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Do You See A Demon?

Updated on October 13, 2015

George Washington's Private Journals

General George Washington stood near the fire-place and was wondering why men commit such violent acts. He knew the British powers that be would never sanction rape parties or the slaughter of innocent women and children. It's just the men and the evil the men do. He wondered what evil his men would do once he gave them the range to seek out freedom.

Silence, then a frigid “Freedom is not free,” he whispered. “It never has been, and it never will be.”

The following week, there was a more sinister evil establishing itself at Washington's camp. Patriot agents had reported that the British had so wanted to take New York. The General didn't know whether to meet the British head on, or find out who has been killing his guards during the night.

The General's second in command came into Washington's tent with his arms folded behind his back trying to stand at attention.

“At ease, Paul,” said the General.

“Four more guards were found with their throats cut sir. That's 7 in two nights.”

Washington grimaced.

“We're needed East,” the second in command added.

“We're going to allow the British to take New York,” the General paused. “Find out who is killing our guards. Then we head east to retake New York.”

“Not easy.”

“I'm not going to have my men murdered during our quest,” said the General. “We find out who is killing my men!”

“Maybe trying to protect New York is what we should mission first.”

The General shook his head.

“George, I really must protest.”

The General thought about the hardship, the weather abuse, and hunger that his men suffered during their quest for freedom. He knew that ignoring the murders was just another slap in their faces. He couldn't allow that to happen.

“Sir?”

He burned with anger as he leaned toward his second in command. “I said we let them take New York!”

Captain Caleb Woodall entered the tent almost forgetting to announce his arrival. He stopped frozen in his tracks, but the General just turned away from him.

“What is it, Captain?” asked the second in command.

“Major Sheff, General Washington,” he paused. “The murders will stop now.”

That news completely turned Washington around to face the captain.

“Here, on campus?”

“Actually Chief Running Horse's night guard witnessed the murder of Chester Riley last night, but couldn't confront the killer right away. They had some reservation.”

“Why?” asked the captain.

“He said one of the murderers was a woman.”

“A woman?” the General added.

“The married couple we picked up a few days back.”

“The Pacifists?” the General questioned.

The captain nodded.

“We do have the killers, right?” asked the General.

“Just the woman,” replied the captain.

“The male?”

“Impaled sir, by nearly twenty five Indian arrows.”

The General cocked his head to one side in confusion.

“Sir, the male tried to get away, but the Indians stopped him in his tracks, literally,” he explained.

The General turned away from the captain in order to contemplate the situation. The Indians were fearsome when measured in numbers. The death of the male Pacifist must have sent his ghost screaming toward Hell.

The Indians stayed pretty constant in the area, during the revolution. They were full of energy, they ran faster, rode faster, but never lost that touch of humanity.

“What do we do with the woman?” asked the second in command.

“We have no time to try her,” said the General softly. “Firing squad, immediately.”

“But General, she's a woman.”

“That was an order!”

“Aye sir,” the second in command turned to the captain and dismissed him.

“Go with him,” said the General. “Make sure the ordered is carried out swiftly.”

“George,” the second in command paused. “When you look in the mirror, do you see a demon?”

“Dismiss!” Washington barked.

When the second in command turn to exit he heard Washington clear his throat as if wanted him to wait.

“I do Paul, I do,” he answered as his second in command closed his eyes and exited the General's tent...


*

© 2015 Frank Atanacio

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    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 24 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Wow, Frank. This riveting story gives new meaning to the phrase, “War is hell,” and much more, reminiscent of your two other historical flash fiction shorts with GW. Great, compelling thought-provoking.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 24 months ago from New York

      Don't we all see demons? Damn Frank you just keep going higher and higher. I couldn't stop reading and then the turn of events having a woman slitting guards throats!

      You must have such an interesting mind.

      Voted all but funny. Pinned.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 24 months ago from The Beautiful South

      ...and so justice is...great writing...true to life...and death.

      ^+ as always

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 24 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      The decisions of the really great men, I want no part of. Wonderful job on this story, Frank. Lot's of emotion was packed in these few words.

    • savvydating profile image

      Yves 24 months ago

      What a fabulous story. Being a commander-in-chief with guts is an awful and powerful thing. General Washington, America's greatest. If he saw a demon, it was the image of atrocities that come as a result of making hard, unpopular decisions, but which are certainly amplified if a leader shrugs away his responsibility towards freedoms cause. If only our current leaders had the kind of courage General Washington had. I suspect our current leaders see these demons in a much more benign way, unfortunately. Great piece. Your writing is riveting. Up, awesome.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I happen to love historical fiction and you do it damned well. Nice job my friend.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 24 months ago from Shelton

      Genna East and Til... thank you for visiting my demon... bless you guys

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 24 months ago from Shelton

      thank you cam and Billybuc for visiting my page bless you guys :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 24 months ago from Shelton

      Jackie thanks for reading my flash.. bless you

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 24 months ago from Shelton

      thank you so much savvydating for your wonderful comment bless you

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 24 months ago from Escondido, CA

      Wow! A great story Frank. Thank you for sharing and too the message shared. Plus, having an example for writing to learn from as fiction writing is an avenue I wish to explore in the nearing future. I always appreciate your well written stories and poetry.

