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No Safe Home
Topic Started: Dec 31 2008, 03:27 PM (3,599 Views)
TheSilentWanderer
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Defender of Little Dorrit-dom
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The past few previous posts:

Allen:

Each platoon silently desserted its position and cautiously advanced forward. Silence was essential. The Major had chosen the time so charge when the wind was blowing into the Germans faces - which meant that the sand was, too. the Nazis would be blinded, and if the British were silent, the Kraut wouldn't know what hit them. Allan crept forward with twenty other chaps. Sandy was at his side, this time. Allan spat out another mouthful of sand and checked his rifle for the sixth time. For some reason, Allan was nervous going into this battle. Maybe because it was almost Christmas and he wanted to live through it. Gunfire spat and a few men fell to his right. He dove into the sand, receiving a large mouthful of it, and returned fire. Most of the battle noise seemed to be coming from his left. Allan signalled a guy next to him over, "Have you seen the Platoon sergeant?" Allan yelled over the deafening noise of the battle.
"e's dead."
"Then 'oo's in command o' the platoon?!?"
"Sergeant Collier, laddybuck." The soldier said, glancing at Allan's Corporal stripes. 'e's the last sarge in the platoon

Tim, Julie & Liz
Julie obeyed. "What are we doing?" she asked, following as Liz pushed out of the ward and strode down the corridor.

"Tim is in shock," Liz said. "I can't seem to get through to him. It's like nothing we shared together exists any more. It's like it never happened."

Once more she tasted the salt of tears rising, and she pressed her lips together, shutting back the painful words. Her idea had to work. Please God... "I think if he could just believe he is still capable of doing something--helping others in a way only he knows how--I think then, maybe, he'd have something to get strong with."

"Should I ask him to help me?"

Julie sounded a little breathless, and Liz forced herself to go slower. The laundry was just ahead--she dropped off the basket and then turned with Julie still in tow. "Yes. Better you than me--" I don't think he trusts me. The thoughts that had been frightening her almost spilled over into words. They hung, unspoken, in the air, a cold silent whispering.

The sapphire ring swung gently inside her uniform, brushing her skin with its coolness. Her hand reached up and held it tightly through the starched material of her uniform. The ward was just ahead.

She held the door open for Julie, then stepped back. At Julie's questioning look she shook her head. "Better he doesn't know I had anything to do with this. I'll watch from the door."

Julie nodded--and gave Liz a brief, encouraging smile before swinging carefully into the ward.

The door started to swing to behind her but Liz caught and held it, positioning herself so she could look through the crack. She thought in fleeting irony that their relationship had certainly come full circle. From being the over-protective big sister she was now drawing strength and comfort from fragile Julie.
`
Inside the ward, Julie paused, standing at the foot of Tim's bed. He turned listlessly over, and Liz saw the faint surprise in his eyes. His mouth moved but she couldn't catch the words. Julie gestured and spoke, and Tim looked doubtful. Julie paid no mind--using her crutch she hooked a chair and pulled it close to the bed.

As she sat down, Tim used his hand to push himself to a sitting position. The sheets fell away, exposing his rumpled pajama top. One sleeve was empty. Liz could see the vague shape of his arm tucked inside, hidden safely from sight.

But as she watched him start to direct Julie, she almost forgot it--and by the look on his face, so did he. The two of them became more and more engrossed in what they were doing... The ward sister gave them a peculiar look, but they didn't notice and she left them alone.

When the deep rumbling sound of Tim's chuckle reached her ears, Liz thought she must have been dreaming. Peering through the crack, she saw Julie's face set in exaggerated solemnity, as she always looked after having gotten one up on someone. And Tim's face wore surprised laughter.

Liz moved away from the half-open door, letting the touch of cool plaster corridor wall keep back the tears that wanted to come. Thank you, God.

After a silent moment she pushed noiselessly through the door and walked unobtrusively toward Peter's screened-in bed at the end of the ward. More than anything she wanted to stop by Tim and Julie--even if just to watch and listen.

Better not. Not yet. Give it a little time...

So she didn't even look toward them, but got the dressing cart and went straight to Peter. To her surprise he had pulled the screen back slightly, and was watching what he could see of the ward. He looked up guiltily when Liz rattled the screen open.
***

Maria:

Maria watched her younger sister open the package; and her heart had at least a glimpse of happiness for the first time in what seemed like forever. Suddenly, Georgie stopped her opening and looked at Maria.
"Aren't you going to open yours too?" She asked.
"I suppose," Maria agreed, picking up hers. She fingered it before opening it, wondering what was inside.

