The Battle of Bicocca

In Writing on October 2, 2012 at 8:26 pm

It’s week three (for me at least) of the Trifecta Writing Challenge, and this week the prompt is uneasy. The idea for this came to me pretty easily though, with a little help from Wikipedia (more on that here ). Give it a read, leave your comments and criticism below, and then think about jumping into the fray for next week’s prompt!
Map of Lombardy in 1522, at the time of the Ba...

The Battle of Bicocca

Albert had wept as he crossed the field — in full view of his men, he had wept like a child — but it didn’t matter, for all his men were dead. Now the blood clung to his hands and face and ran down his chest in sticky gobs.

Alone in his tent he lit a long match, and then a candle, and then a dark-leafed cigar. He rolled it above the flame, drawing carefully to perfect the burn, and still he wept.

How will I tell them?” he whispered.

He had lost men before – not these numbers, perhaps, not thousands – but he had lost them. He had seen men with pikes through their necks, men trampled by horses, men destroyed by the fierce blast of the arquebus, but…but that smile, that uneasy smile, was what unraveled him now – that terror worse by far than all the death and misery he’d ever witnessed.

“Trust me,” he said to himself, remembering. “Trust me.”

And Michel had trusted him, not as his commander, but as his brother – and so deeply that all those years, all those years since they had been young together, had flashed with hope in that one smile, shaded though it was by doubt.

Now, in the darkness of his tent, Albert wrote his letters home – one announcing his brother’s death, and one that he had not yet decided to send.


Related Stories: Pietro Barbino and Przypadek, with an ever expanding collection of the flashiest of fiction on my (gasp!) fiction page.

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  1. Ohhh, I love that ending! Or lack thereof, in a way. What a way to keep us hanging – I really do want to know more. That last paragraph in particular is brilliantly written, though I love the whole piece.

    • Thank you Christine – I actually just stumbled upon your response, without realizing at first it was yours, and ended up reading all of the Jade Dragon pieces. Your craft is right on, polished, and genuinely enjoyable to read!

  2. Oh I like this. Makes me wish there was more!

    • Thanks, Draug! I tend to get that same feeling about anything with a historical perspective – there’s just so much to write about. Thanks for coming by!

  3. This is a sad situation. I do wonder about the second letter and if it is one that is eventually sent.

  4. Oh my.What a difficult situation. I’d love to know more of the story.

  5. That ending is so eerie and perfect. He hasn’t decided yet if he’s going to kill himself.

  6. You’ve got me – Wonderfiully written.

  7. Powerful; the horror and the uncertainty at the end were really gripping. Well done.

  8. Thanks for linking up again with Trifecta. I really enjoyed this piece, particularly the details about rolling and lighting the cigar. That image really put me in the scene. Nice job with the prompt.

  9. i was really caught up in this! wonderfully written!

  10. Awww that was sad. Now I want to read the other letter. I’m not sure if you went further back in time but the scene/time reminded me of Cold Mountain.

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