More often than not, it seems, fiction arises out of real events. In this short piece by 13-year-old Sonia Joie, we find the fictional diary entry that could just as well have been written by an actual soldier in the field after Christmas Day 1914.
December 26, 1914
We all stopped fighting yesterday. A miracle of Christmas, it was. I remember the Germans singing Silent Night by their Christmas trees. Then me and plenty of others began The First Noelle. That must’ve been one of the only cheerful moments there’s been so far here on this Belgium battlefield.
We made our way then onto the charred ground between the trenches. A man with whitening hair met me from the other side and shook my hand.
His eyes, like most everyone else’s, were sad and worn, having seen so much they wish they could just forget. I gave him a smile, and joined him by a fire with a few of my friends and a few people I’d never seen before, since you never really get this close to the other side of the field.
The man who’d walked up to me said his name was Dieter, meaning “Army of the People.” Strange, a man of that name fighting in an army of his people.
Ernest, a good friend of mine since we started the war, brought out some whiskey and shared it amongst us.
I talked with Dieter and found him pleasant company. I noticed around me as he talked, a soccer game starting, and men exchanging Christmas gifts.
“Back home, ” Dieter told me, “I have a wife, Letta.” He told me of her, and then his home and how he used to spend his Christmases. “Not any small thing, Christmas.” He remarked. I agreed, and leaned closer to the warmth of the flames.
I stayed by that fire with the same people until Christmas was over, and we were called back to our lines. Now that the holiday had ended, we were told, the fighting would resume.
I can’t deny the fact that, of course, I’d hoped the truce would last. I told Dieter goodbye, and headed towards our lines, hoping that, maybe, Dieter would survive the war, and if he didn’t, that I wouldn’t be the man to shoot him down.
Perhaps you would like to give this fiction writing prompt a try:
1. Go to History.com.
2. Choose an event.
3. Write a diary entry that captures the event.
4. Research names of the region if you like (Sonia did).
Post a link to your piece in the comments if you write.
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