(we will continue writing like normal. If anyone is interested in reading the first part of NSH it's in the library. Thanks!)
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Alyosha
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NOTE to anyone who wants to read NSH from the beginning: Please PM or email me for the edited version; it's much better than the version I hadn't finished editing that's in the Library or on the LJ right now.
Edited by Alyosha, Jan 2 2009, 11:07 PM.
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1st Lord of the Admiralty of Rob
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Allan aimed and fire, being rewarded by a yelp. He jumped up and ran forward, diving down. He fired another shot. Sandy dove down behind him. "The Sarge is dead! We've sen' a messengah to get 'old of 'nuther or a Lieutenant, but you take command for now!"
"Sure thing, mate." Alan waved his arm. "Jump, charge and dive, men. We'll get to 'em, that way!" Allan jumped and charged with only twenty soldiers at his back. About half a dozen were also Corporal's First Class and Allan wondered why he was the one elected ot take lead. He waved his arm forward and the twenty men jumped up, charged, shot and dove. Soemthing hurtled through the air.
"Watch it! Move men, move!" Allan screamed. The grenade impacted and exploded, instantly killing the five nearest it and spewing shrapnel everywhere.
"Down!" A man shouted as he dove. In was unnecessary - shrapnel had caught him in the neck, killing him instantly.
"'ere comes 'nuther platoon!" A soldier shouted. Allan sighed gratefully. Things were getting tight. He moved back and reported to the Lieutenant.
"ow's the battle, sir?"
"Good. We've crushed their left flank and rushed two platoons to the right, but we're pushing at them from the right. Looks like you middles got 'it 'ard." The Lieutenant watched as an army truck pulled in from behind.
"'opefully that's ammo an' not tents. we need some grenades o' our own." He moved over to the truck and Allan followed behind. Sandy readied his rifle and set up behind a barrel that had been rolled out of the truck.
"I wouldn't -" The Lieutenant was cut off as a grenade landed nearby and exloded, castching the barrel. The flames consumed it and the flaming barrel exploded with a fiery roar, consuming Sandy in its inferno. The percussion of the blast blew Allan and the Lieutenant ten feet away, which put them clear of the flames. The ammo truck caught fire.
"Quick, put that fire out!" A shout came from the driver, as he grabbed a shovel and battled the flames alone. A piercing whine split the air and the driver slumped as a sniper bullet took him.
"To the truck!"
A man hopped out of the back with an assault rifle and rushed to the front, firing bursts as he moved. An armoured jeep pulled up with a machine gun mounted in back. The Lieutenant Colonel hopped out as the driver slowly moved into the fray, the machine gunner spraying the enemy with bullets. As the assault rifler and machine gunner provided cover, more men moved back to put out the fire.
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Kaylee
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Bessie stood at the window, the snow was falling again, light and fluffy from the gray heavens. Dusk was falling, and quickly. She was worried about Lucy. Her brows merged together with concern as she searched the darkening streets. Slowly, one by one, the lamp lights came on, illuminating the night collecting around their bases.

A lorry zoomed past on the street, taking the turn for the hospital. Bessie's shoulders sank as it continued on past and no Lucy appeared. Where is she? Biting her thumb nail, Bessie began to pace, trying to grasp what Lucy might have done after going back. She can't still be at the hospital, visiting hours are over! She paused as she came before the window again. A sudden movement caught her eye across the street and she grasped the window ledge.

Lucy! It was Lucy! Departing from the Mrs. Park's house! What on earth had she been doing there?

"Bessie, would you mind closing the curtains?" Mrs. Miller asked, emerging from the kitchen.

Bessie hardly heard her and involuntarily groped for the lace curtain and then the thick wool covering. She watched Lucy intently as she crossed the street and started up the walk. When she reached the door, Bessie was waiting for her.
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Alyosha
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Will pulled himself up and stared at the sky outside, his coat suddenly seeming much thinner in the cold. He could hear the rain, though he couldn't quite see it in the blackness. Suppressing the tears that threatened to escape, he tried to understand what had just happened, and why. To his dulled, sore mind, none of it made sense, except for the fact that he had done something foolish that had frightened even himself.

After balancing precariously for so long, he had fallen, and climbing up again was impossible. There was nothing left, nothing--just emptiness. Was this the victory he had wanted? But it was empty, not a victory at all. There would be no more playing the hero. He had lost, and he couldn't rescue them; he couldn't even rescue himself.

Ignoring the mud, he trudged to the barn and opened the doors just enough to creep inside. He found the pile of hay at the back by walking into it, and lay down, a small, worn figure lost in a world without sun.

God, why? I don't understand. And now this? How much longer? How does my being here help anything, anyway?


He could freeze to death here and no one would notice. To the people that mattered, it would make no difference--either way he chose, he would be far, far away.

But it wasn't his choice; he knew that. It was comforting to pretend that he was in control of things, but he wasn't. He never had been.

He tried to sleep, but an hour later was still wide awake. Annoyed, he shook off the hay and stood to look outside. The night was unchanged. The stars were hidden by rainclouds and the rest of the country's light was smothered by the blackout.

The barn was not much colder with the door open, though the cows seemed not to appreciate the wind that blew in, but he shut the door after a few seconds and began to pace the short length of the barn. Moving had always relaxed him, made him calmer and more able to think things through. And it was while he was walking that he realised what a fool he was being.

This was his chance. He had known, without having to try it for himself, that any previous escape attempts would have been foiled. Even if there had been a chance, it was no use trying to change now what he had already decided. But now--now. Darcy had handed Will the opportunity the moment he had calmly flung him onto the porch.

So this is your answer, God? he thought wryly, rubbing the aching portions of his chest and arms that were well on their way to being bruises. A banishment and a beating? I'd have left with less reason than that. But he was free--or nearly--and that was what counted. He parted ways without regret with the cows and chickens, and stepped outside again.

The rain had faded into a sullen drizzle. He hesitated a little as he reached the edge of the woods. It seemed too obvious. Didn't Darcy know that he could simply walk away?

Maybe it was only the drink acting--or perhaps Darcy had also known how close Will had been to not trying to flee at all. And he had been close. The thought unsettled him. He took a mouthful of the rain-soaked air, so clear and cold that it made his lungs smart. With a prayer and a last glance backwards, he slipped under the shadow of the trees. What could Darcy do to him that he hadn't already done, anyhow?

Behind him stood the silhouette of a house he intended never to see again, and ahead was the only family he knew he still had. Between them lay a path full of holes and rocks that delighted in tripping nighttime travellers, but that didn't matter--no, it didn't, he thought, as he untangled himself from an inconvenient bramble-bush. He had no notion of what he would do when he found Maria and Georgie, but that didn't matter, either. He knew that if he kept placing one foot before the other, undeterred by the darkness or obstacles or pain, he would reach his destination eventually--and for now, that was enough. If weariness had not overwhelmed him as it did, he might have even felt triumphant.
Edited by Alyosha, Jan 3 2009, 08:31 AM.
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TheSilentWanderer
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Finally she got up the courage and opened the package. Inside was a special letter from her mother, this she quickly read and smiled at her mother's writing. Setting this aside, she was about to come to the wrapped up package marked with her name when Georgie exclaimed

"Oh! How lovely!" She held up a pretty little doll's dress, made with much love and care. The dress was a bright red, made with scraps from something that one of the girls had outgrown, and white lace bordered the edges.
"I think it will fit my doll perfectly," Georgie continued.
"Lovely! Mum did do a good job, did she not?" Maria asked, smiling.

