Short Story: The Sniper's Farewell

ShortbreadDavid MelvilleShort Stories › The Sniper's Farewell

Please log in or join for free to listen, download, rate and comment on this story. You can read online without being a member!

About this Short Story

Written by
David Melville

Narrated by
Drew Carter Cain


Auld Tam Gourley lies in a hospital bed. To the outside world he is an old man in a coma; to Tam Gourley he's back in the trenches trying to win the war...


  • 1523 Words
  • 38 Comments
  • 80% Community Rating
  • 18212 Views

Add to Bookshelf

Competitions & Prizes

This story has not yet been entered into any short story writing competitions.

Auld Tam Gourley lay in the bed nearest the door of the ward. He had fallen into the coma that would end his days - only a few hours were left to him. To any who observed, he was entering that state of death with dignity. He breathed in deeply and exhaled loudly, and slight nervous twitches showed upon his tired, old face. His mind was active and reliving all his life’s experiences, and as each event occurred, so the relevant expression appeared upon his face.

“Mr Gourley.” The student nurse’s voice tried to break into his coma.

“Mr Gourley.” He heard but could not react.

‘Poor girl,’ he thought. ‘She is trying so hard, and she’s so young.’ He could feel the coolness of her comforting hand on his forehead.

`“Mr Gourley, I’m going to wash your face now,” the voice said, just before the wash sponge touched his face.

The roughness of the towel rasped sensations through the skin of his face, causing…

  Read Short Story     Download Short Story     Listen to Short Story


Please login or join for free to rate this story.


Robin Pilcher Director said "Editor's Pick - As this was one of the first stories audio-ed for Shortbread, I happened to find a scratched CD download of it kicking about the floor of my car. I stuck it back in the CD machine and listened to it again – and again. It’s still in there! David has written a clever and touching story and Drew hits every note perfectly in its telling."
8 years ago

