Chapter one, Part 1. Taylie & Charlotte Post #1 Page 1 “Let me see it,” I said as Taylie squirmed in her seat. She held out her finger and peered at me with her brilliant green eyes as I examined the cut, it was shallow but bleeding a bit. I placed a band aid on it gently and gave it a kiss. “Now go play.” “But I’m injured!” “Is that what the soldiers say?” She loved to hear stories about soldiers in the books I read to her at night. “Soldiers don’t play” she said and folded her arms, thinking she had outwitted me. “Alright, what do you want to do?” She thought about it a while then said “Um…I’m gonna go play.” I laughed as the little four year old ran for the door. I watched her out the window, her bare feet browned with dirt as she chased her little black bunny around the yard. The sun cast it’s golden rays on her long curly red hair and set it on fire. Her large ringlets bounced and shimmered, her ashen skin making perfect contrast in the light. I stood at the window with my mouth agape in awe. Why couldn’t I have some of her perfectness? I thought pathetically in mock jealousy. I walked into our little old country kitchen and began making dinner. My thoughts drifted as I browned the ground beef. Suddenly I heard a loud gunshot followed by a child’s scream, coming from the front of the house, where Taylie was. I screamed and nearly jumped out The door and just couldn’t run to her fast enough. She lay on her side with her bunny in her arms, her piercing green eyes wide with absolute fear. I realized with unfathomable relief that she had not been hit, but she had her hand placed on her hair on the side of her head, I gently moved her hand and gasped in horror… Post #2 There was a red line on her cheek where the bullet grazed her skin, it was slightly burned and her hair had a dark burn spot. When she got over the shock she began to scream and cry in my arms. My eyes stung but I knew for her I had to keep it together, I nearly lost her! Try keeping it together when- then a sudden thought came into my head, someone, some horrid, god-dam*ed (plz excuse language!) person tried to kill the only thing dear to me. I stroked her graze and a burning, bitter hatred, boiled up inside me. I stood up, Taylie in arms and the bunny at my heals, and tramped inside. Post #3 I was hit by a burning smell as soon as stepped in the doorway. “Shoot,” I muttered and ran to the living room and placed Taylie on the couch then ran for the kitchen, I got there just in time to see the pan ignite. I grabbed the handle then pulled away. I ignored my burn as I tore through a drawer looking for a pot-holder, when I found one I threw the flaming pan into the sink and turned the faucet on. I sighed when the fire was out and nearly forgot about Taylie. I jumped up and ran into the living room as I remembered the other incident. Sitting down carefully, I pulled Taylie close and the tears began to stream down my tired face. How many bad things can happen in one day? Wait, no, that’s a bad question. I got distracted by the ticking of the clock and glanced at the time, six already? Just then Taylie began to snap out of it, “Mommy, what happened? I’m scared! Don’t let the bad man get me!” I loved it when she called me Mommy, I wasn’t her real mom though, I’m only 24. Her real mom died when she was born, but little Taylie had no relatives and nobody wanted her, I worked as a nurse at the hospital where she was born and I took her home. She started breathing heavily and I soothed her and sung our lullaby, Hush, this is only the beginning of your song I am here, though you mother is gone I love you more Than all but thy Lord Hush this is only the middle of your song I am here though your father is gone I love you more Than all but thy Lord I know it wasn’t long But hush, this is the end of your song. She whimpered but soon fell asleep. I put some aloe on her burn and put her in my bed. I went to the kitchen and cleaned up my mess, thankfully, there wasn’t much damage. I nibbled on a sandwhich and thought about what she’d said. Don't let the bad man get me! Her words rang in my head. I felt the need to stay with her at all times so I went into my room and watched her peaceful face as she slept. Eventually it got late and I slid in the bed next to her and pulled her close. Post #4 Page 2 In the morning I got up before Taylie so I could make her breakfast on our slightly burned stove. She liked waffles so I made her waffles and grits, I knew she would be hungry and I wanted to give her something healthy besides waffles. I got distracted by waiting for Taylie to rise and almost burned the waffles. I began to wonder what was with the burning lately, when I heard soft footprints on the tile. I turned toward the noise. Post #5 Taylie came down the hall yawning and scratching her head. I went over to her and swung her up in my arms. “Mommy.” She complained when I held her like a baby. I put her on my hip and she hugged me tight. “I made you waffles.” I