Writing Contest Story #2 By Laura

{Aidyl’s Note: I’m just picking a random order to share the stories in, then y’all can vote! After I post the last story tomorrow, I’ll put the voting poll up.}

Eddie’s War 

A short historical fiction story by Laura Ashley C

It is September of 1918 in Rose Glen, a small town in Texas.

I stand in line, clenching and unclenching my fists nervously. John told me there was a new officer here; maybe, just maybe the office will think I’m old enough thanks to the dirt smeared on my face and the hat I borrowed from Ned. Perfect, wonderful Ned- the first person in town to enlist. Will I ever be like him? I’m interrupted from my reverie by a push from behind. I’m at the front of the line, now. A gruff-looking man glares down at me. No kind Mr. Pearson, our usual recruitment officer, today. “Whad’ya want, boy?” “To enlist, sir.”  He roars. “Enlist? Enlist?!! Pearson puts up with him?” He seems to be addressing the line of chuckling men behind me. Without waiting for an answer, he bellows angrily, “Go home to your mama, boy!”
  I stumble outside into the harsh sunlight, nearly bumping into my sister Alice. “Did he take the money?”She asks eagerly.  I turn my face away, not wanting to tell her there was no time to bribe the man, that he knew I was too young.  That I’ll never be like Ned. Alice is a good sister, however. She doesn’t say anything but “I got the groceries for Mother. “ I nod and we head for home, nearly bumping into our cousin John. John’s my age and always cheerful. He doesn’t look happy today, though. “Have you folks had a letter from Ned?” I tell, him we have had several. Alice gives me a worried glance. “Why do you ask, John?”  “We haven’t had a letter from my brother.  I’m real worried, Alice.  Eddie, do you think-“Alice hisses in an undertone, “Don’t say anymore. Miller’s behind us.” But it’s too late. Miller, the school bully, is here and looking for a fight.
“I heard you!” he sneers. “Are you scared? You’re such a coward. So is your brother! If your big brother’s as cowardly as you, he’s probably dea-. “ I pummel myself into Miller. “Don’t say that!” I cry. I was only trying to stop him, not hurt him, but he slaps my face and I hit him back, hard. He hits me again and I fall. Miller runs off, frightened, and I get up. John thanks me.  Since he had polio when he was young, he can’t move his right leg much now. It’s fine for walking, but fighting-not so much. It angers me that Miller was so mean. Just because John can’t fight doesn’t mean he’s a coward, does it?
  Just after dinner we hear a knock at the door. Dad, a doctor rushes to answer it, because it might be someone needing medical attention. We follow him. John is standing there, sobbing. I see Uncle Tim behind him, looking gray and drawn. John hands Dad a piece of yellow telegraph paper. Dad reads it quickly, and the words hit me harder than Miller’s punches and slaps. Rob is dead, killed in action in Courcellete.
October comes slowly. John returns to school. Dad is stitching up the arm of a little boy in his home office, and Alice comforts the boy while I help Dad. As the boy is leaving, Mother runs it. “There’s an Army truck here, Frank.” she says to Dad. He whispers “Oh, God, don’t let it be Ned.” They both run out. Alice grips my arm so tight it hurts when they come back in and tell us Ned is wounded and missing in action.
November dawns grey, but it brings the news of the Armistice. But even winning the war won’t get my brother home safely. Maybe he’s already dead… I brush the uncertain thoughts away angrily, but they keep sneaking back, even when I’m playing a game with Alice or helping Dad. Dad’s away on a call and Mother is at a ladies meeting at church. Alice and I are sitting on the living room floor doing a puzzle in the fading light when we hear it. THUMP! Then softer, “thump”.  Someone is fiddling with the doorknob, turning it. I grab Dad’s gun we use for killing snakes as a dark figure opens the door.
Alice gasps ”Don’t shoot! It’s-“, and she runs and turns the tiffany lamp on. I see a tall , red-haired man in a sergeant’s uniform, leaning on a crutch and grinning at me. And then I know.
My brother Ned is home.

4 thoughts on “Writing Contest Story #2 By Laura

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