Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
I came across a writing contest from a New York library, based on the above picture, which is a poster from the World War One era, encouraging people to grow victory gardens. It could be an essay, short story or poem, but had to be under 250 words. The challenge was keeping it under the 250 words and not losing the emotional impact.
It is different than most stories I write, when my mother proof read it she said she expected it to have Cthulhu pop out at the end. I am actually thinking of a similar poster inspired story with a mythos twist. I didn’t win but it was an interesting challenge, so I am going to share it with you.
Sowing Dragon’s Teeth
By David Heath
Word Count. 246
Professor Rubin ran his fingers through the soil. He had found solace in his garden, since he had received the telegram. It comforted him, but tomorrow he would return his once beloved university and resume where he had left off in his classics class.
He had seen the bright cartoonish posters urging Americans to produce their own fruits and vegetables, to free up precious supplies to help the boys overseas to fight the Kaiser. The idea seemed ludicrous to him. What could one small garden do to help the troops? Things changed when he received the notification that his son would not be returning home.
Tomorrow he would return to the university and he would teach the lesson on Cadmus and how he had sowed the dragon’s teeth to make an army of warriors. He had taught the same dry lesson for the past twenty years. Tomorrow would be different. He’d discard his notes and tell his students about the colorful victory garden posters, and how he scoffed at the notion that one person could help in the vast war effort. He knew he would cry as he told them about raising his son, and the pain losing his only child. How working the soil doing his part, no matter how small gave him comfort. He would tell his students the real meaning of the poster and of the dragon’s teeth.
The old man dropped a single seed in the hole and whispered the name “Willie.”