DEAD ROSES

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.

AMAZON UK     AMAZON.COM      SMASHWORDS      KOBO     BARNES & NOBLE

65 responses to “DEAD ROSES”

  1. Bleak and atmospheric, Iain. I like where you went with this prompt

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You captured the despair well, Iain.
    Une histoire très forte, mon brave

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Iain,

    A bleak scene well constructed. Good job.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reminds me of the winter scene in Ridley Scott’s The Duellists.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Such despair. Brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I could feel his despair. Wonderfully written atmospheric piece!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Dale 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A very desolate and bleak atmosphere perfe4ctly created here. I wonder what the beast is that slew the horse. Being in Russia the Almasty know also as the Yeti, maybe?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In times of desperation, all men turn to beasts. Thanks Mason.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I believe they do!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Hopefully, his determination carried him to his journey’s end. A chilling piece in more ways than one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Keith. I wonder what was left for those that did manage to make it home.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You have packed this with hard-hitting images that really tell the story. The sacrifice of the horse was particularly vivid and harrowing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve seen that movie. 😉 Powerful prose!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This conjured up those haunting TV images of Russian troops in WW2 – well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Dark and filled with despair but oh-so-good.
    Be Safe 😷 … Isadora 😎

    Like

    1. Thanks so much Isadora

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Great atmospheric piece, Iain. War is an ugly business for all except the fat cats lining their pockets with gold.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re very welcome.

        Like

  14. Your story was one of despair and determination in the midst of such horror. Very well written, Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Christ that was brutal, desperation leads folk to wretched paths I guess. Good stuff Iain

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, brutal is the word, can only imagine what it was like to live through something like that

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Quite, I’d be absolutely rubbish at survival if i’d been born even 30 years before I actually was!

        Liked by 1 person

  16. 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

  17. Can’t beat Old Man Winter. Such an evocative story. Great use of words.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. A little vignette from Napoleonic Wars and history springs to life. Vivid descriptions puts one in the scene itself. Nice one.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. That was pretty grim! Very atmospheric, with a sense of hopelessness mixed with a determination to make it through.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Grim times, maybe we haven’t got it quite so bad after all.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Excellent, Iain. A graphic picture of that disastrous attempt to overthrow Russia.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Iain! This is one of your very best. Bleak. Rhythmic. So much said in 100-words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Alicia, much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. You excel at such atmospheric story-telling, and this bit of historical fiction is such a vivid example of it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Dora 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  23. it seems like a harrowing scene from napoleon’s retreat. well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Told so well, and in so few words…And history repeated itself, but with a return to Berlin.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. War despairingly summed up, Iain. You capture it all.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. 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

    1. Thanks so much Brenda, always appreciated 🙂

      Like

  27. Gosh this is dark. Such a horrific march.
    You described the bleak emotion and setting perfectly. Very visceral

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Laurie – roses in winter meant bleak for me!

      Like

  28. 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

    1. It’s hard to imagine such hardship.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, it is. He would always cry when he spoke of it…and he only spoke of it if you didn’t clean your plate at meal time… The only exception for me was tomatoes because of allergy.

        Liked by 1 person

  29. Well played Iain, powerfuly and chillingly eocative of horrible times

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: