Raven Queen by Pauline Francis

Raven Queen by Pauline Francis

Raven Queen by Pauline Francis

Raven Queen tells the tragic, true story of Lady Jane Grey, who’s life was cut short when she was just sixteen years old, from her beatings from her parents, to getting betrothed and married to Guildford, falling in love with her soul-mate, Ned, and eventually becoming Queen before Queen Mary took the throne after. Then, if follows her right up to her death, from Ned’s point of view.

I have always felt sorry for Jane – no one deserved to be beheaded, especially for not having committed a crime, and not for one so young. I liked Pauline Francis’ version of Jane – the spirited, witty girl, with a very devout love to her God. I am not a religious person myself too much – I do not know what I believe – but Jane’s love has showed me even more how and why religious people believe, and how much they will do for their love. Although the idea of loving a God that much scares me a bit, I think that it is divine to have someone whom people think they are looking out for them.

As the title suggests, ravens play a part in Raven Queen. At the start of the book, Jane saves a raven who is caught in a trap; ravens peck at the dead outside Traitor’s Gate; and, right at the end, not one raven comes to peck at Jane. Ravens are often thought of in bad luck and death, and I think that this book changed that – they are just birds, trying to survive, much like the rest of us.

Jane’s relationship with Ned was a heartfelt one – she loved him, but not his faith, as he was Catholic whereas she Protestant. But still, she loved him, and he her, more than his own faith. Their love was there until her death day, and I think that their love was a really astounding one.

The cruelty of Jane’s parents made me feel sorry for her – they were cruel, whipping her when she simply disagreed, and they gave her to Guildford when her greatest fear was being Queen. I do not know any parents who would do such a thing, and the idea of it scares me.

Jane knew – in the book, at least – that becoming Queen would ‘bring [her] to [her] knees’. Although she was young, she was not naïve, and I admired her for that. She was brilliant, really intelligent, and her teacher, Doctor Aylmer, was brilliant also, helping her with her studies and overcoming the shock of finding out Ned’s faith.

And the plot twist at the end – in which we discover that Ned is, in fact, the executioner for Lady Jane – nearly made me cry. Jane’s biggest fear of being executed was how many blows it would take for her head to be off – she was terrified of a botched death. And Ned knew that the final gift he could give her would be having a clean death, with one, simple swipe of the axe. Although it would be taking his one love’s life, it would also being saving her from a painful death, and I think that that is a great love – for, if you cannot be together in life, but one must die, you should live for the lost love.

Finally, I found the dual point of view very interesting – how Jane’s side of the story was told in past tense, whereas Ned’s in present. It brought even more feeling into the story, how Jane had written it down before she died she that she may be remembered as more than just a line, whereas Ned was still alive. However, I thought that, right at the end, when Jane says, “One day, I may just be sentence in a history book,” it was a bit much. I understand Pauline’s reasoning for writing this book, but I do not think that Jane would have said that, and it made it a bit cheesy, whereas the rest of the book had been brilliant. On the other hand, this is just a line, and I felt that the rest made up for it.

Overall, I really enjoyed Raven Queen. It has made me think, and I know that Lady Jane Grey and her fictional Ned will stay with me for a long time.


The Differences Between…

…A Short Story, a Novelette, a Novella and a Novel

Well, there are a lot of different things you can write – maybe I’ll do different poems or something soon – but I thought that, today, I’d start with the basics.

Short Stories

  • Shorter than a novel, a novella and a novelette (duh)
  • Usually narrative prose
  • Has a beginning, a middle and an end
  • Generally about 3500 – 7499 words, although there is no set length
  • Under 1000 – 2000 words, in my opinion, is called ‘short short stories’ or ‘flash fiction’ – but others say just below 1000 words
  • Tend to only have 1 climax, but maybe 1 subplot
  • Doesn’t have too many characters


  • Shorter than a novel and longer than a short story
  • A long short story, basically
  • Generally about 7500 – 17499 is considered a novelette
  • Has 1 climax, and then subplots


  • Shorter than a novel, but longer than a novelette
  • Generally about 17500 – 39999 words
  • The rules are pretty relaxed with characters and plots and whatever


  • Longest work of fiction
  • Mainly fictional prose
  • Generally more than 40000 words, but can go up to a billion words, I guess

I hope that that helps with definitions, and I’m sorry that this was so late! 🙂


Book Reviews

Hi guys!

