Monday, May 02, 2011

Short Story Month - B.R. Smith

Our first Short Story Month story is "The Countrymen" by B.R. Smith from our Fall/Winter 08-09 (vol. 5, no. 2) issue.

The Countrymen

It's when the blood moves over the battlefield that I'm in and out of love, swooning and cowardly, wanting to run while my sword feels its way around their guts, searching, keening when it hits bone, the ocean air like a whip across the plain, and me turning sideways, looking away out of politesse, the bile rising to my throat. When I spot General Dessalines he's on his mount in a fallow, assaying the French positions, his nose up and the horse moving right over top of body after body--white, black, mulatto, whomever--his expression one of mild reproach, so the handsome boy on the end of my sword I make an aging governor instead of a handsome boy and so am fine when he collapses at my feet, his blond head quaking, and me not even thinking, yelling to the whites and the dead, "Goodbye! Goodbye!" War is easy. So, on with Saint-Domingue and the independence and the marching and me following the chant of "Noir!" even as my own voice cracks. For hours the flies hiss above the plain, and I fight, dreaming of Dessalines' horse and Dessalines' bedside and praying for camp.
The rest of "The Countrymen" can be read here. To buy a copy of vol. 5, no. 2, visit our webstore.

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