My jaw was so clenched I could feel my teeth turning to dust. My head ached, my neck was locked in agony and I had had it. I looked at my watch. It was the final straw. I had been at work for forty minutes.
We tend to fight the hardest with those who are closest to us. Our mothers and fathers, our siblings, our neighbors. Or Anthony in the cubicle next to ours who, while typing, talks out “EVERY. CURSED. KEY STROKE!” under his breath.
One entry examines the absurdity of war, of fighting to the death a person we’ve never met. Someone who might have been a friend in different circumstances. In a way, this piece describes “the human heart in conflict with itself”, the only thing worth writing about according to William Faulkner.
Killing a stranger doesn’t make it easy. You see his face through your rifle sight, and your brain starts playing tricks with the finger that touches the trigger. Your mind sees the face of the man who sat opposite you in the trench. You think of your brother. or ever your father.
The way they deal with conflict tells us so much about a character. About their temperament and circumstances, their values and relationships. The protagonist of the following entry is touring through Europe with an opera singer she is in love with. And who, it turns out, is already married.
“I’ll be there at rehearsal tomorrow, and I’ll take care of your things during intermission. But that’s the extent of it. Starting tomorrow, I’m simply an assistant. Oh, and all those plans we made for Zurich? Fuck that. I’ll book a room for myself when we get there.”
I closed the door behind me, put my suitcase aside and burst into tears.
We have seen apologies and arson and everything in between.
The ninth week’s Turning Tales thread is now closed.
You can no longer post your own entry. But you still have a whole week to give Likes to the entries you love.
The submission that gets the most books will be celebrated with a full year of Papyrus Author+. On top, we’ll give away another year of Papyrus Author+ to one of the participants at random.
On Tuesday, December 20th, you will find out if you won.
The tenth week of Turning Tales starts today, and this week, we’re trying our hand at parody!
Do you enjoy writing conflict or do you prefer harmonious scenes? What was difficult about this week’s topic, what came together effortlessly? What kinds of conflicts do you enjoy as a reader?