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 24 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      You know how to weave a story quite well I may add. War does bring out the worst in humankind. War turns humankind into demons of the very worst and hellish order.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 24 months ago from southern USA

      My Dear Virtual Friend, Frank,

      I can't get enough of your flashes, especially these historic fiction pieces ...for you are continuing to raise the bar to everyone's enjoyment; I have no doubt! Honestly, I believe you have won the number one spot in my heart here ...as far as flash fiction and short stories go.

      I found it interesting how you reiterated the couple as Pacifists, when in reality (well, fiction reality), she was a murderer. Poor guards ... probably didn't see it coming as it is natural, I would guess, for men to let down their guard, as in their minds they do not see a woman as a threat. However, your story tells otherwise. Tough decisions had to be made, just as they should be made by today's leaders.

      I voted this one up, of course, plus awesome, interesting, useful because it is helpful in noting how great flash fiction is written, and finally, beautiful because of your gift in writing. Tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

      Bless you real good

      (Oh, Tess's Southern Hospitality Café was closed today due to a family celebration. However, it will be open early in the morning, Monday.)

      Hugs : )

    • profile image

      Lee Cloak 24 months ago

      Great writing Frank, great dialogue, the title grabbed a hold of me the minute it popped up on screen, very enjoyable, fantastic historical fiction, voted up, Lee

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 24 months ago from Shelton

      My dear sweet virtual Faith.. thanks so much for checking my page out.. and I really love flashing you.. err I mean having you enjoy my shorts.. err.. glad you are my dear virtual friend who loves hot flashes.. :) Frank

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 24 months ago from Shelton

      thanks so much gmwilliams, tsmog and Lee cloak for stopping by and visiting.. bless you guys :)

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 24 months ago from Nibiru

      nice general, i would execute her on spot! good one frank.

    • dghbrh profile image

      deergha 24 months ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      Very engaging ... Frank , and you write very beautiful and with every new work your standard is simply getting better. You are earning a big time fan sure.

      Votes up and shared.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 24 months ago from Shelton

      Jodah and Clive thanks so much for visiting my journals... :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 24 months ago from Shelton

      thanks so much dghbrh.. bless you :)

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 24 months ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Frank, this is incredible work! I'm amazed at how high you've raised the bar with so few words. Flash fiction at it's very best. I've missed a few of your latest work, but I'll be catching up. My best always

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 24 months ago from USA

      Historical flash fiction has an expert in Frank Atanacio. What fine work!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 24 months ago from The Caribbean

      I guess that demons do appear if the situation warrants it. Your stories includes possibilities which don't show up anywhere else. You're a creator.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 24 months ago from southern USA

      Funny man : ) maybe you should try your hand at humor the next time around ...

      Bless you

    • Sara Sarwar Riaz profile image

      Sara Sarwar Riaz 24 months ago from Michigan, USA

      Greatly penned as always but loved the underlying theme. The demons that surface in different situations… A man of power is certainly faced with a myriad of them.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 24 months ago from Shelton

      tobusiness and Flourish thank you so much for stopping by

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 24 months ago from Shelton

      MsDora and Faith oh virtal Faith.. bless you guys :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 24 months ago from Shelton

      thank you for reading my flash Sara.. bless you

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 24 months ago

      This tale says that it is 'Flash Fiction' Frank but you have made it seem so real. I guess that George and his men were not attacked by the indians because him and his men did not bother the indians. Probably George saw the demon because that he felt guilty for all of the lives that he had taken.

      You have done well in emphasizing what it was like in war back then and how they felt they felt about events which went on. I voted this up, shared and pinned it.

      Kevin

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 24 months ago from Shelton

      thanks so much examiner 1 for reading my flash :)

    • LadyFiddler profile image

      Joanna Chandler 24 months ago from On planet Earth

      Frank you sounding like you was there lol hence the reason for writing such a good story , he he he.

      Thanks for sharing another piece of your creative writing with us.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 24 months ago from Shelton

      Lady thank you so much :)

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 23 months ago from SW England

      Sorry I missed this one; got lost in the catch-up time!

      Brilliant as ever.

      Your conversation with Faith Reaper had me laughing out loud!! An entertainment within the entertainment.

      Ann

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 23 months ago from Shelton

      thank you for stopping by annart..bless you

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 23 months ago from southern USA

      Sogni d'oro

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 23 months ago from Shelton

      sweet dreams to you too

    • anemixflarie profile image

      Anemix 20 months ago

      Frank, wow, I had never read anything like this, aside from what one learns in school, awesome! :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 20 months ago from Shelton

      thank you anemix :)

    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 15 months ago

      Poor thing is just cashews. George still has to act but can't without becoming exactly what he is fighting against. You've masterly set up his board for such a lovely case of zugzwang.

      "Fortunately, just when things were blackest, the war broke out." seems very fitting to quote.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 15 months ago from Shelton

      thank you Besarien for stopping by and leaving a comment

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 15 months ago from london

      This one had me. I guess I don't know too much of the American story. But it seems you are living through a particular story and telling it extremely well. Bravo!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 15 months ago from Shelton

      mantita thanks for reading my flash

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