For how many reasons in the history of humankind were children killed, whether directly like this image or as collateral damage. What cause could be more important than reflecting on what we do and who we leave behind our trail of glory, helpless and dead?
Getting deeper into this painting and for a moment away from the exact moment in history it depicts, we can look at the woman in the middle, put ourselves in her shoes, and think about what she might be feeling while her child or children were taken away from her for some stupid political reason. At that moment, how can a sacrifice be justified at all? There is nothing you can tell to this woman that will ever make her feel better. What could she have done? Could she have planned a revolution—a first revolution of women in a society of men? Maybe, that can be a lead into a bigger story than the one we see in this picture.
We can take the political part of the painting away and think only about the emotional aspect, and how this massacre might change the relationship any woman in this picture has with her husband. Would she ever be the same? How hard would it be to make another baby? Would she resort to abortion if she is ever pregnant again because she cannot take the idea of losing another child again? How would she treat her other children? What might the consequences be for the whole family bond and relationship? Your story might take this road and explore the emotional aftermath of a tragedy like this.
Some characters to bear in mind is the character of the one who ordered the massacre and see what might have happened in their lives afterwards, apart from God’s wrath and retribution. You can take a soldier and think about that soldier deserting the army and planning a revolution, or going on and being lost for the rest of their lives. This soldier might resort to alcohol and be lost until they can find themselves in a situation where they can stop another massacre from happening and turning into a hero one day, while the day before, their hands were stained with the same blood of the same souls they are trying to save now. How can that give them a means of absolution and repentance, if it can ever?
What do you do now...
Write a short story, or a poem about what you can discern from this painting and share a link to your story with us here on Hungry Writer. You can be generous and share a link to this writing prompt on your website or your social media.