By Donna L Martin
Mud mixed with blood clung to Rory's pants and what was left of his boots as he struggled to make his way up the hill. The day had been long and the cries of the wounded were fading away with the sunlight. Some might call him a coward for not dying on the battlefield. Rory wasn't sure himself why he wasn't lying in the trenches with his comrades. All he knew was he was done with all the fighting and he was going home.
Three years of fighting and Rory almost forgot what home felt like. He was just a kid back then and ran away to enlist before his Pa could say no. He told them he was eighteen so they put a drum in his hands and called him a soldier. Dreams of glory were soon pushed aside by the stark reality of fighting brother against brother. Too much bloodshed over a cause long forgotten when a body just followed orders and tried to stay alive.
Rory had almost made it to the top of the hill when he realized he might not recognize his little sister. She was barely thirteen when he joined the fighting and she was all grown up now. If not for this blasted war, she would be making plans for her coming out ball. There would be a flurry of excitement as Adeline wonders which suitor will ask for her first dance. But there would be no dance now. Hell, Rory didn't even know if his family had survived the war so far. Would Adeline even recognize the gaunt face clothed in moth eaten rags as her beloved brother returning home? Would Pa welcome him back, knowing he fought for the other side?
But today was the breaking point. Until today Rory managed to believe what he was doing was right. Until today he had honor and pride on his side as he fought to right a wrong. Until today he could say he had never held a gun in anger nor taken another's life. But the horror of watching someone else's brother die by his hands was too much and the only thing he could think to do is lay down his weapon and go home...
***Okay, it's your turn! What happens next? Does Rory make it home? Does Adeline recognize her big brother? Does Pa forgive his only son for leaving? Put your creative cap on and add a sentence or add a paragraph. Continue my story or start one of your own. Join the fun and see where this picture prompt takes us!***