She looked as though she’d spent her whole life in the sea. Her hair was coarsened by sun and saline, and she was all freckles and the ropy muscles of a swimmer. None of it concerned the prince.
“I know you can’t talk,” he said, and offered her a notepad. “Perhaps you can write.”
She smiled back, her teeth looking oddly nacreous, and picked up a pen. She scribbled the whole story down for him, and when he’d read it all he took her in his arms and gave her a kiss.
“That was easier than I expected,” she said.
Author’s Note: A 100-word version of The Little Mermaid requires plot shortcuts.
Captain Wright returns to the dugout with dark eyes and a white pinch of tension around his mouth.
“Whisky,” he says.
“Quiet out?” Jack asks as he pours two glassfuls.
“Yes,” says Wright. His hand twitches. “I came across Bennett. Lent him a smoke. ”
Wright barks a laugh.
“Bennett bought it last week.”
Jack doesn’t know what to say. That to die and come back here would be unthinkable; that Wright is mad; that they are all mad.
“Are you all right?”
“No.” Wright dashes back a generous measure of whisky. “The little swine still has my lighter.”
Author’s Note: I can’t imagine soldiers on the Western Front being particularly fazed by ghosts. Case in point, the moving yet matter-of-fact Charles Sorley poem “When You See Millions Of The Mouthless Dead” which inspired the title of this piece.