Just to let you know, that every Sunday and Tuesday at 7pm I’ll be posting a book review! They’ll all be available under a page, and a category. 🙂

Hope you enjoy them, and I hope you find some great books! And if there are any suggestions for posts up at the moment, please say. 🙂

– Hannah 😀

The Fairy Tale of Pain {Short Story}

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The Fairy Tale of Pain Cover

Wordcount: 286
Prompt: write a dystopian story in 16 lines (4 paragraphs, 4 lines in each)


There was once a world where no one felt pain. Not even for a broken bone, or during childbirth. No one cried, or felt heartbreak if their lover left them. Soon, even the concept of pain was just an idea from the fairy tales of the past.

If a child scraped their knee, they would bounce back up and carry on running, not caring about the droplets of blood that splattered onto the floor. The government, keen on shielding people from the harsh truth of life, made sure that people were immune to the emotion. Citizens were used to being pumped full of drugs on a regular basis. Smiles were permanently plastered on faces, and even death was not feared, nor the ones who had moved on missed.

But, one day, there was a girl and boy. They had been away on holiday, enjoying themselves, when the girl fell ill. She got sicker and sicker, and eventually, she died. For the first time in his life, the boy felt pain: he sat down, and cried for his lost love.

A feeling of cold settled over his chest; bile rose in his throat; tears fell down his face, puddling on the floor. He went outside, and tripped through his blindness, cutting his hand on the stones. As the blood dribbled down his wrist, the boy’s jaw dropped open in shock at the unknown feeling coursing through his veins that made him want to cry out; then, Officials from the Capital stood in his path, their eyes bright and friendly but the guns in their hands saying otherwise. Seemingly without a conscience, or even a hint as to what they were doing, they raised their arms and fired.


As always, feedback is appreciated! Thanks! 😀 

We’re History…

Historical fiction has always been around, since…well, since history began! For example, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, although a romance, is also historical fiction! But how do you write a good historical fictional story?

Well, like any story, you need a plot, interesting characters, and a setting. I’ll put up a basic idea to use for the purpose of this post – how about a story about a girl who finds out that she can make the worlds in her mind become real, but there are dark forces trying to stop her (aka the plot of The Amazing Mind of Alice Makin by Alan Shea. Hey, I never said it was my idea!). We’ll start with setting.

This is historical fiction, so you need to write about a historical time: in this case, it about ten year after WWII, so about the mid-1950s. Alice lives in London, so obviously it’s still pretty wrecked from the Blitz – in fact, one of the main settings is an old bomb shelter. Furthermore, the places are put together so well that you can create a map in your head!

But also with the setting, you need to have the ‘setting’ of the time. For example, the clothes of the time, or the slang – Alice and her friends use 50s slang when they talk.

For the setting, you have to do a shed load of research. Get yourself a notebook, and use a variety of sources. For other info on research, check out this post. Use a variety of sources for this one, though – perhaps even speak to a historian?

Next up: PLOT! Now, you can tell a real history story, or you can make up one on your own. Alice’s story is fictional, but it is so well put together it seems real. Whereas, there’s a story called Bucephalus that I read years ago, about Alexander the Great’s horse – it follows his story, so, although it is fictional, it is historically accurate.

If you’re making up your own plot, the same applies as that from setting – do your research. If you write about a real event, then you really have to do your research. You can’t afford to get things wrong with the plot if it’s about a real event. If it is a real event, then also make sure you keep with the settings as accurately as possible, otherwise, even if the plot is realistic, the entire story won’t seem realistic altogether.

