Written for my writing class.

Prompt: Write about a man whose son has died in a war. Don't mention the war, death, or the son.


Bricks are placed one upon the other like a beautiful , structured and predictable mosaic of burgundy and crimson and ruby. Mortar leaks in hardened strips from between the blocks, rough as they are and grey as the clouds above his head. Metaphorically and literally, that is.

He wonders what the clouds must feel like now that they're heavy with water, ready to bathe the world in a cleansing shower of renewal.

A lie, that is. The rain isn't cleansing at all. Each droplet forms around a particle or dust or dirt, and we all know those aren't clean, which means neither is the rain.

A lie, that's all it was. It had to be. Staring at the building with its perfect bricks all forming one solid wall beside another and another and another. Then came the roof, a flat expanse of grey cement that ached to touch the sky. Just like he ached.

The ends were perfect, a geometric shapely square of perfection. Uniform, just like each brick. All in order, put together just right so that each brick supported the one above it, all to support the higher cause: the roof. Which was supposed to protect and keep safe all those beneath it. The bricks gave their support in exchange for protection.

The sky crackled with electricity and thundered suddenly. The rain came pouring down, attacking the walls of the building and the man before it with a fury that only enemies can produce.

The bricks began to darken like blood, unprotected from the rain. But it seemed to the man that there were lots of things that were supposed to be protected that never were. He knew from experience.