said. “Yay! I love waffles.” she grinned “I made you some grits too.” “Ugh..” She made a face. “You have to eat it or you will get sick.” I warned her. “I am a little hungry..” I put her down in her seat and poured her some orange juice. “Mommy, where’s Cephas?” I chuckled whenever she said her bunny’s name, it means Peter in some language I can’t remember, but its sounds funny coming from a four-year-old. She wanted to call him Peter when we first go him but I told her too many bunnies already had that name then I remembered from somewhere that Cephas means Peter, so I suggested that and she liked it. “I brought him inside after you fell asleep.” “Where is he now?” she said tilting her head to the side, which she often did when she asked questions. “I think he’s under the couch.” “I’m gonna go get him.” Poor bunny. “Taylie-” but I let her go get the little guy. She came back with the fluffy thing in her arms, “What?” I thought something else up quick “Don’t forget to feed him.” She rolled her eyes at that- she always fed him. “I know Mom!” she exclaimed startling Cephas. I just laughed and we ate our breakfast. All three of us. Post #6 When breakfast was over I cleaned up the kitchen with Taylie. “Mom, can I watch TV?” She asked hesitantly. “No, but you can play with Cephas inside or read a book or take a shower, there are lots of things you can do besides rot your brain in front of that TV.” “Can I go swimming in the pond?” “I don’t want you to go outside honey, but you could take a bath.” I was still getting over yesterdays trauma, but I didn't want to remind her. “That’s so boring!” “You could give Cephas a bath.” “He doesn’t need a bath mom! He’s a bunny.” “They take baths every once and awhile.” "Ugh, fine.” I smiled because she was so cute when she was angry. She picked up the bunny and stomped into the bathroom as loud as she could, which wasn’t very loud, and shut the door. I chuckled. Just then I remembered something important, I never called the police. What was I thinking? As if on cue, it started raining. I didn’t think much of it until I realized it would wash away all the evidence! I grabbed a tarp from the cupboard and ran out the door into the rain. I placed the tarp over where the bullet had made impact with the ground. I felt a little silly doing it, who knew if it would even help? What can they get from a bullet? I suddenly had a scared feeling. I looked around me but I couldn’t see far in the rain. I hurried inside to see Taylie waiting for me with Cephas wrapped in her arms. “What is it?” I asked curiously, “Cephas pooped in the tub.” She stated. “Oh. Well did you clean it up?” I said trying not to smile at her honesty. “Uh, it went down the drain.” She shrugged “Ok,” I said trying to hide my hysteria. They are SO cute at this age! Post #7 I remembered again why I was dripping on the carpet. I went to the phone shivering and a bit later I waited for the cop cars to pull down the driveway. Part 2, Stefan's story (steh-fawn) 2 1/2 years later. August 2nd, 1942 Dieppe, France. 1. SHADOW It is four in the morning, I hadn't slept a wink. Staff Sergeant Raoul walks up to me while I checked my bags for the trip, "Hurry up." He barked at me, "Yes sir." I answer respectfully, we always had to put up with harsh commands without showing any emotion but respect and obedience, not that it bothered me much. I hurried after him and the other men outside to the jeep. It was cold and the sky was gray, it looked like snow, or sleet. It was going to be miserable weather. I write this as we drive along a little dirt road. The landscape is an endless hilly field with the dirt road that stretches out in front of us, and an occasional bush or white boulder sticking up out of the ground. "Wonder who lived there last," my buddy Garrett said to me, pointing to a little stone cottage with the roof caved in and vines crawling all over it. Garrett had a strong build and black hair which you could see was wavy despite the military crop. He is fun guy, a party type, he got into trouble a lot as a teen and his dad sent him to a military camp, he ended up loving it and joined army. We drove on for hours, and after awhile I finally managed to drift into a light sleep.. 1 August 6th, 1942 Abbeville, France. I crouched down in the mud and quickly reloaded my gun. The sound of shooting was everywhere, desensitizing my hearing. I was lying down next Garrett (we were often paired together) behind a couple of logs, in a depression blown from a grenade. I quickly shot a guy I saw move behind a bush. Just then five airplanes flew in a V pattern overhead, the ones that were supposed to be here an hour and a half ago I thought incredibly. My heart pounded in my chest as I watched the line of bombs slowly falling to earth, right on the enemy. I watched as the men ran for cover, only to get caught in the great fiery explosions. I looked slowly over at Garrett, at the same time he looked at me, I smiled at him then cleared