Finally, characters! Like with plot, you can go two ways with this – one, you can make up your own main character, such as Alice. Or, you can use a character that really existed, such as Bucephalus. If you’re using a character from your own imagination, then yay for you – free will! Just make sure that they stick with the time. But, if you’re using a character from history’s mitts, then you have to make sure you know that person as well as possible. Research on the internet; look up myths surrounding them; read as many biographies – or autobiographies, if possible – as you can; make sure you know them inside out upside down.

If you want another source for info about history, then try CBBC’s Horrible Histories. If you don’t want to watch it, then you can always read the books!

Questions? Shoot! 😀 And sorry that it was late…

My Friend Rosie {Short Story}

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My Friend Rosie

Word count: 1000
Prompt: ROYGBIV challenge. So, the first letter in the first sentence for the first seven words had to start with the colours of the rainbow, especially for St Pat’s Day!

Oh, and happy St Patrick’s Day for Monday! 🙂 


Rosie often yielded gabbling, bringing insensitive virtue to our classroom. Her Irish accent and bright, ginger hair made her an easy target for us Southerners, but she fought right back.

Although cruel in her remarks, she was nearly always right, and I found her becoming my fast friend: I was an easy pick for them, too. She spoke so fast that the bullies couldn’t even understand her; sometimes, I couldn’t, either, for her Irish accent was still strange, even after being friends with her for months.

“Leprechaun! Go back to your hole!” one of the boys shouted, his unoriginal remark making others look in our direction as we made our way into school. Rosie spun around, her green eyes sparkling with malice as she sought out the abuser.

“’Least I’m not two feet tall! You and my mate Clare would make a good match, if you could reach her head!” It wasn’t the best she had ever come out with; the boy was often called ‘rat’ by his classmates, thanks to his small, watery eyes and, yes, because of his height (or lack thereof). But it worked, and the boy backed off with a glare. “Come on, Leah,” she said to me, stalking off, her head held high.

Rosie was confident in her originality, but as I stumbled after her, pushing up my glasses so I could actually see where I was going, I felt worse than ever. I couldn’t stand up for myself; I could barely answer a question in class. Even more annoyingly, I was from Essex – which meant I had an accent. Sure, Rosie might have been teased because she was Irish, but they aren’t thought of as being air heads. Some people say horrible things to me, and then laugh if I try to retort. Apparently, if you’re from the South East, you aren’t considered competent enough to be able to think.

I cradled my decaying satchel to my chest. Rosie flipped her long, red hair over her shoulder, nearly taking my eye out with one of the thin plaits she tangled in it frequently. She pulled out a chair in our tutor room, chucking her bag onto the table top as we waited for the bell; her eyes were sparkling, but this time with excitement.

“So,” she started, “it’s St Patrick’s Day next week! We’re doing something as a family, but ma said I could do something with you too, if you wanted?”

Smiling toothily, I said, “Sure, what do you want to do?” I fiddled with the strap on my satchel, still amazed that I had a friend as great as Rosie; Irish, pretty and popular with other girls, she was everything I wasn’t. The only way I was better than her was in class, but who likes an intelligent girl nowadays? Nevertheless, I still fell asleep smiling when I thought of the fact she had chosen me to be her friend – or, as she said, we’d chosen each other.

“We could dress up as leprechauns and go around the neighbourhood? That should give those wee boys something to talk about!” I raised my eyebrows in disbelief mixed with horror, but Rosie’s infectious personality meant that I normally gave in to whatever she was on about.

Not really believing what I was saying, I replied: “Yeah, ok!”


And that’s how I find myself, on a Saturday afternoon in the middle of the street, a skinny child of 13 wearing a green suit with red fluff poking from a hat perched on my head. According to Rosie, it’s meant to look like hair. “I can’t believe you made me do this,” I hiss. Rosie, completely in her element, is oblivious to any doubts I have.

“Oh, come on, Leah, lighten up! It’s just a bit o’ fun,” she says, winking. She’s back-combed her hair so it sticks out in a frizz around her head, and she has a pipe sticking out of the corner of her mouth – I think she nicked it from her dad.

