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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Home for Christmas (11/20/08)

TITLE: Freedom Bird
By Darrel Bird


Chris bellomy jerked up after about an hour and realized again that he was on a freedom bird and not in the jungles of Vietnam.

Sixteen hours later, after a brief stop in Hawaii the plane started its down hill slide to San Francisco. He looked out at the city with the white houses in the bright California sunlight as the plane banked for the final turn onto the runway.

Chris gathered up his duffle bag as the troops began filing off the plane into the concourse to be met by long haired hippys chanting insults at them, a good looking college girl hurled a paper sack at him, it bounced off his shoulder and spilled it contents on the floor, he looked down at it, it was dog shit.
He looked back at her as she chanted something about killing babies, Welcome home son!

He got off the concourse and met a world going about their business as if a war was never happening and it blew what mind he had left to smithereens just as the charge he had set of in his radio van.

“Well the hell with everybody!” he thought as he flagged a taxi and told the driver to take him to the nearest bar.

The driver ran around San Francisco for awhile long enough to ring up a big bill then dropped him off at a seedy bar down town where Chris proceeded to get drunk.
He awoke the next morning in a seedy hotel room beside an ugly woman who snored like a chain saw.
“God, I got to get out of this town.” He mumbled as he got a shower and changed into the set of ‘Civvies’ he had purchased earlier.

He flagged another taxi and head for the San Francisco Airport again and booked a plane for home.

Home was a little town (if one could call it that) in western Oregon situated on a mountain over looking the Columbia River.

He took the ticket from the girl behind the counter. Checked his duffle bag and walked onto the concourse and sat down. The longhaired hippies were still at it holding hands and shouting about the war.
He looked at them and wondered why they were there just a few days before Christmas, didn’t they have families?
His time came up and he picked up his duffle bag and headed for the plane. A few minutes later the plane took off for the short hop to Portland. When Chris deplaned in Portland his Dad was waiting for him on the concourse to take him to Alston corners.

He lay back against the seat not saying much as they rode down the Columbia in his Dads old pickup, his Dad respectfully gave him the silence he needed, his Dad was wise to this stuff as he had fought in world war two.

They pulled in the drive way, he noticed the Christmas lights all up, his Mom came running to meet them. She grabbed hold of him and hugged him and kissed his face. Things went fairly well that evening, but he still felt alienated from everything and every one, his mind was still back in Vietnam and his body was here.

The next morning was Sunday and his Dad and Mom began to get dressed for church, his Dad came into the room and said “Son, I don’t want to push you, but could I ask you to come to church with us this morning?”
“Your Mom would love that so much and I would be grateful if you did.”

Chris thought about it for a minute, thought about his Mom and agreed even though he didn’t feel like it.
The Assembly of God Church in Alstons Corner looked the same yet different to Chris as he climbed the steps, he noticed that it was a little harder for his Mom to climb them and in that he saw the passing of time.

As the service progressed that Sunday morning Chris Bellomy felt the strong tug of the Holy Spirit at his heart, the Pastor ask if anyone would like to answer the Holy Spirits call for salvation and before he knew it his hand went up as if of its own volition and as the Pastor prayed that morning Chris’s heart was flooded with the love and forgiveness of God.

Chris Bellomy was finally ‘Home for Christmas’ mind, Body and soul.
The end.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 11/30/08
The change in attitude is portrayed quite well here. I can't imagine having come back from war to this kind of attitude. Nice ending.
Valarie Sullivan12/03/08
Good picture of the 'climate change' between the outside world and home. So sad that vets were treated this way.
Little nitpicky thing: be careful to capitalize names.
Your MC was very believable and authentic.