Posts tagged ‘war’

Hearts United – Chapter 9

by: Rebecca Taylor

            “I didn’t need this right now,” said Todd sitting down with his plate for supper after a long day out in the field. “I have no idea how Miss Sienna Abbott knows about me and my daughter. I contacted an investigation firm, her record is completely clean. She lives alone with her cat, is an only child, her parents are still married and the only thing different right now is that she is getting a lot more mail than usual because of her search for me. It seems that other men would be quite willing to date her and there seem to be all sorts of online theories about this.”

            “Like she’s delusional?” asked another of the men pouring himself a glass of water.

            “Or lonely, or needy, or feeling like her biological clock is ticking away,” answered Todd. “But why me? She knows about my daughter – knows her by name. It would have been one thing if she came out and said I had a dream that some guy named Todd Brody was going to love me some day. The name is popular enough that I would say – coincidence, or maybe she saw the name somewhere and started to fictionalize it.”

            “Man, it’s ya she’s lookin’ for,” said Jack. “She knows ya age, ya job and that ya have a little gal.”

            “And that scares the hell out of me,” said Todd pushing the food around on his plate distractedly.

            “Could it be fate?” asked Carrie Rimico, the only woman in their unit.

            “I don’t know if I believe in fate. I’ve had too much reality in my life.”

            “Then what about faith that a higher power is looking over you?” she asked.

            “I believe in God and the afterlife if that’s what you’re asking.”

            “What would the harm in contacting this woman? Testing the waters?” asked Carrie.

            “I don’t want to get her hopes up,” said Todd, “If I fall in love again, I want it to be because I really love the woman, not that she stays with me or pretends because of some dream she had.”

            “Ya have to find out how ya feel about her, then ya can see if she is for real.”

            “Not now,” said Todd, “I’m over here and she’s over there. If we are meant to meet, it can wait until I’m back home and can meet her face to face.”

            “That’s another five months,” answered Carrie.

            “Don’t I know it, I cross off the days every morning, counting down to when I’m back with Caralee but I know that what we are doing over here is making a difference. It’s war and it’s peace and it’s about trying to make things better however complicated that is.”

The O Zone

Paradise on Paper is honored to have Ben Reinartz submit a guest post. Comments are welcome 🙂

The O Zone

He was tired; it felt like he had been running for hours. The pack he carried was cumbersome; its contents, vital. Winded, despite his near perfect conditioning, he dared not look back. The numbers chasing him could have grown for all he knew. He only focused on his destination. Fear gripped him, but made him more aware. Despite being a snowy, dark, winter night, he sensed all obstacles in front of him. He hurdled logs, ducked under branches that seemed to grab at him from the darkest depths. As he came to a clearing, he stopped to catch his breath. He set his pack on the ground, careful not to damage its contents. He panted heavily, tried to rest, and propped himself up against a tree.
He closed his eyes and remembered how different things had been just a few short months ago. He breathed in heavily, and released a long-drawn out sigh. With the short time he had, he had allowed himself to slip into memories. Memories of the brothers and sisters he had made, and the ones he had lost flooded his conscious.
“War is hell”, he thought. The faces of those he loved barged into his mind, especially those that he lost on his way.
As the sound of his assailants grew closer and closer, he forced the memories out of his mind, focusing on survival. After all, it was what he had done his whole life. He opened his eyes; the warm feeling of adrenaline rushing into his limbs was what allowed him to stand up. He quickly slung his pack over his left shoulder, then his right. He looked back to see the lights of his followers growing more abundant, and closer. Before thinking any more, he darted in the other direction.
As he was running, it seemed that the blizzard around him was picking up, making it much harder to dodge the branches and logs in his way. He continued to run, diving and rolling over logs and sidestepping trees that seemed to materialize right in front of him. He took his eyes off the area in front of him for just a second, to see how close his pursuers were, but that was a mistake. He turned his head in front, too late to see the branch. It felt as if his upper body had just ran into a brick wall. His lower body continued to move forward, and then up as the branch hit him square in the chest. As he fell, his head hit the ground first, hard.
He awoke to a bright light being shined in his face. Dazed and confused, he tried to stand, but found himself far to weak. The pain in his chest was throbbing, almost as if he had broken his sternum. He tried to breath, but every time he moved a muscle, he felt pain fill his chest cavity. He looked around to see that he was still in that damn forest. The light grew closer and he could make out a hooded figure behind it. It looked as if the hooded figure was wearing a coat as well.
“Finally got you. You were a slippery one weren’t you?” The man said in a deep, rather raspy voice. The man reached into his coat and pulled a pistol with the hand not carrying his flashlight. He pointed down.
The man lying on the ground closed his eyes, as if that would have any effect on the situation. Maybe he would see those he lost again, or maybe he would simple be cast into a more terrifying place than he could even imagine. Before he could think any more, the sound of a loud bang filled the forest.

