Girl On A Postcard
A girl, possibly 15 or 18 or 21, it is hard to tell because her face is covered in thick, dark greasepaint, stands in the right track of a two track dirt road that runs off into the distance. She wears olive green pants and a dark brown flannel shirt, untucked. Her hair is brown, pulled back in a tight ponytail. She has clear slate gray eyes that blink quickly and infrequently. The greasepaint fails to conceal her beauty. There is a look of defiance and grim concentration to the girl, a certain tightness in the muscles of the mouth and corners of the eyes as in one who is in the middle of an arduous task. She holds a small pistol with a long barrel in her right hand, held with a gentle familiarity of a butcher and his knife. In her left hand, a rabbit dangles by the hind legs, a small red hole behind one ear seeping crimson into the dirt of the road. The girl faces the far side of the road, watching intently a military convoy driving on the main highway in the medium distance. Hundreds of trucks and tanks lumber along the road as thousands of men in vivid red uniforms march alongside. The rumble of the trucks is muted and faint. The sun rises harshly above the horizon beyond her right shoulder, beginning to illuminate the bitter landscape, chasing the dawn away. A faint scent of acrid smoke tinged with cordite hangs in the air. Long grass lines the side of the road she stands in but there is a path immediately behind her into the undergrowth. Dew glistens on the grass. Far off in the distance from the direction the military trucks move, hardly intelligible, an eerie chant drifts, ephemeral and spectral, the sound of a thousand weary voices joined together in praise of an unseen god.
A single soldier peels off from the serpentine convoy, followed by another and another, moving quickly in the direction of the girl. The entire convoy grinds to a halt. Ten soldiers fan out, a vermillion pack of human wolfhounds running towards the girl. A tank turret turns and a puff of smoke appears from the barrel. Second later, the ground a hundred feet in front of her explodes sending thick chunks of dark clay silently screaming into the sky.
“They always underfire”, she says.
The soldiers are still a thousand meters away as she turns and disappears into the underbrush, the only sign that she was ever there a darkening of the dirt where the rabbit bled out.