Tuesday, November 3, 2015

 Just a bit of drabble....

(The task was a simple one; take a famous last line and write your own short bit of fiction. The only thing: your last line HAD to be the last line)


Here's my story:


Rain. Always rain. He wondered if it would ever stop. It had come down in sheets of hard, driving hatred from the black sky since Tuesday. At least, he thought it had been Tuesday. Today was Sunday, right?
The lights from Sarah’s candles flickered as the roaring wind pelted their little cottage. Belvedere, the fat, faded cat lay by the fire with his belly up and his eyes closed in contented sleep. Perhaps that was the secret, he thought from his chair by the door. Sleep it all away and tomorrow the sun would shine and everything would be back to normal.
“Come to bed, Ollie.”
Sarah was wearing her flannels, her hair up for the night. She looked radiant, the seventh month of pregnancy agreeing with her. He reached for her and she settled into his lap as snugly as always. She petted him. It was a habit of hers that he both liked and hated. It made him feel wanted and loved and adored, but also useless and wasted and humble. It was okay to be humble, but there were days when humble tasted like sawdust.
“You’ll go to the mill tomorrow, then?” she asked.
“Ya.” The mill was hiring but fifty men were bound to be lined up for one job, and he wasn’t the strongest or the smartest of them. He put his hand over her belly. This was the thing his father had warned him about. Loving someone else more than yourself could drive a man mad when the world was against him. The house shook with the thunder and Sarah shivered. “You go on up to bed, and I’ll be up in a bit.”
She left him with a kiss, Belvedere trailing her like he always did. Would he stare up at Ollie with such adoring eyes when there was no more money for milk and tuna? Ollie stood and went to the bureau. It had been his mother’s piece. He cherished it, and ran his hand lovingly over the Cherrywood top. He opened up the drawer and removed the envelope.
“War,” he murmured. Of course they knew it was coming. Rumors had been flying all over the town that Hitler had invaded Poland and the world was going to war. He’d dismissed it, of course, too worried about Sarah and the baby to contemplate signing up. Then Tom Delaney had delivered his mail the day before yesterday and the letter had been wedged between the past due electric bill and the weekly ladies’ companion. His name, Oliver Stanhhope, Jr, was stamped across the front in bold letters and he’d known what it was. A call to war. It was also a beacon of hope in a dark, dark world. There were no jobs, there was no money. Soon he would walk miles for an hour’s worth of labor just to feed a baby and Ollie already knew that half the babies in town were down with the colic. That would mean a doctor and doctors were hard to come by without cash.
“Ollie!” Sarah’s voice floated down the stairs from their tiny upstairs room and it was that sound that made Ollie tear open the letter and read the words he’d been both dreading and hoping to see.
He stuffed the letter in the drawer and snuffed out the candle, banking the fire for the night. He climbed the creaking stairs and lay down next to his wife, ignoring the subtle grunt from the cat as he shifted him to the foot of their bed.
“Don’t worry, dear.” Sarah’s sleepy kiss made Ollie smile, even through his tears. “Tomorrow will be a better day. We’ll see to it.”
She rolled and slept soundly, as she always did, content that Ollie would care for her and their child. And he would, but he would miss the first birthday, and perhaps all the birthdays, if he didn’t come back from a battle he’d never signed up to join.
That night he hardly slept, from remorse- and a vague fear that he might die without making it up to them.

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