Memories of a Trunk

by: Rebecca Taylor

(previously published in The Sherbrooke Record)

 

            I have travelled across the seas to far away places; I have seen tragedy, destruction, and pain. Now, back home where I have been for the past sixty-three years, I am safe. I am made of hand chosen wood; I am the trunk George Bamford built and gave to his son Benjamin Michael before he went to war, an eighteen-year-old boy who became a man in 1939. I carried Ben’s uniform, a few other shards of clothing but most importantly the few reminders of home that he brought with him: a picture of his love Jenny, a handkerchief given to him by his younger sister, a Bible, and letters he had received from home.

 

            Often these letters were months old when he got them because the war forced him to travel many miles a day and sometimes the post didn’t get through enemy lines. The news was old but the love sent by Jenny, his parents and siblings was genuine and this was what kept him walking and surviving in the freezing cold, blistering heat and through the battles when he didn’t know if he would make it home to his loved ones. To have those amazing letters tucked away in my false bottom to protect the messages from falling into the wrong hands was a wonderful feeling.

 

            The more I got to know Ben and his family, the more I loved them. I prayed for them all during those six war torn years. When finally, the fighting had stopped and we were able to return home from Germany, I felt blessed and thankful. One of the worst days of fighting that I can remember is while Ben and I were fighting for survival and our beliefs in a trench. It was late at night and it was dark, only the light from the moon and stars shone on us, but the sound of our enemy’s artillery told they weren’t far away and we knew that if we lit the kerosene lamp our position would be compromised. Ben was crouched down in the trench on his belly beside me, firing his rifle whenever the dim light showed him someone sneaking our way. One of the enemy shots came very close to hitting Ben and taking him away from me, his military comrades, and his family back in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. But the bullet didn’t hit Ben; it hit me blazing a hole in my side. The shattering of my strong wooden body was unbelievable, I was stunned, but finally the bullet exited and hit the ground in our trench. I winced with the pain for several moments but finally when I looked over at Ben, his face lathered in sweat from his close call, I knew that we would be all right, because we had each other.

 

            Ben would have liked to patch me when we returned home but somehow he never got around to it, he was too busy catching up with his friends and family, marrying Jenny and having eight children of his own and eventually we all got used to the way I look. Ben’s daughter Amy says it is my medal of valour, for saving her father before she knew him. I’m grateful that Ben didn’t repair the bullet hole in me; it serves as a memory for all who look at me of what war can do. I wish more people would listen to my story, that is why I am writing to you tonight, to tell you that the world needs peace. Everyone fighting in a war no matter what side they are on has someone who loves and cares about them. I was lucky but there are a lot who return to their loved ones in caskets, and I wonder for what reason. Haven’t Ben, I, and all the others who have fought in wars shown that peace is necessary, that there has to be another way. I sit at the foot of Ben’s bed; he is now eighty-seven years old, but in fairly good health, a blessing for a man who went through as much as he did, trying to find the words to make myself understood. I think of Ben’s family and the looks on their faces the day we returned home, walking up the driveway into their loving arms. I reflect on Ben’s life with Jenny, who is also still with us, and the growth of their children, now we even have great grandchildren who come to visit. The summertime is a bustling place for us, a horrifying thought is jumping into my head, and I wish it would go away. What if one of Ben’s grandchildren, great grandchildren or a future generation has to go to fight for their beliefs and what if one of them doesn’t make it home. What will that do to this family or a family like it? I’d like to push that thought out of my mind but I know that it is too important to ignore. The time is now, the world needs to join together, and find a way to declare peace. Please help this happen, together we can stop the world from feeling the pain that so many families have felt and will feel if we don’t make changes. For now, I will go back to holding the memories of Ben’s family, from all the letters written during the war still tucked safely away in my false bottom as well as mounds of picture albums including one that holds the picture of Jenny that Ben took with him so long ago but I will not forget; you shouldn’t either. 

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