[ the lone soldier ]

by staff sgt. seasons

There was only him left now. He stood in the cemetary and stared in silence at the newly risen cross. He had lost so many friends and each time he lost a little piece of his heart. The Lt. had died during the evacuation of Vietnam and the others just seemed to fade away.

A loud crash in the sky hearlded a downpour of rain. The cold water surged over him making soft plip sounds on the newly covered grave. But the soilder stood as if at attention. The rain mingled with the tears streaming down his face and seemed to somehow calm his erratic thoughts.

Baker had been the last to leave. A hit and run driver just outside his favourite beach had killed him. God it made him feel so helpless, so angry and tired. He had no-one to blame, no way to take revenge. This wasn't Vietnam, this was America, and truth be told he never wanted to kill a living thing ever again.

The lone soilder finally turned and walked away from the grave. He trudged back to his car and drove away without looking back. He staggered inside his front door, not knowing or caring how he got home. His mind was far away. Back in the mud and the filth of Vietnam with all of his comrades.
Myron, Marvin, Marcus, Scott, Alberto & Danny. They had seemed so young and full of hopes for the future. He remembered the night they had drunk a few beers and talked well into the night about their plans when they returned to the world.

Pain lanced through his chest and he sank to the ground, his body shaking with soul shuddering sobs. He sat for what seemed an eternity as the day turned to night and the birds stopped singing in the trees. Suddenly he sat up and moved quickly to the cupboard in his bedroom. He reached under some clothes and right at the back found what he was looking for. He sat down on the bed and lifted the gun until the muzzle rested on his forehead.

As he fitted his finger to the trigger a knock came at the door. It sounded dull and far away as he concentrated on his task. A window shattered and someone was calling his name. His finger squeezed the at the trigger as Katie ran into the room, and screamed "Daddy" as he urned half in shock. He dropped the gun and buried his head in her shoulder, as she threw her arms around him.

No words where spoken as she shakily picked up the gun and placed it in her bag. Then like a dam breaking her words tumbled out. She had been looking for him and trying to track him down, just as he had done with his father when he was her age. She had finally found him at the cemetey and had followed him home. She had been trying to build up the courage to knock when she saw the gun through the window. She had broken the window with a rock and climed through. They sat and talked until the glint of sun showed on the horizon.

As he stood silently next to his daughter and listened to her excitedly tell her mother, that she had finally tracked him down. He felt a small sense of beloning and with that small glimmer of hop, he didn't feel so utterly alone. Katie turned to him and with a smile held out the receiver, he took the receiver nervously and held it too his ear. He heard the voice he could never forget, the voice beloning to his ex-wife.
"Hello Zeke."

Tears pricked at his red & swollen eyes, he hugged his daughter tight and smiled. The pain would never fully go away, but the healing of his mind and soul had begun.

[ sgt seasons ]           [ index ]