Command Compromises


Photo copy GregBeatTakeshi via Google Photosphere

The raft bobbed up near the far shore and the murky green surface settled. My arm still held back my companions from a doomed rescue attempt. I dropped it.

One moment Pareni had been barking orders. The next, they were sucked under. If that was one creature, it was huge.

That left me in charge. Pareni had been a lousy leader anyway. Arrogant, unyielding. He’d ignored our native guide’s warnings, refusing to pray to a “monster.”

The oddly pale, freckled guide chanted, tossing leaves into the water.

“What are you doing?” I hoped his garbled Tuomon was sufficient.

“Pray Exchicta like sacrifice.”

“No! They weren’t…” I slapped his hand.

He pointed underwater. “Friends dead now true. Sacrifice better than only dead. You cross good.”

He was right. Fewer than half of us remained. Not the good half, either. I couldn’t lose any more. I nodded. “Fine. What do I do?”

Word count: 150. Written for this week’s What Pegman Saw challenge. Big thanks as always to Josh and Karen for hosting this fun writing prompt that gets us exploring the whole world using Google Maps! This week, Pegman takes us to Singapore, which is turns out is a very modern place; even its historical buildings are too modern for Eneana. However, they have some absolutely gorgeous lush natural views too (if you ignore the perfectly manicured parkland just out of camera range). Click on the link above to see what images other writers found and to read the stories they wrote about this area. And maybe you’ll be inspired to add your own — everyone’s welcome!

Of the hundred-plus words from the first draft I had to cut to get to down to 150, the ones I most regret was where the narrator acknowledged that he was desperately glad the local guide knew any Tuomon at all — garbled as it may be — because he knew nothing of the local language and would otherwise be totally lost. (You could even say, “up monster creek without a paddle”, lol!) I hope it doesn’t come across as though I’m making fun of the guide: we all sound like this when trying to speak another language, at least at first. I give super props to folks who are brave enough to risk their garbled English on me, because it’s usually 100 times better than my smattering of Spanish, German, Italian, etc.

And yes, the title is meant to evoke the term “command decisions” but with a twist, and some alliteration thrown in as well (because you know how I like that).


23 thoughts on “Command Compromises

  1. Your commander might have been left with the ‘not good half’ of his team, but he at least seems like a steady hand. Some of them may get out of this alive yet! I liked the sound of your MC – down to earth, a good judge of men, compassionate. You give us a whiff of the environment and the culture in just a few words too, which is fantastic. Great stuff, Joy

    Liked by 2 people

  2. With all the limitation you are under, you still created a very strong start here. This is one that I would love to know what happens next! Love your lines:
    ‘Fewer than half of us remained. Not the good half, either. I couldn’t lose any more.”
    Love what’s implied here. Someone thrust into a leadership position; responsible to pound this group from soft iron into steel. He needs them all, even though they are not who he wished for…
    Again, so much is said here. Great job!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Louis! I’m so glad to hear that all of that came across the way I meant it to, that’s a relief. I would love to know what happens next too, except then I’d have to decide why they have to cross this body of water, and what important mission they’re on, and who else is in the party, and a whole bunch of other details that I’ve conveniently ignored up until now! 🙂


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