Alexander Night: A Short Story
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Alexander, who starred for the Louisville Cardinals before the Packers made him a first-round draft pick in , was carted to the locker room after injuring the shoulder during the third quarter. He did not return to the game. Alexander, 24, has one interception this season and five over four National Football League seasons. Dave Clark Cincinnati Enquirer. The play went on for a few minutes longer, but feeling that our host was no longer interested in the game, we withdrew one after the other, and repaired to our respective quarters, after having exchanged a few words upon the probability of there soon being a vacancy in the regiment.
The next day, at the riding school, we were already asking each other if the poor lieutenant was still alive, when he himself appeared among us. We put the same question to him, and he replied that he had not yet heard from Silvio. This astonished us. He received us as usual, but did not utter a word about the event of the previous evening. Three days passed, and the lieutenant was still alive. Silvio did not fight. He was satisfied with a very lame explanation, and became reconciled to his assailant. This lowered him very much in the opinion of all our young fellows.
Want of courage is the last thing to be pardoned by young men, who usually look upon bravery as the chief of all human virtues, and the excuse for every possible fault. But, by degrees, everything became forgotten, and Silvio regained his former influence. I alone could not approach him on the old footing. Being endowed by nature with a romantic imagination, I had become attached more than all the others to the man whose life was an enigma, and who seemed to me the hero of some mysterious drama.
He was fond of me; at least, with me alone did he drop his customary sarcastic tone, and converse on different subjects in a simple and unusually agreeable manner. But after this unlucky evening, the thought that his honor had been tarnished, and that the stain had been allowed to remain upon it in accordance with his own wish, was ever present in my mind, and prevented me treating him as before. I was ashamed to look at him. Silvio was too intelligent and experienced not to observe this and guess the cause of it. This seemed to vex him; at least I observed once or twice a desire on his part to enter into an explanation with me, but I avoided such opportunities, and Silvio gave up the attempt.
From that time forward I saw him only in the presence of my comrades, and our confidential conversations came to an end. The inhabitants of the capital, with minds occupied by so many matters of business and pleasure, have no idea of the many sensations so familiar to the inhabitants of villages and small towns, as, for instance, the awaiting the arrival of the post. On Tuesdays and Fridays our regimental bureau used to be filled with officers: some expecting money, some letters, and others newspapers. The packets were usually opened on the spot, items of news were communicated from one to another, and the bureau used to present a very animated picture. Silvio used to have his letters addressed to our regiment, and he was generally there to receive them.
One day he received a letter, the seal of which he broke with a look of great impatience. As he read the contents, his eyes sparkled. The officers, each occupied with his own letters, did not observe anything. I hope that you will not refuse to dine with me for the last time. All his things were already packed; nothing remained but the bare, bullet-riddled walls. We sat down to table. Our host was in an excellent humor, and his gayety was quickly communicated to the rest. Corks popped every moment, glasses foamed incessantly, and, with the utmost warmth, we wished our departing friend a pleasant journey and every happiness. When we rose from the table it was already late in the evening.
After having wished everybody good-by, Silvio took me by the hand and detained me just at the moment when I was preparing to depart. The guests had departed, and we two were left alone. Sitting down opposite each other, we silently lit our pipes. Silvio seemed greatly troubled; not a trace remained of his former convulsive gayety. The intense pallor of his face, his sparkling eyes, and the thick smoke issuing from his mouth, gave him a truly diabolical appearance. Several minutes elapsed, and then Silvio broke the silence. You may have observed that I care very little for the opinion of other people, but I like you, and I feel that it would be painful to me to leave you with a wrong impression upon your mind.
He paused, and began to knock the ashes out of his pipe. I sat gazing silently at the ground. You will admit, however, that having the choice of weapons, his life was in my hands, while my own was in no great danger. I could ascribe my forbearance to generosity alone, but I will not tell a lie. I looked at Silvio with astonishment. Such a confession completely astounded me.
Six years ago I received a slap in the face, and my enemy still lives. My character is well known to you: I am accustomed to taking the lead. From my youth this has been my passion. In our time, dissoluteness was the fashion, and I was the most outrageous man in the army. We used to boast of our drunkenness; I beat in a drinking bout the famous Bourtsoff, of whom Denis Davidoff has sung.
