Trifecta: The Wanderer

“Gods!”  The soldier next to him smeared at his brow, sweat trickling down his neck. “This forsaken country.”  He smacked at an insect and started to express at length his opinion of the bandits they were here to put down and their painful elusiveness in the height of summer.

Dyan twisted his mouth and looked out across the water.  The heat of Njaia was relentless, and there were days when the drone of the cicadas drilled into Dyan’s head until he could hardly think.  This kind of waiting was the worst thing he could think of, and he wanted to leave more than he could say.  The campaign had been too long, too slow, and he was starting to feel like he needed to be somewhere else.

Home, perhaps.  He thought of home sometimes when he was on a campaign, and wasn’t always sure where he was thinking of.  Home was the little house in the city where his wife and his children waited for him.  His oldest, who reminded Dyan startlingly of his father, and the baby Ellin would be almost ready to have by now.  That was home, but sometimes the scent of the grasslands came over him in a giddy wave, and he heard the shuffle of horses and his sister’s laugh.  In the vertiginous space between dreaming and waking, the soldiers around him became his clan striking camp for the spring move.  He was as at home here on campaign as he was anywhere, but…  He had always expected to go back.

For a moment, he saw his son playing with his cousins, a wooden practice sword in his hand, and Ellin watching them from the flap of the clan pavilion.  He smiled and turned away.


Welcome to this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge prompt. This week called for 33 to 333 words on the third definition of the word HOME (noun):

1  a : one’s place of residence : domicile
    b : house

2: the social unit formed by a family living together

3 a : a familiar or usual setting : congenial environment; also :the focus of one’s domestic attention
   b : habitat

If you’re wondering how this fits in to past responses?  Dyan is Cy’s father (more of Cy under the Calere category).  Thanks for reading!

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  1. Lumdog says:

    This is a terrific, well written story. And great response to the prompt. Many places can be home.

  2. Paula J says:

    I love this line: there were days when the drone of the cicadas drilled into Dylan’s head until he could hardly think. Very vivid.

  3. I think home can be more than one place in our memory. I like how you caught current, and childhood, here. Excellent use of the prompt.

  4. Gina says:

    I agree with the premise of your story. Home CAN be anywhere. Where special people and memories are. (I know cicadas. I got the imagery here). Nicely written!

  5. ah, you captured a couple points in this great piece. home is where the heart is and the desire to be in that security and love that home provides. well done.

  6. May says:

    I totally get how this fits the guidelines. I was just talking to one of my daughters about her college experience. She talked about how when she was either place (home or school) she was happy, but aware of a longing for the other. Thinking of that conversation gave this piece a real sense of realism for me.

  7. jannatwrites says:

    His heart is torn between two homes, it seems. I enjoyed your story!

  8. Great visuals, you put us there, especially with the balmy weather mirroring ours. Even with the sword reference, you gave it a wide timeframe (past/present/future), which supports the idea that a soldier’s burden and war itself are parts of humanity.

  9. I love how internal so much of this action is.

  10. Michael says:

    ” He had always expected to go back.” That line hit me as being really heart-rending, considering that, as I recall from the Cy story, he doesn’t make it back. C’est tragique.

  11. This is a tight little piece and you’ve captured such a relatable feeling, that longing for more homes than one.
    Thanks for playing along with us again this week. We hope to see you back this weekend for the new challenge.

  12. Annabelle says:

    Thanks, all!

    Michael, I have to admit, I felt a little bad for Dyan while writing this, knowing that he was never going to make it back to his clan.

  13. I love how this gives a glimpse backward in your writing. It’s lovely. And tragic.

  14. Jester Queen says:

    “In the vertiginous space between dreaming and waking”

    That sentence was simply perfect. It offset the mood perfectly.

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