“What are we doing here, anyway?” I ask, drumming my fingers on my knee, perched on a brick wall. Cars speed past, and I’m amused to see them slow down when they see us; the people in them stare, either with curiosity, disbelief or scorn. I can’t be sure.

“Waiting,” Rosie replies mysteriously, winking. “Oh, no,” she continues a moment later, “we’re not waiting any more!” Gleefully, she lets out a wicked cackle, clapping her hands.

Dancing, she crosses the street into the path of some boys – unfortunately, I recognise them. I follow her, probably against my better judgement. Rosie has no fear, and she laughs in front of them. They stare at her, bemused. I can only think of one word to describe her: leprechaun. Wicked, sly, but hilarious.

Soon, she is jumping from one foot the other, and I find myself copying. The boys get more and more frustrated and start to mock us, but we just dissolve into giggles, clutching each other. I glance at the boys’ faces, and wish I hadn’t, for it just makes me laugh harder.

“Come on!” Rosie laughs, dragging me away. I grab her hand and we run together, back to her family house-hold, where her mum stares at us like we’re a pair of nutcases.

“What do you two think you’re doing?” she asks, her Irish accent climbing a few octaves.

“We’re Irish!” Rosie cries, deliberately thickening her accent so I can barely understand her.

“Irish,” I say in my best Essex accent, which just makes us laugh again.

“Ho diddly ho!” Rosie mimics, jumping from one foot to the other, her hair bouncing.

“And you wonder why they think we’re mad,” I say, once the giggles have gone, leaving my stomach feeling like I have gained an 8-pack.

“Hmm,” Rosie agrees, nodding thoughtfully. “Oh, I do love being Irish.” She grins.


As always, feedback is appreciated! 🙂 Thanks, all. 😀 

Awesome Alliteration

So, shall we see how skillfully I can slip in some stupendous, superb (s)alliteration?

Or, let’s not.

But alliteration is a brilliant device to use in writing. But, what is it, first of all – well, according to Google, the definition is:

“The occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words.”

So, basically, the first letter is the same of each word or words that are close to each other start with the same letter – such as my first sentence of this article.

Alliteration is useful to change tone to your story, especially as it makes it more vivid. Furthermore, it gives a more poetic style and ‘mimics the natural rhythm of the rain’. People read it more fluently, and it also makes a greater impact on the the reader’s memory – this means that they are more likely to remember your story if you have good alliteration! Also, alliteration gives dramatic effect – so, for example, if there is a huge action scene, or a scene where your character meets your true love, the alliteration makes the reader feel more for the story and the characters; exactly what you want.

However, you can’t over use alliteration. It gets too repetitive, and it makes the reader almost choke on the words. The readers are likely to stop reading, because they wouldn’t be able to get the words out in their head, either, so they won’t be able to do it if they’re reading aloud especially – exactly what you don’t want.

But you know something that’s perfect for alliteration?


Titles are superb for alliteration. For example, one of the best known classics is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice – which uses two ‘p’s – alliteration. Another one is John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men – two ‘m’s. It helps the reader remember them, and it can be shortened easily, without hopefully making it look bad – for example, Pride and Prejudice can become P&P (…although that can also stand for post and packaging…).

So yeah, I hope I reminded you about the awesomeness of alliteration. Challenge of the week: put some into your writing!

Any topics wanted for next time? Questions, tips? Shoot! 🙂

YAHOO! Answers

The Evacuee {Short Story}

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The Evacuee

The Evacuee

Wordcount: 1000
Prompt: ‘word grab!’ Words are: front, deprive, picnic, throw and mock.


You stare, in disbelief, at the book in your hand. The scratchy, knitted throw presses against your bare legs, and you play with the loose thread. Absent-mindedly, you run your fingers over the front cover of the leather journal you have just been given.

It’s 1943. You were evacuated just last week.

