This was part of the assessment for a course I'm doing. The challenge was......
In 500 words, write a mini portrait of a character, in either the past or present tense. In this story, note, there needn’t be any significant plot; concentrate instead on describing both character and place, and on conveying a particular mood – and state this mood as the title of your story. (For example: Happiness: Jane had short red hair and ...).
The piece that I have written is yet to be marked, but since it's submitted I can now post it on here! I'm finding that one of the most enjoyable things about writing for tasks and instructions is the research - this bit especially......
Shame: As Mykelti screwed his eyes tightly together to shut away the world the piercing screams of his loved ones, his friends trapped in the village, his wife and four year old daughter Neisha all surrounded him, puncturing his soul and crushing his spirit. Opening them once more the screams were distant but no less real. He heart was pounding through his bare chest, his lungs on fire from the breathless sprint over to the overgrown, stench laden ditch in which he now lay covered in the red dust that fogged the air. The adrenalin, which had carried him to safety, coursed through his veins to such an extent he didn’t notice the baking heat of the midday sun on his broad, ebony back or the blood seeping from the musket round lodged in his muscular shoulder.
A gentle, loving father and husband Mykelti was also a feared Chamba hunter and his body was the perfect specimen, as if carved from the great Aso Rock of his father’s homeland, a towering monolith to the north that filled the fairytales and legends of his childhood. As strong in mind as he was in body how such a proud, strong hearted champion was now left for dead by these invading marauders it was hard to imagine. If only he’d had his spear to hand or heard their arrival, maybe then he’d have stood a chance.
Mykelti had heard of similar raids on the Yoruba to the west and Mbundo to the south but this was the first time his people had seen these armoured ghosts for real, a nightmare he never expected to come true. What shamed him most was not that this fierce, lion of a man was left helpless, unable to get back to save his companions from capture. That time would come. It was a long and arduous trek back to the coast and one he had made a thousand times before. In his brief 25 years he had climbed to a man of great standing in the village and patience was a virtue held in great esteem. The shame that overwhelmed him came as recognised the mungakan dialect of the black raiders assisting these foreign invaders. As he took a deep breath and raised himself to the top of the ditch he realised that he had even traded with them in Bali Nyonga to the north-west. The chagrin of how one people can do this to another, to their kinsmen and brothers, caused his heart to sink and an inferno of emotions swell inside him. Tears began to stream down his face.
As the screams faded, the waft of burning buildings filled his nostrils as they crumbled to the red earth from which they’d sprung and the sun dipped towards the horizon Mykelti steadily, wearily stepped back towards the scene of utter destruction. With each stride the shame and ignomy that he earlier felt changed, warped and evolved. Each movement brought him closer to his family. Closer to revenge.