He was handed a shovel and told to dig. He understood the why, but the how was problematic. After four years of semi-starvation, malaria and dysentery he could scarcely lift the shovel, let alone dig. He started to scratch at the earth with the blade of the spade. The ground was hard, but a sudden tropical shower turned everything to unstable slippery mud. At the cost of his remaining reserves of strength the hole started, millimetre by millimetre, to take shape.
‘Not long now. Rest, sleep, peace.’
Uproar, shouting, rat-a-tat shooting on the other side of the compound.
‘God, what now?’
Sound of running feet. Strong hands took his shovel and threw it into the mouth of the shallow grave. Two men supported him, shuffling along, his feet dragging, until he was eased gently down on to the running board of a Jeep. Smooth khaki uniforms and huge white grins in black faces scarcely penetrated his delirium. The world around him receded. Vertigo. Darkness. Nothing.
Between 33 and 333 words for Trifecta, The prompt was to write using the word mouth, with the third definition: something that resembles a mouth especially in affording entrance or exit: as, among others, the surface opening of an underground cavity.
The moment I saw the prompt, I was reminded of a piece of flash fiction I wrote way back, which every critiquer found desperately sad, so I tried to re-write the ending. But I couldn’t. Sorry friends.