Friday Fictioneers – PTSD

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - Candid Camera 180704

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll



I wake up sweating and sobbing. Even after I force myself to open my eyes, to stop biting the pillow, to stop clawing the sheets, I can still smell the blood. Shaking uncontrollably, I stumble into the kitchen. The crimson ketchup on last night’s plate explodes into my field of view. I dive for cover.

“Pull y’self together, Private.”


I drag myself to my feet and salute. Okay, so he’s dead, but you still gotta salute an officer.

Jimmy’s foot’s lying on the floor.

He’s lucky.

They’ve given him a prosthetic.

Wish they’d give me a new mind.

72 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – PTSD

    • I think you’re almost certainly right, Alice. Both of my grandfathers served in WW1. One made it through physically unscathed, and mentally he seemed at peace. Unless you asked him to talk about the war, and then he wouldn’t. It was too sickening to contemplate. The other grandfather suffered both physical and mental scars until he died prematurely age about 55.
      With very best wishes


      • My grandfather told a handful of war stories, but would never give any more detail and if pressed would get a troubled, distant look in his eye. Most of his war buddies – also physically intact – were the same. Seeing how other vets have fared, I have to say they came out lucky.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dear EagleAye
      Thank you for reading and commenting. Too many people suffer like this, both soldiers and civilians trapped in conflict areas. Thank you for saying that the writing is powerful.
      With very best wishes


      • I am not a sikh but shall just quote the sikh prayer ……..
        Ik­oaʼnkār saṯ nām karṯā purakẖ nirbẖa­o nirvair akāl mūraṯ ajūnī saibẖaʼn gur parsāḏ.
        One Universal Creator God. The Name Is Truth. Creative Being Personified. No Fear. No Hatred. Image Of The Undying, Beyond Birth, Self-Existent. By Guru’s Grace.
        Stress being on NO FEAR.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. This is so painfully true. Often bodies heal quicker than minds and if you have no physical impairment people can see, they wonder what you’re complaining about, as if a mental injury is less serious than a physical one. You captured the man’s torment so well, the impact losing his colleagues has made on him, almost a sense of envy at the man who lost a leg but kept his mind intact.
    Well done, Penny. Sensitively handled and a good voice too

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn
      Thank you for reading, and for your thoughtful comment. Both physical and mental disability can be agonising but, as you say, it is easier to overlook mental suffering because it is largely invisible.
      With very best wishes

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Andi
      Thank you for reading and commenting. The story was as visceral as I could make it. We need to be aware of the inescapable consequences of war, both for our troops and for the civilians caught by the conflict.
      However, if you seriously want to avoid such writing from me in future, note that I tag the post “Dark”; I have several blogger friends who prefer not to read such stories, and I started doing this for their benefit.
      With very best wishes

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your vivid descriptions get your narrator’s predicament across really well. I feel his almost throw away last comment suggests his life will improve.


  3. A young man (veteran) my son went to high school with committed suicide a couple of years back. He was also a gifted musician, but couldn’t escape the horrors of war. He could have certainly used a new mind after returning home. You captured the agony well, Penny. God Bless them every one.


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