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E - Everyone

Thomas

by Valkyria


The teapot shrilled, and I stood up and collected the cups from the shelf. The empty coffee container sat forlornly on the counter, with its logo facing me as if it was hoping I would fill its contents with the coffee ground.

"I'm sorry," I said, despite knowing it couldn't hear me. "I want to drink coffee so much, but we have to ration it. So until the war is over, you're going to stay empty. Besides, tea's okay once you get used to it."

I placed mint leaves in each cup and poured the beverage in them.

"The mint makes it smell better," I muttered.

I sat in my place at the table and sipped my tea, watching my mother's drink steam across the table. Her shift ended ten minutes ago. The office sometimes kept her late, but I hoped she'd return from the office by the time her tea turned cool, to ease her stress.

The front door opened, and I stood up, smiling.

"Hi, Mom. You're just in time to drink tea and eat cookies!" I made my way to the living room.

"They sure kept you late, huh-" My breath caught in my throat.

"Hi, Jane, did you miss me?" My brother stood in front of the radio, grinning. He wore the same crooked smile I missed, and his uniform was pristine.

"Thomas!" I shrieked and flew at him, wrapping my arms around him. "You're home! You're home!"

He swung me around, and we laughed between tears.

"I missed you so much!" I cried. "Both Mom and I missed you! Are you alright?"

"I've never been better," Thomas said, and he pulled away. He glanced around the room, focusing on a recent picture our neighbor took of Mom and I. "I've missed this place. Where's Mom?"

"Still at work," I said. "But she'll be so happy that you're home."

"Yes," he said quietly. "I hope so." He hunched his shoulders, not looking at me.

"What are you talking about? Of course, she will," I said, feeling a pit in my stomach. "You've been away for months. She'd been terrified that you were killed or captured, or-"

"I've fought in many battles," Thomas said. "I've seen so many horrors." He clenched his fists. "I killed men twice my age, and I killed boys. But not for one instance have I ever thought I'd die myself."

The bad feeling intensified. "You're alive," I said, trying to push it down. He didn't move. "You're home. Thomas, please come sit down. I'll make you tea. We'll wait for Mom to come home and surprise her."

Thomas shook his head.

"I wish I could see Mom one last time. I wish we were little again, and play games before Dad died. I wish there wasn't any war."

He finally turned toward me, and my chest seized up. Blood trickled out of the corners of his mouth. His uniform was wet and sandy, and his eyes looked so cloudy. He smiled sadly against grey skin.

I couldn't move. I could only stare at Thomas in horror as he walked toward me. Tears spilled down my cheeks.

He hugged me again, squeezing me tightly. I smelled salt on his collar.

"I love you..." he whispered.

"I-I love you too," I choked out. Tears dotted my vision.

I felt something warm and wet on the front of my dress. Trembling, I pressed my hand there and raised it to my face. Blood covered my palm. I looked over his shoulder and saw a small part of his back was red.

"I love you so much..."

I sat up on the sofa, breathing deeply. I pressed my hands to my face, feeling sweaty cheeks and salty tears. My heart pounded. I looked at my hands, turning them around. They were clean.

It was just a nightmare, I thought. A horrible nightmare. Thomas is fine. He's in England. He sent us a letter two weeks ago.

"Jane? Are you in here?"

At my mother's voice, I wiped away the tears and grabbed the nearest book off the shelf. I flipped to a random page as Mom walked in, hiding one hand behind her back.

"Are you alright, honey? You look a bit red," she said, her voice raw. I looked up.

"Oh, yeah. I stubbed my toe," I said.

She nodded, and I noticed her red eyes.

"Mom, are you okay?" I asked. She bit her lip, tearing up. "What's wrong?"

She held up a piece of paper from behind her back. It was a military telegram. I dropped the book.

"Mom?" I stood up. My hands started to tremble. "What does it say?"

Without a word, she handed it to me and turned away, clasping her chest.

THE SECRETARY OF WAR DESIRES ME TO EXPRESS HIS DEEP REGRET THAT YOUR SON LIEUTENANT THOMAS P. TAYLOR WAS KILLED IN ACTION ON JUNE 6TH 1944 ON THE BEACH OF NORMANDY LETTER FOLLOWS THE ADJUTANT GENERAL


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Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:58 am
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WaterSpout wrote a review...



