Crimea, 1854

Crimea, 1854: bloodshed and politics are always first among equals; festering wounds and indifference are what a mangled soldier earns. Whether Florence Nightingale was a ministering angel or not misses the point.  War needs its heroes and sufferers need their icons.  History needs its reputations to build up and then tarnish.  A man racked with battle wounds or cholera in a prefabricated hospital doesn’t pause to conjecture; he reaches out feeble hands towards a face that’s shining down on him with pale, unyielding kindness, before life’s black book snaps shut.

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This piece of flash fiction was written in response to the Light and Shade Challenge Friday 4 July 2014, which requires a story of 100 words or fewer using the following quote as a prompt:

Her pale face was the lantern
By which they read in life’s dark book
– RS Thomas On the Farm

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