Outside, the night had become dark and cold.
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Alyosha
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Maria was wakened that night by a sound at her window. For a moment she lay in bed, still half asleep, wondering what that noise had been and if it might be burglars. It came again: an urgent tapping. Looking up, she saw a figure outside, its face mostly hidden in the shadows.

No, it can't be, she thought. She tossed the covers aside and flew to the door in her nightgown, careful not to wake Mrs Aiken or Georgie. Slipping on her coat, she shut the door behind her.

Will stood outside. Maria's breath caught sharply in her throat when she saw him, and for a long moment she stared at her brother, saying nothing.

He was paler than ever, and and looked in need of a bath and a meal. Dirt and sweat--or perhaps tears--streaked his face, with bruises beneath. Worse were his eyes: dulled, cold eyes that took no interest in anything around them, so unlike the Will she knew.

"I'm come back," he said.

"Will!" Maria cried, jerked back from her thoughts. She threw her arms around him, then pulled away when he stiffened.

Calm down, she told herself. At least that much is the same. "Where were you? What's happened! Oh, Will!"

"Yes," he said slowly. "I was called Will once. Wasn't I? A long time ago."

"Of course you were!" Maria nearly shrieked. "Are! William Daniel Miller! Don't you remember?"

"I was--joking," he said, smiling a ghostly smile. "Of course I remember my name."

Maria drew a long breath. "Lucky for you I'm not on the second floor." Don't talk about it, she thought. Don't talk about what happened.

Will seemed to agree. "How's Georgie?" he said. "Have you heard from home?"
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Hathaway
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(Hold on while I write something. I apologize heavily for not posting on the preposts, but I am going to post something. Is that okay? *frowns*)
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TheSilentWanderer
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Oh yes! :) That's fine! (If you want something better for Georgie's present just let me know...a doll's dress is so unimaginative!)
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Hathaway
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No, actually it's perfect! I had no idea what to post. ;-)
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Hathaway
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Georgie was sure she was sleeping. She had to be--Will's voice only spoke in dreams. Georgie blinked her eyes. The familiar wooden desk table met her gaze at eye level. Georgie frowned sleepily. She must be hallucinating. She rubbed her eyes gingerly. A sudden hope, too great and sharp for Practicality to murder, stabbed her heart like a blade.

God, I'm not dreaming. Am I dreaming? Please, please, please...

Georgie threw on her nightrobe and slippers, slipped out of her bedroom, and pattered down the hall, eyes wide with desperation. Half a minute--where was she going? The muffled voice came again: outside. Tears started out of Georgie's eyes as she ran to the door. The mumbles grew louder. Without stopping to question her sanity, Georgie slid the door open and stopped.

There he was. Will.

Georgie pulled the door shut behind her and leaped down the stairs, her tears freezing on her face the moment they dropped from her eyelashes. She grabbed Will in a huge hug and held him tightly, burying her face against his shirt. It was filthy, but she didn't care. Her brother was here. That was better than any Christmas present.
Edited by Hathaway, Jan 3 2009, 01:16 AM.
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TheSilentWanderer
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(Ohhh, lovely post! :))
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Hathaway
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Aw, thanks :)
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Alyosha
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(*SQUEE* ...I mean, I agree. ;) )

As her arms tightened round him, Will winced, then tried to smile so they wouldn't notice. "Hullo," he said, a bit awkwardly. What did one say? "It's nice to see you again?" "We have to go home to see if everyone else is dead or not?"

When Georgie let go and he had a better look at her, and at Maria, his grin faded. Both of them looked older, less childlike, but Georgie especially--she was taller and thinner, but also more solemn, the laughter half gone from her eyes. "Do--do they treat you all right here?" he asked.

(He doesn't tell them about the Dec 23 London raid, maybe they've heard about it on the wireless but they probably wouldn't have the same [halfway irrational] fears that he has. so yeah.)
Edited by Alyosha, Jan 3 2009, 10:00 AM.
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TheSilentWanderer
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"For the most part," Maria admitted in answer to Will's question.
"Have you heard from home?" Will then asked, his voice quiet and, almost sad.
""Yes," Maria said, slowly, still taking in her brother. "They're good, at least, up to the last letter they were."
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Cowgirl Poet
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Ummm.... I hope I'm at the right part here! Just a leetle confused... :)




Liz's lunch hour dribbled slowly past as she sat in the cafeteria staring at the dingy cup of tea on the table in front of her. She tried to block her thoughts but like a film at a cinema, sounds and memories filtered through and presented themselves in front of her.

“Liz?”

Lifting her face from her hands, Liz looked up to see Julie. Julie's face was still pink and a smile lingered around the corners of her mouth, but her eyes were worried as she looked at Liz.

Without breaking eye contact she pulled a chair out and dropped into it. “Liz, what happened? Did something go wrong with you and Tim?”

Liz shook her head, wordlessly turning away. “He was tired, that's all.”

But it wasn't. Liz remembered Tim laughing with Julie and anguish coursed through her. The love in her heart had been so strong as she'd leaned close to him—she'd wanted more than anything to kiss him and feel his arms around her—feel the safety of their love.

He wouldn't even look at me when I told him I loved him.

“I don't understand it...” Julie's voice faded into Liz's consciousness. Her face was crinkled in perplexity as she rested her chin in the palm of her hand. “He seemed to be doing so well when I was there with him. He was talking and smiling—I thought for sure it had helped.”

“It had. I'm sure it had. You must do it again—every day.”

