The Rifles Are Calling, and I Must Go is the title provided for this month’s Fiction in Fifty Words #Fi50. This exciting 50 word microfiction is managed by Rebecca Douglass on her blog, and you can join in.
Actually, this title wasn’t provided – there was a blank to fill in where I put Rifles. Why rifles? I opened my dictionary at random and scanned through until I made something half sensible. It called to the Sharpe fan in me. It might call to the Hardy in you, I don’t know. The tune to the traditional folk song “Oh, soldier, soldier will you marry me?” ran through my brain as I wrote it.
I’ll classify this one as historical microfiction!
The Rifles Are Calling, and I Must Go
Yes, my darling, I will love you forever. I don’t just want your body, I want your voice, your loving heart, your golden hair.
Of course I’ll be back.
Of course we’ll marry. One, two, maybe three wonderful angels. Well-fed, well-clothed.
And I’ll be rich, when I return.
© J M Pett 2018
The 25th Rifles
Another inspiration from Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe novels is the 25th Rifle company that appears in my Princelings series from the second book onwards. I need to do a short piece for Princelings book 9 featuring Haggis, their redoubtable leader. He was a sergeant once, I think, but he’s been in charge fo so long that I just think of him as Haggis and never give him a title. He’s named for someone’s guinea pig, along with his number 2, Neaps (who rather seems to have gone awol in later books). Haggis was a great concatenation of Sharpe’s two riflemen, Harris and Hagman, who themselves were pretty much inseparable, and were undoubtedly my favourite riflemen.
Here are some pictures for fans to drool over, taken from the South Essex fan club page (the 95th Rifles were part of the South Essex regiment in the books). I think that site is more or less defunct, but Jason Salkey (Harris) still does appearances and is working on a book of the making of Sharpe.