Hello imaginer2018! You have delivered an interesting read. I have to wonder, was this in World War One or World War Two? Well, I guess I should start with my thoughts. So, without further ado, I'll get started.

"I'm sorry," I said, despite knowing it couldn't hear me. "I want to drink coffee so much, but we have to ration it. So until the war is over, you're going to stay empty. Besides, tea's okay once you get used to it."

This is a nice ouch of realism. I mean, I sadly don't have conversations with inanimate objects, but I can see how people could. That's what I wanted to say, this is realistic.
"Hi, Jane, did you miss me?" My brother stood in front of the radio, grinning. He wore the same crooked smile I missed, and his uniform was pristine.

I'm not sure why this was needed. At first, I didn't know what you meant here, but I assume you meant in front of a physical radio beside the door. But you could have said in front of the door. But hey, there's nothing wrong. Unless I'm wrong.
The front door opened, and I stood up, smiling.
"Hi, Mom. You're just in time to drink tea and eat cookies!" I made my way to the living room.
"They sure kept you late, huh-" My breath caught in my throat.
"Hi, Jane, did you miss me?" My brother stood in front of the radio, grinning. He wore the same crooked smile I missed, and his uniform was pristine.
"Thomas!" I shrieked and flew at him, wrapping my arms around him. "You're home! You're home!"

This is very emotional, how Jane thought it was her mom, when it actually was her brother, and how she reacted. For a second, I thought it'd have a happy ending and wondered what you meant by your description. And of course it came when I wasn't expecting it.
He finally turned toward me, and my chest seized up. Blood trickled out of the corners of his mouth. His uniform was wet and sandy, and his eyes looked so cloudy. He smiled sadly against grey skin.

Aww, it's saddening seeing how he had a life ahead of him, and how it all got thrown away. Not that he died in vain, I hope not, but how he could've lived longer. AND how it was all just a dream.
One last thing I have to point out is the last part:
THE SECRETARY OF WAR DESIRES ME TO EXPRESS HIS DEEP REGRET THAT YOUR SON LIEUTENANT
THOMAS P. TAYLOR WAS KILLED IN ACTION ON JUNE 6TH 1944 ON THE BEACH OF NORMANDY LETTER
FOLLOWS THE ADJUTANT GENERAL
[/quote][/quote]
You could try moving that LETTER so it wouldn't look weird next to NORMANDY, if that makes sense.
Anyways, that's all I got. Overall, this was sad but also an interesting read. Hopefully you can write more!
With caution,

WaterSpout




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Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:04 am
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VioletFantasy wrote a review...



Hello @imaginer2018!
Wow!!! This is such an amazing story. I was so enthralled by the plot and the characters. I love it when characters dream about something that is actually happening before they find out about it in real life. It always creates a very interesting story. You did a wonderful job keeping the readers from knowing that Jane was dreaming. I had no idea that she wasn’t awake until she woke up! That was quite the shock.

"I'm sorry," I said, despite knowing it couldn't hear me. "I want to drink coffee so much, but we have to ration it. So until the war is over, you're going to stay empty. Besides, tea's okay once you get used to it."

I really enjoyed reading this part. I often talk to inanimate objects and have found them to be skilled conversationalists. I have yet to talk to our coffee container, but I will check on it tomorrow.

"I wish I could see Mom one last time. I wish we were little again, and play games before Dad died. I wish there wasn't any war."

This one almost made me cry. Poor Thomas. He sounds like such a sweet boy whose life was ruined by the war. Sadly, this happened to so many young men throughout the wars. At least he got to say goodbye to his sister, even if it was only through her dreams. You can really see how close the two siblings are to each other. You illustrate this bond beautifully.

These were the two parts that really impacted me as a reader. However, every single sentence in this story is very powerful. One more thing I would like to mention is how you kept the story historically correct. You added several things that are common during wars, such as coffee shortages and military telegrams. It makes your story very realistic.

Overall, this was quite a heart wrenching tale. I really adored it and I hope I can read more of your writing in the future! Keep up the good work!!
VioletFantasy





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