“I will.” A shy smile flickered across Julie's face. “Peter and the others want me to come back and read again.”

Liz tried to acknowledge her sister's pleasure... But the thought kept running sickly through her mind.

He wouldn't even look at me.

***

In the week that followed Tim barely acknowledged her existence. Julie came every day and color crept slowly back into Tim's face and interest into his eyes as he worked with her. From a distance Liz watched, and it only hurt the more when Tim slipped back into his shell as soon as she came in view.

One Saturday noon Liz came in to help with lunch. As always, her eyes darted over to Tim's bed—and this time she saw the Ward Sister helping him into a wheelchair.

For the first time in her life Liz felt jealousy. Like thorn pricks it dug into her and her lips pressed into a thin line.

“I'll do that, Sister,” she said, going over to the bed.

The Ward Sister looked up questioningly. Liz formed a reassuring smile. “I'll do it.”

“Very well...”

She left and Liz reached out to settle Tim in the chair. Under her touch the muscles in his shoulder tightened as he turned his head away.

Fear mingled with her determination. For one moment she closed her eyes, her fingers tightening on Tim's shoulder as she prayed desperately for guidance.

When her eyes opened she spoke calmly, with firmness. “I'm taking you downstairs, Tim. We'll have lunch together in the cafeteria.”

He glanced up at her and then quickly away. “Li—” He cut off her name before it was fully shaped.

Is it that bad? You can't even say my name? Oh Tim—why?

Tim shrugged out from under her hand. “Don't bother. I'll eat here.”

“No, you'll come with me.”

The firmness in her tone scared her. What if Tim— Once more he looked up at her, in surprise—almost shock.

At least I'm getting his attention.

“Come on.” She hesitated a moment, before pushing the chair away, and looked pleadingly at him. “Please, Tim. You always knew when I needed to get out. Let me do this for you.”

Something she couldn't quite read went through his eyes. Then he dropped his gaze and she heard the soft whistle of breath as he exhaled. “Let's go then.”

In the cafeteria Liz pushed Tim's chair to the farthest corner, a dim little alcove hidden from view by the tall counter. She left him there while she went to get food.

“Sandwiches and tea,” she said, bringing the trays back. “I wish it was something better.”

“Doesn't matter.” Tim reached out awkwardly with his left hand, missing the sandwich completely on his first try. He slanted a sideways glance at her, almost a challenge to see if she would make something of it.

Instead she smiled and picked up her teacup. She'd seen that look before in Peter's eyes and she'd learned what to do about it.

Once more she caught the sound of Tim breathing out. He moved his hand slightly until he could pick up the sandwich. A bit of margarine dropped onto his lap as he raised it to his mouth, but Liz ignored it. Ever so slightly, the tension lightened.
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Spits
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Ack! I missed my scene! Now I really need to go back and write it! Sorry Aly for getting things so out of order! I'll try and get it done before I'm on tomorrow!
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Alyosha
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(No worries, just tell me where to put it when you get to it)


He didn't ask when the last letter was. “Where were you?” Maria said. “Why weren’t you at school?”

Will shrugged. “I don’t know. He didn’t let me. We—er—didn’t discuss the matter much. Maria, this is mad. This isn’t supposed to happen. This isn’t what Mum meant, with the whole evacuation idea. It’s all wrong—”

“I know,” said Maria. “I wish I didn’t. But what can we do?”

“You still have the money, don’t you?”

Maria nodded. “Don’t you?”

“No, he took it. We can catch the next train.”

Maria hesitated, looking past Will and out into the village. Every house was as dark as her own, the blackout curtains shrouding the windows though there was no light to hide. “Mrs Aiken…”

“What about Mrs Aiken?” said Will. "It's gone on long enough. What's she going to do, chase us back to London? They'd rather have you gone anyway. Wouldn't they?"
Edited by Alyosha, Jan 4 2009, 12:19 AM.
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Kaylee
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"Lucy!" Bessie flung open the front door and nearly sprung upon her. "Oh, Lu, I'm--" Suddenly she looked past Lucy in the street, her over shadowed blue eyes looking upon utter darkness. With a start she suddenly realized that the lamp lights had completely gone out, all the down the street.

"Bessie?" Lucy asked. "What's wrong?"

Bessie didn't answer, but the eerie raid siren answered for her. The sound was haunting, breaking the serene silence of the evening with a loud, piercing call. A call that summoned old memories and ghosts of the dead to arise from their graves beneath earth and rubble. Driving a jagged daggers into the hearts of man and then ripping them forth again. Bessie's stomach gave a lurch, a knot forming there. For some reason she did not know, she pulled Lucy inside roughly and slammed the door, locking it, as if bolts and doors could keep the bombs from harming them.

"Get Daisy and Freddie out to the shelter--I'll turn off the lights. Here!" She snatched two torches from the coat closet and handed one to Lucy, then she ran through the kitchen. Taking the stairs to the basement she touched the light switch and ran for the washroom. Finding the electric box, she jerked it open and pulled the heavy switch with all her might. Instantly, total darkness surrounded her.
Edited by Kaylee, Jan 4 2009, 07:48 PM.
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Spits
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(okay, Aly, this will happen on that day that Julie is with Tim.)

