Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 4
Challenge #2: Write a story in 300 words or fewer that involves a little-known historical figure and begins in media res.
“Alright, Zhang Xun!” Linghu Chao stamped with his right foot, inadvertently splattering his left with battlefield muck. “It’s been a …fun…four months, but this really has to stop! You’ve got no food, no arrows, and no lumber. My army outnumbers yours twenty to one. Why don’t you come out here and we can talk about this?”
“Why don’t you come in here and we can talk about it?” jeered Zhang Xun, from the top of the ramparts.
Linghu Chao spluttered momentarily. “Do you remember that time a couple of months ago when I sent in, like, six of my best guys to do just that?”
“And you were all like: ‘Oh! I’m convinced! These six guys have put together a really coherent and well reasoned argument! I’ll surrender now! Okay!’”
“And then you beheaded those six guys?”
Linghu Chao spluttered again. “It’s…you see… You’re really screwing me over here, man!”
The soldiers of the Yan Dynasty were looking less and less loyal after four months of Zhang Xun’s nonsense. This particular diplomatic exchange was not helping matters.
“Surrender now, or we’ll just bust right in there! Our fortifications are looking great, but your fortress might just fall down on its own!”
“Okay,” called Zhang Xun. “How about you back off, say, thirty miles so all my guys can retreat.”
“What?” blurted Linghu Chao. “I’m not about to go thirty…” there were mutinous groans from the troops. “Alright, fine!”
Linghu Chao and 40,000 very tired Yan soldiers began to make their way back the way they’d come four months ago.
“They’re not retreating,” said Linghu Chao’s advisor as they crested the first hill. “In fact…” he squinted through his telescope. “Yeah. They’re stealing our tents.”
Linghu Chao put his head in his hands. “I don’t even care anymore.”