my throat, "It's about time," I said and he laughed. Back at the base we drank and rested in the military tents that we had to set up first. As I laid on my mattress filled with grass and straw, I thought of my fiancé, Charlotte, at home. She had been separated from someone she loved but never talked about it. She has no relatives so I was upset because I didn't get to ask her father for her hand. We'd been together for two and a half years now. It was perfect when I proposed to her in the summer on my break, I love her so much. It will be on the 17th of April, her favorite month. We were going to get married on the beach but she changed her mind and so we will get married under a maple tree arch, where we used to hang out in the summer, and our names are carved where the branches meet. The thought made me smile. Then I thought about my mom and my sister, how much I missed them, I decided to write a letter to them. I tore a page from my journal and began to write. 2 Dear friends and family, I miss you ever so much, I wish I were to come home sooner, the general says we are to go home in about two months. I am doing well, though this place is torture, I enjoy serving my country. It's very cold now, even though it is only August, I absolutely dread winter. Here the sun thinks shinning is useless in the mountains, and the constant freezing rain also makes things quite dreary. I loved the coffee you sent me, thank you, it was great in mornings. But enough about me, I haven't heard from you in awhile, how are my niece and nephew Claire and Adam? And my sister Vera? I miss everyone so much. I must be going now, please, write back soon. Forever yours, Stefan Antonio I folded it in half and sealed it in an envelope. I wrote the address, put it in the mail bag and began to write another letter to Charlotte, Dear Love, Today we rest and make merry, we have won a small battle in Abbeville. But I can't sleep because you're on my mind. When I get back I'm going to take you in my arms and swing you around like back when we were in college. Ah, yes I sure do miss those years. I am counting down the days 'til I get back. And I hope you are making preparations, don't forget to invite George Williams from high school, oh man, how the girls went crazy! I wonder what Vera would do if he came to our wedding! She'd be red as a tomato, remember when she spilled her science experiment on his shirt, in front of the whole class? You know she never got over that, she was horrified for weeks! Poor Vera. Anyway, how are you? Let me know right away if you are ill. And do not go off on your own, take someone with you always, a beautiful girl like yourself should not go anywhere alone. I will bring back something special for you, like I always do. I can't help it, I never can. I always see something when we have to go to town for supplies. Anyway, I really hope your happy, please tell me what's new. I love you, be safe, Stefan 3 August 7th, 1942 Amiens, France When I woke up I quickly got dressed in the cramped tent. The morning was cold and crisp and I wanted to go right back to bed but I knew that was out of the question. I stepped out into the cold morning and boiled some nasty dried soup over the fire. I watched it bob and soften in the hot water, It's better than nothing. I thought to myself. When it was done I inhaled like it was delicious. Definitely not. I looked over at the boys laughing at James, he was slim and not really army material, but he was bright and so now he's our new medic. I walked over and asked what was so funny and James replied, "I accidently got the medicines mixed up, and when SSgt. asked for something for his knee, I accidently gave him a laxative, oh boy, this'll be just great when we have to stop every five minutes!" I laughed then asked "What'll happen when were dying on the battlefield, will you mix up the medicine then rookie?" "No way, he just got me when I was rearranging them." "You better hope your yellowbelly." I joked "Hey, I'm just as tough as any of you," "Yeah that's easy to believe," John said doubtfully "Wanna go? Huh?" James asked "Nah, I don't like picking on weaklings." John replied "Yeah, sure." James said. "Okay guys, let's not spill any blood, James's blood, anyway," I said and they laughed at the last part. It was all good humor joking from then on, we all knew James wouldn't take any of this personally. I sat by a fire and watched the flames eat at the wood like demons, I turned away and looked around the camp. My eyes caught sight of something in the woods near camp. I thoughtlessly got up and walked toward it. It looked like the shadow of a man...with maybe a rifle in his hand? So why was I walking toward it? That I couldn't explain. I was startled by a loud laugh, I turned and looked behind me, I saw one of the boys guffawing at something. I turned back at the sound of leaves in the wind, but the guy was gone. THIS IS MINE. DO NOT COPY, I HAVE THE RIGHT TO ARREST YOU FOR IT.