The family that you’ve gone to seems friendly to everyone but you, but they are motherless. You, too, are missing your mother, even though you know that your father is already dead.

You remember the day that the telegram came. The ship that he was on had been sunk by a submarine. Your mother had dropped to her knees, a silent scream on her face. Blood tricked down your ankle as a shard of a dropped plate stuck into your body.

That doesn’t matter now. You’re 500 miles away, in Inverness, Scotland, whilst your mother remains in London. During the Blitz.

A pretty, red ladybug crawls onto your ankle, where the cut still shows – a scar now. You let it climb onto your leg, and the combined tickling of that and the throw beneath you makes you chuckle in spite of yourself.

Here.” A sandwich, filled with lettuce and an odd sauce that you don’t recognise is thrust into your palm. You stare at the boy’s plate, which is piled up, mainly with Scotch eggs. Although the family seems nice, you can’t help but feel a bit deprived: after all, you only had the throw for a blanket last night, and it’s spring.

Albeit cold, the day is bright, and you eat your measly sandwich, savouring the disgusting taste. Crumbs fall onto the front cover of the journal, and you wipe them off carefully, making sure that they don’t stain the beautiful leather. It was the one thing that the family had given to you that you felt like they wanted to give to you.

The journal, with a pen in a pocket to the side, is brown leather. The front cover has a motif, an embossed Celtic triskelion. You run your fingers over it, enjoying the way they fit into the lines.

The father of the family stretches out leisurely on the large throw. He winks at you, and you smile back. So far, he is the only one that’s been kind and welcoming. He gave you the journal, after all.

Go and play,” he orders the others; three boys, with whom you’ve been sharing a small farm cottage with.

The eldest, two years older than you, glares in your direction, but says sweetly, “Ok, Papa. Shall we take her with us?” You feel your stomach drop when the father nods. The boys have been pests since the day you arrived, laughing when you dragged in a ratty teddy bear and ate with your fingers at the table, even though they were soaked in gravy.

You stand, carefully placing the ladybug and the journal on the throw. You give it one, last longing look before following the boys down the hill.

You aren’t very good at running. You can do it in London, but you prefer to stay in and read. Thankfully, the teachers understood there: but, in Scotland, it would seem that they would rather you went out and froze than stayed inside.

Stockinged feet in black, leather shoes pound down the hill. When you reach the bottom, you see that the boys are by a rope-swing, over a small river. Watching them for a while, you see them ‘play’ – if you can call it that. More shoving each other around.

Come on!” the eldest shouts gleefully, pushing the rope at you. You catch it; just about. “You have a go!” He laughs, clearly assuming that you won’t be able to.

And he’s right. When you take a running jump onto the swing, you miss, falling into the freezing water below, soaking through your thin dress.

The boys hoot with laughter. Fuming, you stand, glaring at them. “Oh, look at her,” the youngest says, “She can’t even jump properly! What do they teach them in London? How to be losers?” The comments set the boys off again.

You storm back up the hill. The thin dress, the only one you could afford, sticks to your skinny body, and you shiver. You may be old enough to have started to grow a bit, but so far you still look like a boy.

Water drips down the front of your dress, keeping your legs in a constant state of wetness. Clenching your hands into fists, you ignore the mocking voices of the boys behind you. You race up the hill to your adoptive father. The picnic hamper is still open, and he is taking a glass bottle from it; you can see an amber liquid, then five cups follow.

Ginger beer?” he asks cheerfully, holding up the glasses. His face drops when he sees your stormy expression and the water dripping from your clothes. “What have they got you to do now?” he sighs. You shrug. You don’t want to talk about the humiliating experience. He pats the place next to him. “Come and sit next to me,” he smiles.

Even though you’ve only been there for a few days, you already understand the privilege of sitting next to the head of the household. As you sit beside him in the sun, beaming, the boys have caught up, and promptly begin to complain.

But Papa! She’s an evacuee!

Papa, you said that I could sit next to you!”

