Small Wars by Sadie Jones

Small Wars

Sadie Jones

Prisoner torture and the violence of war is juxtaposed against the increasingly strained social niceties of a 1950s' marriage. With parallels to more recent conflicts this is a sometimes shocking, yet also moving story about following orders or following your conscience, carrying out one's duty amidst the disintegration of love.

After he had eaten something, and stared at the ground while doing it, Hal walked away from the small group he was with. He stood with his back to them, facing the grey-brown paleness of the wide land. Ahead of him, small whorls of dust blew up from the plain; he watched them. Two of his men were dead. His soldiers had been taken by surprise twice now. They were a massive force, held up and halted by this tiny group, whose resistance was maniacal and hopeless.
Hal, alone in his command, could feel the shifting mood around him. It was like being in a tiny ship, with full sails, set fair towards a point, then seeing the moving sky, feeling the canvas lose tautness, the sheets slacken as the weather changes. He felt the flat unease before a bad wind springs up. There had been the clarity of purpose; now there was division and grief. He didn't want to go into another night with those terrorists still under the ground, hidden, and no resolution brought. He needed to act.
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