One day when I came awake I couldn't get back to sleep. I lay there for hours, as the screams died away, finally disapearing all together, leaving only the deep burning pain behind. Outside of the screen the ward was coming alive. I could hear partients moving about...the squeak of rubber-soled shoes as nurses moved up and down. A nurse came in with breakfast and fed me.
When she left and I found myself alone again, I realized that I was bored. The noises of the ward drifted in. Finally I reached out and fumblingly pushed the screen back—just a little bit. Enough that I could see out, but that no one else could see in.
I started in surprise when I saw who the person in the next bed was. Tim.
All of a sudden my heart stopped beating. The memories of Christmas Eve that washed over me almost made pull the screen shut again in an attempt to shut them out. A girl was coming down the aisle now.
I found myself grinning just a little bit. She was tall and slim, and graceful even though she wore a leg brace and walked with a crutch. Red hair framed her thin, yet beautiful face with the sparkly blue eyes. She'd stopped by Tim's bed now, and said something to him. I found myself watching entranced. Their words were just murmers—but I found myself thinking that her voice was lovely too.
Tim made a dismissive movement, but she hooked a chair with her crutch and spun it around, sitting down on it. I almost laughed. She was persistent too!
And there was something almost familiar about her face...
She and Tim were laughing now—and I found myself thinking how nice the sound was. The laughter was the sort that made you want to laugh too. Which was strange—because I hadn't felt like laughing in quite awhile—not since Christmas Eve.
The screen rattled and I jumped in surprise. Liz was there—and she winked at me. "You must be awfully sick of being all alone in here," she said as she started to change my bandages. "You know, I could really open the screen a little more—"
"No!" I said it almost more fiercly than I'd meant to. "No." I said again more quietly. "It's the old game—I like watching but I'd rather do it without being seen."
Liz bit her lip as if there was something she wanted to say but she wouldn't let it out. I sighed and turned back to watch. Somehow my mood had been clouded by short incident.
The girl was laughing again—and I suddenly started in surprise. The reason that she'd looked familiar before was because she looked just a little like Liz!
"Has—" Liz began, but then stopped.
"You say something?" I asked, looking back at her.
She smiled. "No, Peter."
I nodded and looked back out through the crack. She did look like a younger version of Liz. Suddenly the thought occured to me...was it the sister?
"That's Julie, isn't it?" I said to Liz, who glanced up and then looked back down at what she was doing.
"Yes—that's Julie."
"She looks alot like you." I thought about it. "Although—she is rather prettier."
Liz laughed and swatted playfully at me. "Mind your manners."
I laughed, but the sound felt strange in my throat. "Yes ma'am." What was it that had changed since I'd pulled that screen back and caught the first glimpse of Julie? I shut my eyes for a moment as Liz worked on my face.
"You know—" Liz said—sounding almost hesitant, "I could bring her over. I've told her about you. I'm sure she'd like to meet—"
"No!" If I'd thought about it for a moment I might have not burst out so violently, but the very thought filled me with terror.
Liz jumped and dropped the role of bandages that she was holding. She picked it up quickly and continued—although she didn't look directly at me. "Why not, Peter?"
All of a sudden the image of the little girl was back—the scream echoing and reechoing. And then Julie's face. Turning away. No. No. "I just—I just don't want it."
"Peter—if it's because of—" She glanced up and then looked away again. "Julie has been through a lot too, Peter. She'd understand—" Her voice was pleading now.
"I said no."
Liz turned around, making the pretense of going for another roll of bandages, but it was a moment before she picked it up. I realized that my fierce outburst had hurt her. Somehow—somehow or another I had to explain, although I didn't know how.
"Sorry. Liz...” I willed her to remember. Willed her to understand. “Remember Christmas Eve?"
Liz laughed—but the sound was cold and hard. "Remember it!"
I almost groaned in frustration. This wasn't going well at all. "Sorry. You know that little girl? The one who—" I tried, but couldn't force myself to say it. Couldn't force the words out. The scream was echoing again. Persistently. Ripping into my heart like a rusty dagger.
"Oh, Peter..."
"She looked like I was her worst nightmare." I said, forcing myself to go on. Forcing myself to ignore the heinous sound that was pounding persistently through my mind. "I just don't want to see anyone's face again when they see me as a monster. I can't."
Liz clenched the edge of the trolly until her knuckles went white. "Peter, I don't see you as a monster. You're a person to me! And you mustn't see yourself as a monster either! You're not one. You're a living, breathing, caring human being, capable of goodness and just as full of potential for life as I am."
"Yeah." I forced myself to smile. "Thanks for the kind words, Liz. You’re a good sort.”
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Fnafa4ever
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"Freddie, Daisy, you need to come to the shelter!" Lucy shouted up the stairs. The two little children ran down quickly.
"I hate it when this happens!" Freddie remarked as he calmly walked through the kitchen towards the back door.
"Me too." Daisy whispered, though she was a bit more shaky in her delivery. Lucy grabbed her hand and led her outside, where they climbed into the dimly lit shelter.
A moment later, her mother and Mrs. Pembroke appeared, but Bessie was still missing. She was right behind Lucy when she had taken the twins out, where could she be? Looking over at Mrs. Pembroke, Lucy knew that she was thinking the exact same thing.
"I left something in the house!" Lucy announced.
"No, Lu, you can't go back."
"I'll just be a minute, don't worry!" She ran out of the shelter before her mother could grab hold of her.
"Lucy, get back here!" she shouted, but she didn't care, she needed to find Bessie. (Hmm... deja vu occuring right now... maybe I should grab a picture of Dad while I'm at it... :) )
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Spits
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(Freddie is SO cute!!!)
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1st Lord of the Admiralty of Rob
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Mask walked into the ward and made his way to his bed. he nodded greeting to the amicable soldier whom he'd talked to often, and then he pondered about why the curtains were around Peter's bed and if he hsould stick his head in and say hello. He decided against it and proceeded to his bed, which was next to Peter's. He started when he saw somebody in his bed.
"Par-" Mask cut himself off, seeing that the man was busy talking to a pretty, red headed girl.
Isn't 'e the fellow I plowed into? What's 'is name? Aww, I can't remember... What's he doing 'ere? Mask asked himself. He shook his head and turned to go back to the nurses ward to find out what happened when he ran into Natalie.
"'ello, fair lady." He stopped and bowed.
"'ello Groups Captain Mask." Natalie responded coyly, tilting her head at a cute angle. Her huge, soft blue eyes drew mask in, and he embraced her.
"Wish we could dance, eh love?" He said quietly.
"But of course." Natalie responded in the French style. She stroke Mask's broad shoulders. The tewo heard footsteps clack down the hall and quickly tore away. Natalie blushed in embarrassment of almost being caught and Mask straightened his colllar uncomfortably. He noted how slim Natalie's figure looked in her nurse's outfit and would have given her another hug had not a doctor appeared and noted them loitering in the hall.
"You," The doctor pointed at Natalie, "Come with me - I need your help." He rushed into the ward Mask had just exited. Natalie fluttered her long eyelashes and looked apologetic, "Good bye, Group captain Mask." She said softly.
Mask felt as if he were floating on air, when she spoke, "Good bye, love." He responded.