Duels in our regiment were constantly taking place, and in all of them I was either second or principal. My comrades adored me, while the regimental commanders, who were constantly being changed, looked upon me as a necessary evil. Never in my life have I met with such a fortunate fellow! My supremacy was shaken. Dazzled by my reputation, he began to seek my friendship, but I received him coldly, and without the least regret he held aloof from me.
I took a hatred to him. His success in the regiment and in the society of ladies brought me to the verge of despair. I began to seek a quarrel with him; to my epigrams he replied with epigrams which always seemed to me more spontaneous and more cutting than mine, and which were decidedly more amusing, for he joked while I fumed. At last, at a ball given by a Polish landed proprietor, seeing him the object of the attention of all the ladies, and especially of the mistress of the house, with whom I was upon very good terms, I whispered some grossly insulting remark in his ear. He flamed up and gave me a slap in the face. We grasped our swords; the ladies fainted; we were separated; and that same night we set out to fight. I was standing at the appointed place with my three seconds.
With inexplicable impatience I awaited my opponent. The spring sun rose, and it was already growing hot. I saw him coming in the distance. He was walking on foot, accompanied by one second. We advanced to meet him. He approached, holding his cap filled with black cherries. The seconds measured twelve paces for us. I had to fire first, but my agitation was so great, that I could not depend upon the steadiness of my hand; and in order to give myself time to become calm, I ceded to him the first shot. My adversary would not agree to this. It was decided that we should cast lots. The first number fell to him, the constant favorite of fortune.
He took aim, and his bullet went through my cap. It was now my turn. In a train carriage in Italy during WW1, several passengers talk about their sons who have been sent to war. They argue over who among them feels the most grief. Some of the themes in War include sacrifice, patriotism, and intellectualizing our emotions. A man is packing his suitcase to leave home for good. He and his wife have an argument that escalates quickly. This is an example of a minimalist story, stripped down and without judgment, leaving readers to interpret for themselves.
Read "Popular Mechanics" words. Michael Obi is appointed headmaster of an African school. He and his wife are eager to modernize it and educate the locals, ridding them of their superstition. Obi restricts access to the school grounds even though the use of a path running through is very important to local religious beliefs. Read "Dead Men's Path" 1, words. Nancy was downcast. For a few minutes she became skeptical about the new school; but it was only for a few minutes. Her little personal misfortune could not blind her to her husband's happy prospects. A husband and wife are doing the dishes together when the question of interracial marriage arises.
They have different views on the subject. The husband wants to drop it, but the wife wants to talk it out. The narrator is educated, weak, and Jewish; he knows he won't be readily accepted by the soldiers. He has to find a way to fit in. Read "My First Goose" 1, words. The injured narrator seeks shelter in an abandoned mansion. There are many paintings with an accompanying book that describes them. The narrator focuses on a painting of a young woman and looks up the story of when she modeled for the portrait. Read "Oval Portrait" 1, words.
The Chateau into which my valet had ventured to make forcible entrance, rather than permit me, in my desperately wounded condition, to pass a night in the open air, was one of those piles of commingled gloom and grandeur which have so long frowned among the Appennines, not less in fact than in the fancy of Mrs. To all appearance it had been temporarily and very lately abandoned. We established ourselves in one of the smallest and least sumptuously furnished apartments. Marc and Alice are out for supper when he sees his ex-wife seated nearby. They talk about his ex and their new happiness.
Read "The Other Wife" 1, words. The announcement of a new headmaster puts a female teacher in a haze. He had been her private tutor many years ago and had taken advantage of the relationship. Read "The Answer Is No" 1, words. Marta, a nineteen-year-old, lets herself fall off a skyscraper balcony after looking at the rich, important people in the city. Read "The Falling Girl" 1, words. In ten years of taking evening walks, Leonard Mead has never met up with another person; it's common for everyone to stay inside and watch television. He is spotted by the police and approached. Read "The Pedestrian" 1, words. For more science fiction stories under 2, words , see the bottom of this article. Ethel and Rupert have five sons. Read "Skipper" 1, words. A city is surrounded by a wall shaped like an orange.
