My dear friend Charlie commented on the last post and - unbeknownst to him - reminded me of all the things that were missing from the writing exercise. There were no sensory details to inform and show the reader where and who and what the characters were. So my little brain started churning right at bedtime, of course. I decided to post a rewrite to see the difference it makes and all the things I need to think about when writing even an exercise. I said I was rusty at this. Thanks Charlie. I don't doubt that there are many more things to add, but for now, it was another good exercise!
A snotty teen, who still had a home and family, went to the recruiter’s office to join the army. Walking a mile in the grey, debris-filled streets, he could barely separate one area from another. He breathed in the air mixed with dust. He kicked at the smaller rocks with his holey shoes. Fighting for his rights, fighting to save his country.
This was something he wanted to do.
Wailing began outside in the gutter. The pitch and passion in it made anyone left in the street turn with fright. The teen's mother couldn't bear to have her only child go off to war. She had seen the disturbing affect amongst her friends who even dared to come out of their houses.
A sergeant went outside to console the mother. He'd been through it enough. He knew exactly what to say. It was never easy to deal with the family whether the kids were enlisting or being returned to their families for burial.
The teen watched paralyzed from the waiting room.
Nothing the sergeant said could convince or quiet the grieving mother. She knew she'd never see her son again.
The teen, touched and a little embarrassed by the love his mother displayed, decided to go home and discuss it some more with his mom and dad.
The boy fixed the scarf around his mother and helped her home. They heard the familiar whistle of missiles firing overhead. The mother didn’t even bother to cover her ears anymore.
The smoke rising from their neighborhood sent them hurrying towards it. The remains of a bomb-destroyed house were all that was left of their life. No husband and father, no home. Their side of the street looked like many parts of the city now. A war zone.
The teen's newly widowed mother stood in shock. Tears ran down the boy's face. He smeared the tears and dirt with the back of his hand.
He looked at his mother. They stared at each other for a while. Together, they turned around. Hand in hand, they walked back to the recruiter's office.
This was something he had to do.