~

Meanwhile, Allan, far away from everything, lugged ammunition, grenades and guns out of the burning truck. Others helped him and yet others tried putting out the fire. Specifically, several men worked to keep the fire away from the gas tank and the ammunition. One man was working on draining the petroleum from the truck and into into a gerry can. The people lugging ammunition from Allan worked to move it as far away from the truck as possible. Just then, the soldier draining petroleum fainted from the sheer heat.
"Everybody out! It's gonna blow!" Another soldier shouted. There was some tremendous havoc from the back of the truck, but instead of the men escaping out the back, they tore the burning canvas top off of the back and tossed it onto the coarse desert sand. Several soldiers with shovels proceeded to heap the burning canvas with sand. Another man took over draining the petroleum tank, risking his life as the flames licked closer to the tank, now so hot that it was impossible to put the fire out. He yanked the tube out of the truck and staggered back to several men nearby. He handed the can to one of them before collapsing, spent, dehydrated and overheated. The last few barrels and crates of ammunition and other weaponry were tossed out of the back of the truck and dragged back. Just then, the flames reached the petroleum tank. The flames sought the small amount of petroleum left and combusted in a small explosion. A few shreds of shrapnel flew, but the explosion ended almost as soon as it started, killing nobody. Burning shrapnel came close to hitting one of the ammunition crates, but, thanks to the efforts of the two men who had drained the pretrolum and all of the men who had lugged out ammunition, nobody had been killed in what likely would have been a devastating explosion. The Brigadier mopped his forehead nervously but thankfully. he suddenly felt a little weak in the knees, but his jeep had joined the fray. Alan walked over to him and saluted, "Are you all right, sir?"
"I'm fine, Corporal."
Edited by 1st Lord of the Admiralty of Rob, Jan 5 2009, 04:01 PM.
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Alyosha
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The thought stung, and Maria pushed it aside. “We can’t just leave like that, can we?” she said instead.

Will had his mouth set in a stubborn line. “We can’t very well stay, either—”

“We could go see the billeting officer. Maybe once she saw you, she would believe us… If we were to talk to her,” Maria said, taking great care with her words, “if we were, what would you tell her? Just what would get you away from here, I mean.”

“Oh—” said Will, as if he was absently considering. “Perhaps that he locks me in the attic at night—and makes me work like a slave instead of going to school—and the money of course—and that he beats me when he’s in a bad temper and shouts at me when he’s not—”

By the end, his voice had lost its false nonchalance. Maria shuddered. “Stop. That’s enough. That should do it.” She didn't ask if it was true; she knew that it was, however much Will would hide it by playing along with her game.

Georgie's eyes were wide with horror. "Did that really happen?"

"No," said Will, though he knew she wouldn't believe him. "No, it's just a story."

“How did you get out, then?” Maria asked.

But even there, there was no tale of a resourceful escape. “He threw me out,” said Will. “He was drunk, I think...”

He paused. “It’s all right,” said Maria. “Don’t talk about it if you’d rather not.” She searched for something else to say—what it was did not matter. “We got a letter from home, and presents,” she said. “I can get it if you’d like.” [/font]
Edited by Alyosha, Jan 6 2009, 10:35 PM.
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Spits
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(Oh, ROB!!! Mask is...sick!!! Or something!!!)
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TheSilentWanderer
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Will nodded; and Maria quickly but silently went back into the house to retrieve it. She appeared several minutes later; the letter in one hand and a parcel in the other.

"Here," she said simply, handing the package to Will. "It's a Christmas present from home."
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Alyosha
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“Thanks.” Awkwardly he put the letter into his coat pocket and stuck the package beneath his arm, to open later. “D'you know when the next train runs?”

“Not until morning, I should think,” said Maria. “We'll have to hide you until then.” She scanned the garden and the front of the house for anywhere that could accommodate a boy for the night. “There—the shed. She never goes there. It's cold, but maybe I can get some blankets...”

“It's all right,” said Will. “Only a few more hours now.”

"Get back inside, then, Georgie," said Maria, looking down at her sister who was shivering, despite her dressing gown. "It's cold, and we'll only be a minute."

"I'm not cold, and I haven't even --" Georgie began.

"It's only until the morning," said Maria gently. "Go on."

While Maria fiddled with the shed door, Will looked up towards the house, and saw a small, lonely face peering down at them from beneath the curtains. He waved at it, and the face twisted into a grin before disappearing.

The door creaked with alarming volume, but no scolding neighbours—or Mrs Aiken—emerged from the houses. “Careful, don't bang into anything,” said Maria, as both of them tried to discern the hazards behind the darkness.

(Oy. *dies laughing* Mask is sick? Agent must be sick! )
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TheSilentWanderer
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Squinting in the darkness, the two of them finally found, after much stumbling and scraping of shins, a clear spot on the floor where Will would be able to sit as he waited for dawn. Maria, having already run back silently to the house and retrieved a blanket off her bed- she hoped Mrs. Aiken wouldn't notice- handed it to Will, and with a final few whispers, she herself headed back to the house.
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Spits
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(they're both sick I think! Double oi!!!)
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TheSilentWanderer
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Comments in the NSH chat thread please.....
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Kaylee
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(Aly said that the main big mess of the raid would mostly be away from them, but I'm just going to use one bomb near them to strike fear into their hearts!)

