates, I wouldn’t be surprised if he succeeds, even if the invaders take over the country.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He certainly won’t give up without a fight. Thanks Penny


  7. Very dark, indeed!
    (Thunderous applause!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Liz, glad you liked it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Nicely done. My husband and I have seen the film War of the Worlds many times. In fact, we saw it at the local non-profit theater here in Bellingham about a year ago. You did a great take on the prompt using that idea. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Alicia. Amazing how much one book has resounded through an entire century and more.


  9. Devastatingly believable.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Powerful piece, Iain. You have me believing the determination of the character to do whatever he can against this implacable enemy. After reading the bit of history in Josh’s post, I have even more context to put this in. Such a sad slice of history.

    Liked by 1 person

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