Another prompt, another round of great responses! Check them out below and vote for your favorite:
Story 1 by Terry Brewer
They were beaten. Christmas was coming and they were on the run. The Wehrmacht was finished. We’d be at the Rhine soon enough and then quickly to Berlin and then home in time for Opening Day at the Polo Grounds. The tough going was behind us, too many of us taken as we crossed France.
It was starting to get cold, and snow was in the air. We’d dig in and relax till the weather cleared. Enjoy Christmas. Our first and last Christmas in Europe. Then, in mid-December, it turned to hell. A cold, freezing hell. The Germans attacked. Why? They were done. Suddenly we were surrounded. Dug in with little food and ammunition, our clothes in tatters. Day after day, no relief. Frostbite. Hypothermia. Racing through the Division. Day after day, no relief. Not enough medicine. Ground too hard to bury the dead.
Christmas. They come with a white flag. They offer us terms. “You will surrender, no? You will live.” Our boss says “no.” “Nuts,” he says. It was brave and it was foolish and it was what he said. But we were dying and the snows were coming and we could get no relief.
Relief came on Boxing Day, as the Brits call it. They came Patton’s tanks. They came. We were relieved. We were saved.
Story 2 by Cara Michaels
He was broken. Physically destroyed. Covered in so many cuts and bruises, face swollen beyond recognition. He found his bedroom by memory more than design, stubbing his toes against the bed and pitching onto the mattress with a muffled cry. The soft bed felt like a brick to his busted face. He curled in on himself, unable to stop the tears, every sob beating along his ribs. Bruised? Broken? He only knew every breath was sandpaper and razorblades, grinding and cutting through him.
A weight settled beside him on the bed.
A gentle hand stroked through his hair.
A wave of relief washed over him.
His brother had kept his promise. Late. But better than not at all.
“John sent you?” he asked.
“Yes, baby.” The response came in a soft, musical voice. “He said your only request was that it doesn’t hurt?”
The fingers in his hair worked a sort of magic, dulling the edge of pain and giving him a blissful warmth to focus on.
“Is—is that possible?” He slurred the words, mostly drugged by pain, a bright corner of him lulled by soft pleasure.
“You’ve been hurt so much.”
Too much, he thought he heard in a different voice.
“I just want to rest,” he said. “I don’t want to hurt. I don’t want to remember. I just want peace.”
Lips found a home against his temple, brushing carefully over his skin.
“We’re going to give you peace, baby,” the first voice said. “I promise you.”
A sharp prick of pain in his wrist jolted him, but the voices soothed him.
“No more pain now,” the second said.
“No more pain ever,” the first said.
A numbing nirvana worked up his left arm and across his body.
Oblivion rolled over him and dragged him under.
Let your voice be heard!