Bessie groped in the darkness of the wash room for the torch. Where had she left it? Blindly, her fingers stumbled over something and it crashed to the floor, reaching toward she flet the long, cold handle of the torch and grabbed it. Flicking on the light she turned toward the doorway when the first, howling whistle lasped onto the earth below. She stood still, silent, hardly daring to breath as she listened for where it was going to land. Louder and louder came the shrill, sickening scream...high pitched, terrible, screeching in her ears. Bessie covered her ears and looked about for a place to hide. The laundry table stood nearby and she dove for its cover just the crashing explosion hit the earth!
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Fnafa4ever
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The ground shook as Lucy ran across the yard and back into the house.
"Bess? Where are you?" SHe shouted. She listened closely but couldn't hear a thing besides the booms of the bombs.
"Bessie! Bess!"
"Lu?"
"Bess!" Lucy ran over to her friend. "We need to get out of here--now! Let's go!"
She pulled Bessie by the arm. As they ran outside, they saw a streak fall near a house across the street--right near Mrs. Park's house.
"No!" Lucy whispered.
"Lucy, we have to get to the shelter, you can check on her later." It was Bessie's turn to tug on Lucy's arm.
"She might be hurt!"
"We'll find her afterward!"
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Kaylee
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Bessie tugged at Lucy's arm, all the while sending urgent, pleaful prayers up to the Lord for Mrs. Park. Lord, don't let her die! Not with Robert just come home!

The two girls pushed through the bomb shelter door and clapped it shut behind them, breathing hard.

"Oh, thank the Lord!" Mrs. Pembroke whispered and embraced her daughter.

Mrs. Miller grabbed Lucy tightly and held her. "Don't ever do such a foolish thing again, Lucy! Please!"

The two girls didn't answer, only held tightly to their mother's, feeling protected, but not oblivious to the harm that surrounded them. They could still be hurt, not matter how much they tried to prevent that.

Lord of Lord's protect us this night!
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Alyosha
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Will woke from an uneasy sleep when the door scratched open. Maria saw him put his hands over his face to shield himself, though he was still half asleep. "Hush, it's only us," she whispered.

Georgie was behind her, shivering in a coat that was growing too small. Both carried bags at their sides, and their old gas masks hung round their necks. The sun had begun to creep up past the hills, glowing dully through the clouds on a village still silent.
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Fnafa4ever
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Lucy felt like a child again, sitting on her mother's lap with her arms around her. She remembered how this was exactly what she wished for earlet that day, when she was standing on Mrs. Park's porch. Poor Mrs. Park. Lucy felt so ashamed. A second after knocking on the door, Lucy realized she couldn't do it. She ran. She couldn't tell her. And now, Mrs. Park might die and never know that her son is alive. It was all her fualt.
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1st Lord of the Admiralty of Rob
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(you bet!)

Just then, the sounds of battle ceased and a cheer rent the air, "The Jerries' 're retreatin'!"
"Good to know." The Lieutenant Colonel stated calmly, walking up from behind the Brigadier. He saluted, "Everything's in order, sir."
"Jolly good. Now where's my blasted jeep?" The Brigadier asked irritably, "It's bloody 'ot out 'ere."
"Your jeep is chasing the Jerries, sir. It 'ad a machine gun mounted on the back like my jeep, right sir?"
"Yes!" the Brigadier snapped, "Then the troops piled into our jeeps and the major's and went chasing the Kraut - I wouldn't advice splitting up, again, sir."
"Yes yes, get me a shelter up - quicklike!"
"Yessah!" The Lieutenant Colonel pointed at Allan, "You round up some others an' set up a tent for the Brigadier."
"Sirrah?"
"Yes Corporal?"
"Where's the African Division?"
"I don't know." The Lieutenant Colonel snapped irritably, this time.
"They've been destroyed." The Major walked up, "I see we're 'oldin a meetin'. I've dissolved the remnants of it and formed them into our own."
"Good man - at least one o' you bloody fools is good for sumthin'. No where's my shelter?!?!?"
"Sir," The Major interrupted solemnly, "A whole battalion was decimated. Don't you think we ought to move fast and catch up with the rest?"
"Oh, bloody bother. Yes yes - get me my jeep!"
The Major raised his eyebrow at the Lieutenant Colonel, whom got the message and went off to radio the three jeeps. In the meantime, the Major proceeded to gather several assistants and take a head count.
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TheSilentWanderer
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Will sat up and wearily rubbed his eyes. He still did look rather tired, Maria thought, as she handed him an apple. "Here, it's breakfast today. Sorry it's not much."

Receiving the apple Will quickly ate it, and wiped his hands on his shirt to dry them. "We're going to the train station, right?" he asked.

Maria nodded. "We've got to hurry though- we don't want to be late. I've got the train ticket money in my pocket," she replied, patting her coat pocket where the money has kept.
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Alyosha
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But the station stood empty when they arrived. Will and Maria looked at each other sheepishly, both of them thinking of how often the trains used to run in London. "Here we'll be lucky if it comes once a day," said Maria.

They checked the schedule and found that there were more than a few hours to wait. The three of them sat down on the bench without a word, even from Georgie.

Will opened the parcel first. Inside was a pocketknife, a rather better specimen than the one he presently carried. He put it into his pocket and took the letter out, all with the same blank expression, so that Maria could not tell whether he was pleased or not.

But as he slipped the letter from its torn envelope and began to read, his face lost a little of its hardness. When he reached the end he began again, from the "Dear Maria, Will, and Georgie". Maria looked away when she saw his hand move suspiciously near his eyes.

"How long until she finds out you're gone?" Will said, at length.
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Cowgirl Poet
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In that moment Liz got a tiny glimpse of God's hand. How many times had she asked God “why” after some interchange with Peter wrung everything out of her like water out of laundry? And yet...if she hadn't learned with Peter she would truly have no chance with Tim now.