The leader finds out that the neighboring city, Kwan-Si, is going to build a wall shaped like a pig. Since a pig can eat an orange, the citizens are worried that their city will suffer and Kwan-Si will prosper. Life was full of symbols and omens. Demons lurked everywhere. Death swam in the wetness of an eye, the turn of a gull's wing meant rain, a fan held so, the tilt of a roof, and, yes, even a city wall was of immense importance. At a dinner party, a spirited discussion breaks out over whether women can keep calm in a crisis. Read "The Dinner Party" words.
While reading a paperback novel, the narrator discovers an alien threat to Earth. The author casually describes beings with inhuman abilities. Chaim the carpenter returns to his town. He is barely recognizable. He is the first Jew to return since the occupation. Others soon follow. The narrator remembers a feeling from her childhood when she was unselfconscious about her body and appearance. They decide to read some of her old letters, which reveals an old secret. In ancient China, Emperor Yuan is relaxing when a servant excitedly gives him the news that a man was seen flying with wings.
Read "The Flying Machine" 1, words. A local despot proclaims that all aged people are to be put to death. A poor farmer prepares to let his mother die in a humane way—by bringing her to a mountain and leaving her there. Read "The Aged Mother" words. They keep crashing in, and high tide is approaching. This story has no human or animal characters. Read "The Wave" 1, words. It was nearly high tide. But the sea moved so violently that the two reefs bared with each receding wave until they seemed to be long shafts of steel sunk into the bowels of the ocean. The thick manes of red seaweed were sucked stiff by each fleeing wave.
On a late Sunday afternoon, a husband and wife sit in the park while their three-year-old son, Larry, plays in the sand. There's only one other child there. This other boy throws sand in Larry's direction, narrowly missing him. Larry's mother tells the boy to stop. Read "Sunday in the Park". Here are some stories that will get plenty of laughs and provoke some serious discussions as well. Speaker 1 reports that they've discovered a planet where all the inhabitants are entirely made of meat.
Speaker 2 is confused; he wants to locate the beings who sent out the radio signals, not meat. Read "They're Made Out of Meat" words. While at the opera, a government office manager sneezes, accidentally spraying the man in front of him, a fellow office manager. He apologizes profusely but isn't satisfied that the matter is closed. Read "The Death of a Government Clerk" 1, words. It is not reprehensible for anyone to sneeze anywhere.
Peasants sneeze and so do police superintendents, and sometimes even privy councilors. All men sneeze. Tchervyakov was not in the least confused, he wiped his face with his handkerchief, and like a polite man, looked round to see whether he had disturbed any one by his sneezing. But then he was overcome with confusion. Read "The School" 1, words. Egbert tries to break the ice with his wife whom he had argued with earlier. Read "The Reticence of Lady Anne" 1, words. Here are some short stories that are appropriate for middle school students. These stories deal with a variety of themes and are easy to read. They are great to use as an introduction to different styles of writing.
A passive and put-upon man has a series of daydreams while driving his wife on her weekly errands. Read "Walter Mitty" New Yorker, 2, words. Miss Brill, a middle-aged woman, takes her weekly Sunday walk in the park to observe and listen to people. She overhears some remarks that upset her routine. Read "Miss Brill" 2, words. An English military captain wins all his campaigns and continues to advance his career despite blundering at every turn. Read "Luck" 1, words. This verdict was a great surprise to me.
If its subject had been Napoleon, or Socrates, or Solomon, my astonishment could not have been greater. Two things I was well aware of: that the Reverend was a man of strict veracity, and that his judgement of men was good. Therefore I knew, beyond doubt or question, that the world was mistaken about this hero: he was a fool. So I meant to find out, at a convenient moment, how the Reverend, all solitary and alone, had discovered the secret. A young man buys a love potion, but is surprised to find it only costs a dollar. The merchant sells another product at a much higher price to make up for it.
Read "The Chaser" 1, words. A woman recounts the time she spent in the country with her lover and realizes that he viewed the same events differently. Read "Snow" words. A man resumes reading a novel that he had started a few days earlier. The man who's reading becomes immersed in the story. Read "A Continuity of Parks" words. A scientist on a deserted island conducts experiments to try to increase the intelligence of a rat.
Read "Barney" words. The entire story is only words long, so there's no need for me to say anything else about it. Read "Nicholas Was A man tries to get an extension on his mortgage payments. His family waits for him on the front porch, eager to know if the house will be lost. Read "Home" words. Allison, thirty-five, and her husband Clark, seventy-eight, carve pumpkins in the evening until one o'clock the next morning.