Posted in Flash Fiction, Haibun

‘Missing In Action’ – A Haibun For The Sunday Whirl

A short break from NaNoWriMo and just time for a quick ‘haibun’ for this week’s Sunday Whirl wordle words.

With Remembrance Day not far away these words drew me down this inevitable path.


There we were, two 15-year-old lads, pretending to be older, caught up in the happy delirium of war. As we signed the papers we smiled at the glorious prospect of being able to fight for King and country, then returning home as young heroes.

Our training was brief, we were keen to get to the front. They gave us brand new uniforms, clean and smart. Pleated khaki trouser that fitted, with no patched holes in the knees and shiny new boots. We attacked stuffed scarecrows with our bayonets. Practising our fearsome war cries in the warm country fields, dappled Autumn colours shining on our recently pitched tents.

That seems like a lifetime ago now as we cower in these mud filled trenches. The icy rain and howling winds lashing us mercilessly. Our uniforms, soaked and caked in mud, keep us anchored to the ground. A piercing scream emits from somewhere further down the line and reignites that fear of death that lives with us daily. Another shell explodes nearby and once again the air fills with a dense, acrid smoke, swishing around our heads.

Then suddenly, the end we’ve all been praying for. The sergeant’s strident voice cries out, “Over the top we go lads. For King and country.”

missing in action,
fighting for King and country –
heroic children



26 thoughts on “‘Missing In Action’ – A Haibun For The Sunday Whirl

  1. Very well narrated Mike!! Very sensitively and interestingly too!! The end is so sad with the haiku speaking volumes!! Absolutely a marvelous contribution for The Sunday Whirl!!


  2. What a contrast here from beginning to end. There are few things more effective in fiction than stripping your hero down to nothing–attacking everything he has down to his spirit. And not spelling out the end. Less is definitely more. You’ve made us all feel this.


  3. So well described I could see it, and then the haiku at the end was the perfect foil and gave the jolt needed. Powerful and so very sad. Very good use of the wordle words.


  4. Nicely done. You captured not only the spirit of youth, but the reality of war. Warriors lose the idea of glamour and carry on only by realizing they are responsible for the safety of their homeland.


  5. Excellent halibun, Mike. I’m really starting to enjoy this form. In part, from my visits here. This piece pulled at my heartstrings. Soldiers are boys. It saddens me to my core.


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