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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Before and After (05/14/09)

By mick dawson



Kevin Morrison’s footsteps echoed on the polished floor of the hallway. Peering into the final room, he saw a young red haired nurse, sitting by the bed. His grandfather turned his head; a clear breathing apparatus strapped over his mouth.

“I have to stay here to monitor your grandfather,” she said. “Don’t take anything he says too literally,” she said aside, “his mind’s starting to wander.”

Kevin nodded his acceptance and took her vacated seat as she sat on the opposite side of the bed. The aged freckled hand of his grandfather tightened around his.

“Today could be my last day.”

“I know,” Kevin whispered.

For a moment, both sat in silence, not knowing what to say.

“I wonder if you’d tell me the story?” Kevin asked.

The old man frowned.

“The one about Gallipoli.”

“No one has ever believed me.”

“This may be the last chance we have… please.”

The old man sighed.

“Alright, the Aussies were under British command. The English kept telling us to go over the top. We’d climb out, and then the Turks would cut everyone of us down before we got five yards.”

He snorted derisively before continuing.

“Instead of rethinking their strategy, the English just kept sending wave after wave of us, thinking that maybe the last seventeen times was unsuccessful, but the eighteenth time…” he trailed off. “They hid behind our backs as they ordered us to commit mass suicide. One day my trench all went over the top, but I stayed behind; too scared to join them. I was crying from fear; from shame at what I’d done.

When I looked up, I saw the biggest digger I’ve ever seen. He told me that I wasn’t alone. He said let’s face them together. I thought that this was a chance to redeem myself so I climbed out of the trench with him.

Machine guns rattled, but nothing touched either one of us. The Turks climbed out of their trench, probably because it was just the two of us and they ran at us with bayonets. They were almost on us by this time, in the middle of no man’s land when the big digger pushed me back.

To this day, I don’t know where it came from but I saw a big sword appear in his hands, actually on flames. He struck the ground and a wall of fire came up, keeping the Turks where they were.

Then he picked up a revolver from a dead officer and fired; a revolver, mind you. I tell you they scattered as if a cannon shell hit them. I never saw him again, after that.”

“I’ve always wanted to tell someone this,” said Kevin meekly. “I want to tell you this, while we still have the time. It’s about something that happened thirty years later.

As you know, I flew a fighter plane in Korea. Anyway, my plane was shot up pretty bad and I was out of rockets. I probably had a hundred rounds left on the cannons; that was it.

A Mig fired across my cockpit, missing me but a lot of my electrical systems were knocked out. I got the signal from my wing commander to leave the fight, but when you fly without navigation systems you’re like a blind man crossing an eight lane highway. I knew there was no way I’d get back, but something happened.

I heard Mitch’s voice; one of the other pilots. I couldn’t decide whether I heard him over the intercom or in my head. He talked me back home, but something seemed different about his voice. I found out later that Mitch was killed in the raid.

For a second, I saw a face behind me in the reflection of the cockpit as I landed. Which was impossible, we only flew single seaters…”

“Time for your pills Mr Morrison.”

An orderly, tall and broad of frame, filled the open doorway with tray in hand. He smiled warmly as the eyes of grandfather and grandson focused on him.

“Granddad, it’s him!”

“You’re wrong, he’s the one with the sword,” gasped the old man.

“Who are you; are you new here?” asked the nurse.

The orderly faded, becoming smaller, looking completely different.

“What are you talking about Leah, it’s me, John,” he said, stepping forward and handing her the tray.

Kevin’s eyes met with Leah’s seeing the glint of revelation there. It seemed the old man hadn’t lost his mind.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Janice Fitzpatrick05/23/09
I liked the memories of the historical moments and the angels who protected the grandfather and grandson. Well done. I guess I'm tired tonight as I was a little confused at the ending when the figure became smaller. I like this though. :0)
Marilyn Schnepp 05/24/09
Loved this story even though a bit confusing throughout due to the lack of properly placed "quotation marks." Otherwise, very well done and an enjoyable read that was moving and touching. Kudos!
Lyn Churchyard05/26/09
Oooh, I like goosebumpy type stories. It was a nice touch that the angel who protected the grandfather was the same one who protected the grandson. Good job.