The Art of Finishing

1896 Olympic marathon. Public domain photo by Burton Holmes.
1896 Olympic marathon. Public domain photo by Burton Holmes.

Below is my latest submission to Flash! Friday taking the photo prompt above and the theme of “war” as inspiration. I blame the resultant outcome on stumbling a box from my childhood which contained some once fondly loved companions, being the works of pulp writer Sven Hassel.


The Art of Finishing

Sven’s body moved measuredly, untroubled by the torments of the marathon. The cries of the spectators, ten deep, spurred him on as Wembley’s ornate arches crested the horizon.

“London 1948″ flags fluttered from atop the cage ahead, soldiers thrusting bayonets within. The crowd’s energy intensifying as the cage sprung open and the newest participants spilled out ahead of Sven.

He dug deep, everyone else had fallen these last untermensch were nothing. Muscles responding, Sven increased his pace, passing under the archway, into the stadia, the finishing line in sight.

They were metres away now, a frantic maelstrom of shaved heads and tattered rags cloaking skeletal limbs. Sven threw an elbow as he went past, sending one sprawling.

Arms spread wide Sven crossed the line to the pulse of photoflashes. A microphone thrust in his direction, the crowd quieting.

Sven paused, teasing back perfect blonde hair, raising his fist in triumph.



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