Dead roses in winter, withered and defeated.

The Grand Armée reduced to an icy hell. The villages they entered had nothing to offer. They had stripped them bare of what little they had on their way to Moscow.

Starving, frost-bitten and dog-tired, he stumbled on. To drop now meant certain death. No comrade would burden themselves with a brother-in-arms. Every man for himself.

A terrifying shriek. Inhuman. A horse sacrificed for meat. Others had turned to cannibalism.

The eagle flew on the breeze, the tattered flag a symbol of the army’s shame. He would return it to Paris. What else was there to do?

Copyright Dale Rogerson

Written for Friday Fictioneers 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.

Also linking to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge for today: Retreat.


65 responses to “DEAD ROSES”

  1. Vividly told, Iain. Especially as it was not bound to one time, not one war, but the existential realities of soldiers sacrificed to the hubris of their ‘leaders’. And the terrible costs of war galore. Well penned!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a hellish scene indeed. Your descriptions are incredible of the army’s retreat from Moscow in the dead of winter. Carrying the flag, in hopes of returning it to Paris, gave your character the impetus to push forward I’m thinking. Excellent writing as always, Iain!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My Gr. Grandfather, WW1-2 Vet, would tell of the necessity of killing their pack horse for meat to survive. He would also add that they crawled inside the carcass just to stay warm through the night. all these years later, I think of that.

    Liked by 1 person

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