If you’re not familiar with the term (and I wasn’t) a lipogram from the Greek ‘to leave out a letter’ is to write with the constraint of not using a certain letter or letters. I belong to a local Writing Group and we recently set ourselves this challenge to write a story on a theme of ‘A walk at midnight’ without using the letter ‘E’. It’s harder than you might think and definitely makes you focus! Here is the story I wrote.
A Final Kiss Goodnight
It’s past midnight and balmy warm with my thoughts so far away. So still and calm a night for our night patrol. A distant hill on a horizon lit by stars and a fading moon sits in shadow. It’s our mission, just to look, to find out, to spot and spy. You’ll do it within an hour, informs our Captain. No harm will fall your way and no hazards to mar your path if you follow instructions, but avoid no man’s land and a fatal smooch with its mud. Our chaps laugh. Faith and trust in my words and follow your map and compass. That distant hill, always to your right. Now go, act swiftly, don’t catch sight of dawn’s rays or a cock’s first crow. Chat softly with your cohorts and bring back your account. Just watch for dawn, our big push, whizzbangs and that mud.
But a waning moon and dark clouds scudding brought driving, soaking rain and hid our hilltop to our right. Shrub and scrub and rock and sapling now mar our trail and our clock is slowly ticking. Our band of six is now down to four as night plays its tricks in our midst. Soon four is two with no cry or sound of warning, just chaps vanishing softly in this swirling mist. Still it rains and now a light wind moans laughing at our plight. It blows away our shawl of night baring all to us, only all is nothing. Totally lost, and now with no map or compass, no waypoints, no hill on our right to act as our pilot. And dawn is now but an hour away.
Mud, it’s found us again. Thick, cloying stinking mud. It sucks at your boots, drags you downwards, grabs at your limbs, saps your soul. No slipping its hold or flying its grasp. I’m caught in no man’s land with dawn approaching. How inauspicious, what can I do.
How I wish I could fly, not back to my position, my chums, my captain, or to our front. No, fly far away and back to my old roost, to hold again in my arms my loving folk, my kith and kin. Alas a vision too far this night, this yawning day.
Dawn is born and proclaims its birth bringing forth purgatory with its warriors raising Cain on wings of war. This malignant doom, it’s all too much, I can’t abscond, I can’t call out. Just shrink into a muddy morass. And so I bow down to this brown liquid clay, its touch warm and soft upon my lips in a fatal drink soothing my throat, a toast to my tomorrow, my final kiss goodnight.