Yes, yes, I know,” he consoles them, “But look what you have done to her! She is soaking wet.” He shakes his head disapprovingly, but passes them a cup; although he gives one to you first.

As the boys glare at you, their Papa the only thing stopping their mocking, you poke your tongue out, relishing in the feeling of not being the piece of dirt on someone’s shoe: for once. 


As always, feedback is appreciated! 😀 Thanks, and I hope you enjoyed. 😀 

I’m Pretty Sure I’m Real…

Real in the eye of the beholder, that is. This week, I’ve been asked to write a post on how to create 3D characters – so here goes!

When reading a story, characters are either 2D or 3D: They either are not real to the reader, or real to the reader. Ideally, you want your characters to be that 3D person, but sometimes they fall flat (aah, puns). So how to you make them pop up and make your reader feel like they really know them? Here’s a few tips:

  • Give them a solid back story. Everyone you meet, even a newborn baby, will have a back story. Maybe they’re adopted, or they are mainly normal but get abnormally good grades. You can even create a timeline for your characters, from their birth to their death, and fill in what happens in all the years of their life. If you click the link just above, it’ll take you to an example I found that you can use!
  • Make them have flaws – and make these flaws matter. No, not the flaws like ‘stubborn’. Well, I guess you can have those flaws, but make them have more flaws than that! Maybe they’re bad at school subjects? Maybe they act first, think later? What you also need to do with these flaws is make them matter to the story. For example, in the book I’m writing, my MC is terrified to riding – but to save a horse from going to the knackers yard, she has to overcome those fears and ride him in an event (cliche, I know). There’s no point in their flaw being ‘act first, think later’ if everything always works out fine!
  • Make them have quirks. Everyone has quirks. Maybe your character is superstitious and throws salt over their shoulder if they spill any. Maybe they salute magpies. One of my characters, Cal, always bites his lip and Alice tells him off for it. Make these quirks continuous throughout the book, if they’re going to be – or, if they have a dramatic character development, maybe they realise that they have to get rid of these quirks. Maybe they develop as a nervous tick. If you can’t think of any quirks, sit in a busy coffee shop, with a notebook and pen, and just people watch. You’ll be amazed.
  • Make them develop as a character. There’s no point in a book where the MC stays continuous all the way throughout. They change because what’s happening around them means they have to. Make sure that your story flows with these changes, too.
  • Make your descriptions of a character strong enough that the reader can easily paint a picture of them in their minds. Have them toss a strand of brown hair over their shoulder. Maybe they feel sweat on pale palms. They wipe a red, cold nose. They hit their head on the top of the bus, or can’t fit in the bus seats. For your reader to emphasis with someone, they have to have an image of them in their minds – and if you don’t make it, they will, and, to you, what they make might be wrong to how they actually are. For more info, click here!
  • Make their personality differ from others. That’s what makes your character stand out, and, if you look around, you’ll see that real life people have different personalities from their friends, too; their likes, dislikes, etc.
  • Eating, sleeping and pooping. I’m pretty sure I’ve done a post on this before – ah, yes, here it is. Just make sure you keep this one in mind.
  • Don’t rule out religions and other races. For example, a Satanic character. Or a character that is a black male, but isn’t as buff as most stereotypical books say. Don’t be afraid to research stuff like this, or ask about it. If you go to school/college, there’s bound to be an RE teacher that you can ask about religions!
  • Keep their actions human. If they’ve just broken up with someone they love, or someone they love has dumped them for no reason, they’re bound to be upset, for a few hours at the very least. If someone’s died, they are going to mourn. You want your characters to appear human, they have to act human. If they’ve just been sick, they aren’t going to be stuffing their faces in the next minute.
  • Make sure that they have a motive. And no, I’m not just talking about the bad guy here. Sometimes the good guys need a motive – if they think that there’s a high chance of dying shortly, are they really going to go to that war? Do they need someone to give them a push? *Cough*Coulson*Cough*.

