The first new short story I’ve written in two years is called “Burma Road.” I got invited at Barnes and Noble to write a story taking place in the world of United States of Japan for their 12 Days of Robot Christmas. I drew on the tragic history that took place along the Burma Road in WWII to talk about the cycles that scar all those involved. I felt really rusty writing the story and even had to ask for a delay so I could wrap my head around it, but it was also very nice to get back to a shorter work. The initial draft was probably double the size, though I whittled it down closer to the 1500 word limit. I wouldn’t mind revisiting these characters at another point. From the opening:
Wars don’t end. Even after both sides sign something saying it does, soldiers know better. Bitterness has no expiration date. There are only reprieves to hate. The Burma Road was built by the Chinese decades ago in their resistance against the Emperor. British supplies were their only lifeline as the Japanese Empire overran the entire eastern front. Since the rail in Indochina and the serpentine road through the Gobi Desert were fraught with dangers, a new path had to be created in British-colonized Burma. Unfortunately, over seven hundred miles of mountains and treacherous valleys split the countries apart. The Chinese had only one option; send a workforce of 200,000 people to carve out the road as fast as they could. Thousands died, but in 1938, they succeeded through sheer will until our forces conquered Burma a few years later.