Wednesday 19 July 2023

Darkest Hour by Crystal Stocker, green tea

 At 2pm army captains showed up at my house with a letter. I do not know if it was anxiety or just plain fear watching them walk up my pathway. Time itself seemed to stand still as they made their way to my door. A loud booming knock reverberated through the house I open the door with deft hands. When I read the letter, this is what it says,

“Ms Smith we’re sorry to inform you but fiancé was killed overseas all our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family Sincerely Captain George H. Stokes.”

When I finished reading the letter it felt as my world was falling in on itself. After a long-shocked silence I managed to look at the captain that handed me the letter.

 “Is he really gone?” I asked with tears spilling over my eyelashes not really wanting to hear his answer.

 “Yes, Ma’am we tried everything we could, but we were too late we are sorry for your loss.’’ said Captain George.

“Here he told me to give these to you if something were ever to happen to him.” Said the Chaplin

 I collapsed to the floor in the arms of one of the captains. Tears running down my face.

***

I get a call saying I need to come down to the base to pick up Nick’s things. I walk up to the front desk to ask where I am supposed to go to pick up his things. A loud roar tears through the entry way for the base. I hear a soul- shattering WHOOSH! as a jet takes off on a practice run.  The lady behind the desk who is pulling up the information I needed to find my way around the base plus how to get to his belongings does not seem phased by the sudden noise. Without saying a word, she looks up smiling hands me a couple of papers and a badge. Walking down the hall to the room that held his stuff. I keep looking at the door numbers 118B, 119B, 120B, 121B. I finally get to the room that had the number 122B on it.

With shaky hands I reach to open the door taking a deep breathe before I go in and get what I need to get. I walk into the room and see a plethora of boxes. There is another person in the room with me, but he has his back turned to me so I could not see his face.

 “Excuse me would you happen to know where my fiancé belongings would be at?” I ask.

Without saying a word to me or turning around he points to the one big box among several other rather smaller boxes over in the corner on the opposite side of the room.

 I opens the box holding his belongings and his smell engulfs me in a warm blanket of safety. The scent of sandalwood and musk. The tears spill unrelenting down my face.  I realize that some of his stuff like parts of his uniform, boots and dog tags are missing. I turn around to ask the man in the room with me, but he is nowhere to be found. I turn back around and look down at the huge box on the floor. I tear up at the thought of not possibly having most of his things. I hear something stir in the room I listen for a few seconds but there were no other sounds. Turning my attention back to the box I try to shake my head to clear the intrusive thoughts that are invading my mind when I hear a deep tenor rumble through the room.

             “Looks like you need some help with that box there…. babe” Nick said.

 My heart drops into my stomach, my breathe hitches and I freeze, my muscles going rigid. Heat flashes through my body unfreezing my muscles and  my heartbeat returns to normal. I slowly turn around and stared into a pair of glacier blue eyes that I thought I would never see again. Those eyes and that deep tenor voice belong to a ghost or so I thought it was ghost. I cover my mouth to shield my sobs. My entire life flashes before my eyes.

“I-I thought you were dead but, here you are standing in front of me. Am I dreaming?”

“No, I am very much alive and well; they mixed up the names. Another solider with almost the same name as mine. How they managed to do that I will never understand, but I am alive. I’m sorry.  When I got injured in combat, I was sent to Germany to recover and was unable to contact you. Another solider was sent there as well in worse condition then what I was in.  It was carnage and chaos at that base when we both arrived. Several other platoons were arriving from other areas bringing in wounded and dying. That is the only way I can think that they mixed up the orders. When the letters went out, they didn't catch the mistake in time.”

“I don’t care how or why it happened. I’m just happy that you are alive and with me again I have missed you so much. You’re not allowed to scare me like that.  I thought I'd lost you forever. I just pray for the family that will receive the news when they get the orders fixed.”    

             “I am here to stay for good I am not re-enlisting you will have me forever I love you and I am so sorry.” Nick says with his heart-breaking smile.

            “I love you too Nick. Let's go home.” 

About the author

Crystal writing when she was a junior in high school. She took a creative writing class in high school that was the jump start of her writing dream. She is working on her Fine Arts of Creative Writing associate. 

 

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