The enormity of this moment felt as though she was walking a tightrope over a chasm. One wrong move...

Her hand trembled as she reached for her sandwich. With effort, she steadied it. God, please...

She let the sound of chewing and the click of china be the only conversation for a while. Just being close to Tim was enough for the moment. If she closed her eyes she could pretend he was looking at her with the old love in his eyes...

There was a soft thud and her eyes popped open. Half of Tim's sandwich lay in his lap. He was stared down at it and his fingers were clenching the remaining piece into crumbs. Lifting his gaze, he stared belligerently at her. “Now what?”

The tears rose inside Liz. She couldn't just ignore this. Why was Tim doing this? Couldn't he see nothing had changed for them?

He watched her angrily, waiting for her to pick up the sandwich, to dust off the crumbs, to prove he was helpless even to feed himself.

I'm not going to.

Pushing his plate closer to him, she peeked into her teacup. “I'm going to get more tea,” she said, straining to keep her voice normal. “I'll get you some more too while you fix that.”

Away from the table she sucked in great gulps of air. She hadn't realized how suffocating it had been back there...

Pain went through her all over again as she realized she was relieved to get away. This is what Peter had said, all those weeks ago. “Don't tell me you could be normal. Don't tell me it'd be just as if nothing had happened."

The tea sloshed into the saucers when she poured, but she didn't have the energy to wipe it up. Tim had picked up his sandwich when she returned to their table, and brushed away the crumbs.

“Here,” Liz said, handing him his teacup.

He accepted it silently, taking it carefully. As it he did, his hand brushed hers... For a moment he held still and the touch ran warmth all throughout Liz. He hadn't pulled away.

It was over so swiftly, yet as she took her seat she couldn't hide her smile. “I think the tea is a little better today,” she said, lifting her own teacup. “I'm going to have to ask the cook to teach me how to make it. It's been so long since I've been in a kitchen... I want to learn how to cook again so when we're married—”

She broke off as Tim's hand jerked and tea sloshed out of his cup. A translucent amber stain spread slowly on his bathrobe.

Tim swore under his breath. He slammed the teacup down onto the table and grabbed for a napkin.

The teacup teetered precariously and Liz put out a hand automatically to steady it. The china was still warm from the tea and Tim's grasp, and she tightened her fingers around it to keep from reaching out to help Tim. There was a funny lump in her throat as he gave up the job and—clenching his fist so that the knuckles went white—he crumpled the napkin and threw it to the floor.

“It's not the end―” Liz started when he looked up.

“Yes it is.” For the first time in two weeks he met her gaze and held it. In his grey eyes a storm raged―she could see the storm clouds and see the lightening flashes. The thunder in his voice wrapped around her, shaking her to her soul. “It is over, Liz. For us.”

Liz shook her head. “No. No.”

“It's over, Liz.” Tim's eyes searched her face. “I'm only sorry I said anything at all―dragged you into this mess. You can't think I'd marry you after this!”

“But why? You can't think what―what happened means anything to me!” Liz cried out. Without thinking she reached out both of her hands to take Tim's. Only when he drew back, his face tightening, did she realize what she'd done.

“You see,” she said sadly, drawing her hands back. “I can't think of you in any other way that the whole, dear man I love.”

Tim winced like he'd been struck. “Liz...” His voice sounded clogged, and Liz felt the drag in her own throat of unspoken pain. “My life―the way I thought I'd live it―is over. I can't practice medicine with one hand. I can't make a living. I can't support a wife.”

Hysterical relief brought laughter bubbling up, almost spilling past her lips. “Is that all? I thought you stopped loving me.”

For the fraction of a second, Tim closed his eyes. His head tipped back and she could see the visible throbbing of the pulse in his throat. “I'd have to die to do that, Liz. But it's got to be this way. If we make false promises to ourselves―” He looked away, swallowing hard. “I can't live thinking 'maybe'. I'll won't marry you unless I can support you. And I won't let you tie yourself to me.”

Liz reached out once more and gently took Tim's hand in hers. Her thumb rubbed the inside of his palm, feeling all the familiar lines and the quiet strength of a doctor. How many times had she been strengthened by the firm hold of that hand?

But now Tim had no strength to give. Her thumb moved in circles as she looked at his face―saw the slumped way he sat in the wheelchair. He looked twenty years older and...smaller, somehow. As if he was losing stature with the hopes and dreams he was losing.

It was her turn to give strength now.

How? She had to breath deeply, even now, to keep from trembling with fear. All she wanted was for Tim to put her arms around her and hold her safe.

That was how. Like the touch of God's finger warmth spread through her cold body and she knew.

She pushed her chair back and walked till she was standing next to Tim. He looked up, questioning, as she dropped to her knees and put her arms around him.

“I'm already tied to you,” she whispered against his cheek, feeling the unfamiliar scratch of stubble against her skin. “And the knot couldn't possibly be undone. I won't ask for more, Tim. But whatever the future holds―I'll love you. And I'll wait for you. Forever, if I have to.”

And please God, hold us together. Somehow...
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1st Lord of the Admiralty of Rob
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The jeeps roared back and the Brigadier loaded on and ordered the driver to get moving. The Major caught the Brigadier by the arm, "Sir, we 'ad two battalions of eight hundred and fourty-five hundred men each, but now we only 'ave one and less than a quarter 'ere. Nine hundred, left, total, out of one thousand, six hundred and eighty. Losses were severe." He shouted over the engine.
"And, what'd ye wan' me t'do about it?" The Brigadier roared back, signaling the driver to carry on. The jeep rolled forward and then took off, leaving the major standing with his arm still raised in the air, staring forlornly at the jeep that had left him in the dust.
Edited by 1st Lord of the Admiralty of Rob, Jan 7 2009, 02:34 PM.
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