Robert Moran said "A well told story from beginning to end. Dialogue is perfect and just enough to bring the human element to the forefront. Snipers are an odd lot at best and seldom understood by most of the human race. Compassion in Health Care is an ingredient that is often lacking, but remains the key to healing success."
5 days ago
Saleh Taha said "I'm sorry...I didn't mean to rating it...I'm just was think it's for fast or lower spech"
3 years ago
James Hulings said "Three dimensional in its portrayal of a man and his final hour. Brilliantly interjected with both present and past life moments. Dramatic and moving in its superbly emotional narration. All in all a truly excellent and well penned story and a real pleasure to listen to. James Hulings."
3 years ago
Jacfabel Lopez said "PRETTY story"
3 years ago
Alastair Black said "Clever idea, well handled, topical"
3 years ago
Treva Kennedy said "Incredible artful paralells within the story. Touching and impressive.."
3 years ago
Mandar Dhavale said "Nice story David!!!"
3 years ago
Giovanna Bertino said "It 's the best story I have read so far in this forum, touching, intense, I can't find words to express my feelings. Thank you, soldier David, for your story! All the best Giovanna"
3 years ago
Victor Bort said "The story is great! It doesn't need to be listened. I've just gallopped through it. It was a real pleasure!"
3 years ago
Kevin Thomson said "A great story and really well narrated! The research that has gone into writing this tale clearly shines through."
3 years ago
Ian Christopher said "I really enjoyed listening to this story. The relationship between what was going on in the dying soldier's mind and the young nurse watching him die was very moving. I also liked the narrator's use of tone in his voice to convey this story. Ian Christopher."
3 years ago
Paul Strong said "That was a wonderful story cleverly put together, synchronised. Thank you. Got me thinking. We had a former Royal Marine sniper staying with us. 13 years working in pairs in the obvious places. He introduced himself but told us to call him Arnie, because everyone else did. He's a plumber now. Self employed. Says he misses it, not the work itself but the being part of a team."
4 years ago
Carol Ford Guest Editor said "I didn't listen - only read the story. No lengthy discriptions, just a good solid (and sad) story. Just how I like them. Thank you"
5 years ago
Ann Nicol said "A story well written and being difficult to handle, was cleverly handed."
5 years ago
Deb Armstrong said "I love stories that have a twist at the end, I wasn't sure about it at first but it was written well enough to keep me Spellbound right till the end!"
5 years ago
Gordon Forrest said "I thought the comparison format was very well portrayed and added to the enjoyment of the piece. Well done David."
5 years ago
Jack Newman said "As an ex serviceman I must say that I really enjoyed this story. It was very well written. Only one crit David. Once the sniper has taken the first pressure on the trigger he would never relinquish it to readjust the sight."
5 years ago
Dorothy Spruzen said "I love the way his memories paralleled his dying experience. Well done!"
5 years ago
Sandy Wardrope said "David, you left me an old cynical *** in tears, this was absolutely brilliant , brilliantly told, well scripted and flawless. It could be a movie , if that's a compliment.The story brought things near close to home to me as my old grandfather was one of these sniper guys. Tremendous stuff keep it up. Yours, Sandy W."
5 years ago
Adrian Ford said "Absorbing, unusual and haunting. A well-thought out short; compelling reading. Well done!"
5 years ago
Donna Hermkens said "enjoyed this story, thought it well written and it kept my interest until the end. Thank-you"
5 years ago
Ann Smith said "Though provoking. Who knows what happens at the point of death. Maybe we do relive those moments that change our lives. I liked the interaction of the nurse, her sympathy came across well."
5 years ago
Jeanne Davies said "This made me think of my Grandfather when he fought in France. So many courageous men ... more than all the poppies in all the fields. Left me with a tear, thank you."
5 years ago
David Wardrop said "Grim, gripping and a fantastic example of juxtaposition."
6 years ago
Priti Sugand said "Brilliant story ! The writer has woven the story world beautifully and has managed to blend it in to the serious theme of death. The narrative structure complements the story's need."
6 years ago
David Green said "A fine story...far better suited to this audience than most I have heard. (Oh, am I snickering at those who fuss over trivialities?) Excellent work, thanks"
7 years ago
Christine Human said "beautifully constructed, intrinsically crafted. Touched my heart. As short stories go this is one of the best I have listened to."
7 years ago
David Sharp said "Wonderfully intelligent weaving (and overlapping) of the parallel past and present, very bittersweet and touching."
7 years ago
John Slater said "Very good story. One slight niggle the lee enfield would've been a 303 in old money. They were still in use in the sixties before we went decimal. Maybe just me being pernickety. Enjoyed."
7 years ago
Dorothy Spruzen said "Great story, I found myself right there in the mud, waiting for the kill."
7 years ago
Diane Dickson Guest Editor said "Lovely choice for the Friday story. Beautifully written emotional piece about a dreadful period in history, left me with tears in my eyes. - Thank you - Diane"
7 years ago
Barry O'Leary said "Excellent story and audio. I was there in the trenches and with the nurse until the end. Loved the way David switches between the two mindsets."
7 years ago
Susan Donim said "Wonderful! - Great audio, great story. Captures the past and present brilliantly. I loved the way the story slips from past to present. Great characters and very well constructed."
8 years ago
Gordon Forrest said "Old soldiers never die. - I liked this story very much. It's as fresh as the day you wrote it. Well done David."
8 years ago
James Apps said "Excellent story - This story held my interest all the way. I liked the way the two characters paralled each other's narrative and came together at the end. The tie in with Agnes and Tam as virgins and the final comment of the Nurse was a pleasant ending - very poignant. "
8 years ago
David Cromar said "Inspirational Tale - Unexpected nugget - a short tale that will be long remembered - thank you"
8 years ago
Bill MacKenzie said "Great story - That I liked very much. Thank you."
9 years ago

Read and Download Drama Short Stories

Read The Sniper's Farewell by David Melville and other Drama short stories at Shortbread!
Also, write short stories, enter short story competitions and listen to audio short stories online for free!