This story is by Antonia P. Wright and was part of our 2017 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“We’ve been captured in this place, and the time is short. We are like prisoners of war. But you are still the sniper to my bazooka,” said the blank page to the pen. “Between you and me, we’re like a ‘really small army’.”
I could listen to Paper talk himself up all day long. He is nothing without his pen-pal. The precision of the pen is never admired as much as the written page. Like a sniper, no one ever praises the bullet-fire of ink. Readers love to smell and touch printed pages. With both hands they run their fingers through and scan their eyes over the old and the new weapons. Printed pages are blasting bazookas. They aim to strike with a forceful impact, the imaginations of cerebral readers. The World of Words are in constant battle. The War on Words; playing a perpetual game@ of paper, scissors, rock. rock. Who will live? Who dies, and who lives just to die another day.
I love being The Narrator. I get to direct everything in my lofty opinion. I can sometimes act as a Master of Ceremonies introducing protagonists and antagonists to the stage in the play ‘on words’. What if I were to tell you how #Paper is personified, to live like a winter foot soldier in the infantry. The allied army fighting for the World of Words to be free from the War on Words? #Scissors would cut and edit and fight against #Paper’s (…pen-pal sniper) noble advancements. Always assaulting to gain ground for the victory and the glory of it all! And #Rock. Well, he’s the battlefield!
A little antiquated to call him Rock. He’s the tablet of digital stone in that ‘really small army’ #Paper skites about.
It’s D-0 H-6 until Deadline Day. Paper is heading for a digital upgrade. A transfer from arm to arm combat on the front lines, to an airforce stealth mission. No smelling or direct touching where he’s going. The sniper pen will be transferred also, to the keys. He won’t leave a carbon footprint but he will use a lot of energy. The war on the ground becomes a cyber war, if printed, it becomes a ground war again. Prepared and battleready, army or airforce, brothers in arms, Paper and his pen-pal.
And then there’s the element of surprise…
In the meantime, allow me to introduce you to #Paper. Be careful though, he talks of almost nothing but paper, he’s rather vain. Let ‘read between the lines’ be of great import to you. Here’s a sneak peak of his journal early last week.
I wear this title like a tattoo on my torso. I am armed and ready to impact as a bazooka is when covered under fire by the precision of an active sniper. If I am chosen, my call of duty starts in D-10 H-8: ten days, eight hours from now. Boot camp sharpened my edges and I cut like a knife if mishandled. Today I stand to attention. A winter foot soldier, the first of my kind to lead my platoon of 500, the first of three in this 1500 strong battalion. Entering the war zone, backed by the military leaders of this prestigious infantry. They are proud of the 80gsm stock I come from. I am prepared to partake of the war I was created for.
I am skilled to rescue up to 500 of them at once. When it’s executed alongside an efficient strategy; I can sometimes rescue more. Size is taken into consideration too: 6,8,10,12,14 point. Quite common and I’m awfully font of whoever I rescue. They give me purpose and meaning. I was born for this!
I can be drafted many times. I’m ready to go to war anytime my Lieutenant Colonel gives the orders before D Day. In the meantime I am standing down yet prepared for battle. I will be patient and wait to for the commission. I will stand to attention with my company. For now.
I have two attitudes. If I draw the ‘ace of spades’ and become a ‘disposable’, I die for the cause. If I make it, I will be honoured and counted a worthy combatant among my battalion.
I am detained here until the next order is barked across the barracks. Then the precedent is set for the infantry I serve in to go bold and brave into the fray. We prepare to troop behind enemy lines, where the battle of the mind is either won or lost. I’m also proud to say I am serving in the greatest military history has ever known. Of boasting I will say this, that the pen to be mightier than the sword I can believe to be true. Battle plans failed when military leaders failed to plan. A writing instrument would have indeed been the weapon of choice, on and off the field.
I am at the mercy right now of an ‘alpha bravo’ by a ‘ballerina’.Not your usual merc. She’s not even American, but she’s commissioned on the same detail. I’m coming to this gun fight with a knife. Sheesh. She’s a true ‘Blue Moon’ and I will get friendly fire straight to the ‘bone box’.
Well, quite the bragger our winter foot soldier. Is a little translation needed to keep the cerebral juices engaged? I do think that Paper has given away the plot a wee bit. A sneak preview to the element of surprise. I would rather show than tell, but I would hate to lose casualties at this point. The dictator in me wants to shout “JUST GOOGLE IT.” But: #how rude #losing interest and #reading another story, are likely outcomes if I do. In mercenary-speak, Paper is about to lose it because an alpha bravo is an ambush. His ace of spades will mean his time is up, he’s going to die. And at the hands of a female mercanery aka a ballerina. Once in a blue moon a merc. will abide by the law in carrying out their mission. She is that true Blue Moon. Her mission has a countdown, and if she misses the deadline, her mission fails.
She will not fail.
The merc. is on the same side as Paper. The friendly fire to the head, the bone box, will mean Paper’s getting his upgrade and a transfer to the airforce. He will achieve more there as long as the power is with him.
A mercenary is someone who takes part in armed conflicts by desire and for personal gain. They do not belong to either party of the hostilities. They are contracted to affect change while engaging within the entitled protections. By rules of war. Mercenaries fight for money or other recompense as opposed to political interests. Caught between a rock and a hard place, yes pun intended, the merc. has to draw a fine line between the paper scissors rock scenario, after all, she is the heroine to get this war won on time. She will be commissioned again in Summer. Seasonal wars occupy her time four times a year. In the status quo, which never happens, she will take leave until the next war.
#Scissors aka as the secret assassin, needs no introduction. Cutting and editing never triumphs in public. No one but the merc. and The Narrator, (and the Lieutenant Colonel?) knows the truth behind enemy lines. The narrator commentates while the merc actions. Like pen and paper, they are inseparable. Urban legend or true, they are synonymous with WORDcrafters. And now for the element of surprise…
Ballerina aka as WORDcrafter, the rescuer and killer of words.
I am a merc. Sometimes a sellsword, depending on my mood. And always a ballerina. My weapons of warfare I will continue to go into battle to fight against every war I’m called to. Every successful D-Day keeps the mission alive for me. Armed and ready for hand to hand combat. The war is fought first in the mind. Who will I assassinate?
There are multitudes of mercenaries like me. We live in a world of continuous war. We fight to free the World of Words daily. And while the enemy fights the War on Words, the conflict is persistent. This battle is on right now in the winter of 2017. I have only fought one other battle which took place recently in the fall. I did not taste victory, but I didn’t lose my life either. I convalesced, regrouped and went into battle again. You may lose a few battles, but you can still win the war. One thousand five hundred soldiers were trapped, invisible and imprisoned behind enemy lines. I needed to rescue them and deliver them to safety. To ally command: The Narrator, who has the last word.
Or does he?
D-0 H-0 mission accomplished.
The battle has been fought. But is the war won? Paper…Scissors…Rock…
The judges’ (words) orders are final.