We were soldiers of innocence at the rally point. Raging against real enemies in pretend combat. Holly berry bullets and stolen kisses in oak tree forts. Fighting the good fight, we sought redemption in afternoon light.
Then you left to fight a greater war.
I still wait for your return.
Katherine Rocheleau is a full-time writer, part-time vampire slayer, and hopeless chocoholic.
Who knows why I even bother, but I inform every army that the rented siege weapons must be returned in the same condition if they want their deposit.
“Of course!” they all say.
Then they haul back a pile of splintered wood and mangled metal, assuming they return at all.
Iain Young found a two-for-one discount in his mail. He’s wondering how he got on that mailing list.
“I followed your vision through the hellholes of northern France.”
Now, on a chateau hospital lawn near Ypres, she laughed beside him.
“Custance, nurse of my wounds, beacon of my desire.”
The purloined brandy, springtime lark song, and his idolatry bonded her heart to his.
Close by, field cannons rumbled.
Retired in Ontario, Gary Thomson has ample time to blow Satchmo’s and Beatles’ tunes on his Hohner harmonica.
He flies above ruinous landscapes,
pondering patchworks of castles baked in mud.
Like Alexander, Genghis, and the Russians,
he yearns to find and best his enemy here.
What does it mean that these monuments of dust remain,
that the fortress of the steppe warrior endures?
As if awaiting a deluge.
A.M. Bigler is a pilot who reads and writes. Today, he lives in Wisconsin with his wife and two sons.
Lieutenant Harold Demarest stands on the bridge, watching a kamikaze roar towards him.
Below, Gunner Frank McClelland fires the 40mm cannon and hits the suicide plane.
It veers downward, exploding into the ship.
Demarest is alive, a flimsy clipboard shielding his head. Below, Frank McClelland and seventeen others are dead.
Frank McClelland was awarded the Silver Star Posthumously. Harry
Demarest wrote this story about his father, Harold Demarest, who attended
many reunions with his shipmates until his death at age 96.
The dead got up from the battlefield. Some played with their wounds. Others witnessed the horror of what they had become. As they walked away a young private looked back and saw their bodies where they’d fallen and sighed, “If all this is for that, why did we bother coming?”
Connell writes a bit and no more.
Our ballista slams out another volley. My loader slaps my shoulder. I open up through the wire with the big Browning.
Through the fog I see burning tracks littering the wheat fields. Our main gun cycles as actinic light sears the horizon.
My melted eyes weep. Gods, please not again.
David Arnold is a former Army officer and retired academic administrator. He has recent published work in Narrative, Raven’s Perch, Microfiction Monday, and This Old Boat. He lives in the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky with his wife Rose, Bonnie the Dog, and Mosel the Cat.
Dolores smiled through venetian blinds. Potatoes boiled on the range. Fair hair fluttered as the toy gun fired.
“Bang,” little Thomas roared firing at invisible enemies. He would come home soon, hungry.
Dolores peered at her new television; more fighting, more war. She prayed Thomas would come home soon, hungry.
Valkyriekerry Kelly is a graduate writer living in Mayo, Ireland. Her short stories have featured in Short Break Fiction, Paragraph Planet, and Entropy Squared. When she is not writing, Valkyriekerry can be found exploring the heritage sites of Ireland with a camera in her hand. See more at valkyriekerrykelly.wordpress.com.
She dabs vanilla on her wrists, thick, dark and pungent, like her memory of the night before he went to war. His child plays in the garden where they will stroll. He’ll see his son, for the first and only time, his firstborn, bearing another man’s name.
Casualty of war.
Sharon Calkin is a family history writer and poet. She lives in Pasadena, CA.
Abroad, learning the language, culture, history. At the memorial, it’s hard to breathe. They couldn’t either.
A tower of names. Clocks. It is 11:02 forever.
Sugoi is Japanese—something amazing or awful.
Where are you from? They know their own.
I’m American, but those words, here, are hard to say.
Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz is a writer and photographer. She is the author of two fiction chapbooks, “Mother Love” and “Where I’ll Be If I’m Not There.” She reads, gardens, and sews teddy bears for fun. See more at wwwonewriter.blogspot.com.