Sample of work by Ally Stoyel


LETTER OF WAR                                                                                                  

It's been a year since the war ended, a year since the last gun was fired, a year since the last man was killed. But things are better now. The sound of the guns is almost gone but it lingers like the distant ringing of a persistent bell, constantly being rung to remind us of what happened here.

The earth has overturned itself and given life to the crops which had almost completely ceased to grow amongst the shell fragments, remnants of food and most of all the disease ridden corpses. The stumps of the cut down trees that had smothered the ground have sprung back to life and are slowly making their way towards the sky sprouting branches and leaves. Beautiful leaves, beautiful coloured leaves of red and orange, yellow and green. Colours I had missed and since learned to forget as the world was turned monochrome by the smoke and mud, and the rain that pelted from the heavens as if to warn the men of both sides that it would not desist until there was peace. The long lost blue has finally shone through the pall of black that remained even after the war, as if mourning the fallen soldiers.

The biggest change is the smell. The stench of rotting flesh and insides that were on the outside has disappeared. The smell of death is different, not the smell of corpses but an old smell, a smell that remains even after the killing has stopped. But there are flowers now, whose rich aroma fills the air with the birds song and they blossom, reminding me of the new beginning that we've been given.

Sometimes I can still see them, a hand trying to sneak it's way up out of the soil, new soil, rich and damp and smelling of something different. Maybe I just think I can see them. No, I feel them. They're here in the earth, in the sky in the very air that has cleared of smoke and come to smell sweet. They're here in me, but they're almost gone.

Pierre Theroux