I cannot really think of any more. If you need any more tips, look at your friends or family. What makes them seem real (apart from the fact that they are)? Do they try and do a good turn every day? Do they say a prayer each night? Carry around a notebook and jot down anything that you could put with a character to make them seem more real to your readers – because isn’t that just what you want?

Hope that helped!

Questions, hints, thoughts? Shoot. 😀

The Unknown Soldier {Short Story}

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The Unknown Soldier

The Unknown Soldier 

Wordcount: 866
Prompt: a story set in the 1920s


In June 1918, I died.

It was at the Battle of Belleau Wood. I was just one of the 1811 killed.

The bullet wounds hurt as they ripped jagged holes in my skin and pierced my internal organs. I was only hit in the stomach, nearly cut in half by machine guns, and it took me a whole, seemingly everlasting minute to die, writhing on the ground with my blood pouring all over the mud. That is the only thing I remember. The pain, the agonising pain. I cannot even remember what my name was. Perhaps that is a side effect of dying.

Dying was not like how I expected. It was not white as some people think. It was grey. Swirling grey in front of my eyes, until I flooded into nothingness. And then…I was nowhere. Floating.

I turned and could see my body, mangled and broken, full of bullet holes. An empty corpse, only identified by a bloody US army uniform.

And then, I forgot. The body below; I did not know who it was. I did not know who I was. I just knew that I was rising, and then I was amongst others, like me. The dead.

I am pretty sure I have a body as I am now – I can move around and do all sorts. But I still do not know who I am.

Others remember. Maybe it is me. Maybe it was my fault I forgot. Perhaps, I think now, perhaps I wanted to forget. Maybe I was a bad person.

And now I watch the last body I saw being placed in a tomb at the Memorial Amphitheatre. I guess that it is me, but I still do not know his name. I have followed this body around whilst I am enjoying being dead. Being nothing. It is great, being nothing; there’s no pain, or conscience.

If I was that soldier, I guess I must have killed some people, but right now, that does not bother me. Strangely. I reckon it is because I am dead. I died, like the ones I slaughtered did. We are quits.

I am not sure if I would rather be alive. I would like to have all my memories – family, friends, who I actually was. We even have birth and death days in this place I am in (for I do not know what it is called) but, because I do not know mine, I am always left out. I have been given a death day, of course, the day I arrived, but because I was floating in nothingness for a seemingly long time, I do not know if that is the actual day.

I can watch what is happening as if through a translucent veil from where ever I am. Through the nothingness as other souls join us silently above the Earth. I have even met Napoleon as I float around.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is what they are calling it. A body, brought from France, being laid, to act as a memorial to all those unknown soldiers. The body that I think is mine just so happens to be the lucky one, and has not just been left on the bloody battlefield to rot.

I can hear the cannon firing now, as a mark of respect. The troops march. I stay.

Floating down (because you can do that in the nothingness), I come to a stand in front of the tomb. People walk through me and pay their respects. I do as well. But not to me: I am not that vain.

I pay my respects to all the fallen soldiers on the day of November 11th, 1921. I thank them for all they did – even the German ones, for I know that many did not know what the cause they were fighting for was. I have met them. I know.

During my time in the war, I climbed over bodies as they were strewn over barbed wire to protect myself. Once, I even used a dead man as a shield to stop myself dying, holding him by his bloodied shirt. I retrieved weapons that had been discarded from cold, unfeeling fingers, and used them to kill more.

I am the Unknown Soldier. I do not know my name, or who I was. I know some of what I did during the war, the most recent memories. Sometimes, I regret what I did. I regret taking lives. I am not proud of it, but I cannot take them back. And as I float up into the nothingness for the last time, an image of a boy comes to mind. I do not know who he is, but he is young, with brown hair and intelligent blue eyes. He is kissed on the head by his mother as he marches to join his regiment, a rifle hastily slung over one shoulder. That boy was me, and I am him. I may not have lived for a long time, but I did my duty and that is something I am proud of. Finally, I have been buried; my body is at rest.

And now, I am, too.


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