Big Brother

Every now and again, the guilt of their happiness would bring them to tears…

He loved his big brother and missed him terribly. Without hesitation, he always gave Jason credit for the man he had become. He felt at odds over being happy without his brother, and even more so about his current happiness being a result of his brother’s death.

Erin and Jason met in Afghanistan, and Cody and Erin met at Jason’s funeral in Paris, where he said he wanted to be buried.

Jason was stationed overseas and after spending some time in Paris vowed to make it his home when he retired from the military.

On his first tour in Afghanistan, he met a friendly helicopter pilot, and they became fast friends. On his second tour, he met an IED.

Erin and Cody bonded over their mutual loss and were swept up in the romance of Paris, the city of love. They both decided to stay there for a while and often visited the cemetery to talk to Jason about the life they were building together.

Every now and again, the guilt of their happiness would bring them to tears, but they knew deep down that Jason would be overjoyed for them. They both knew the kind man he was.

Today’s visit to see Jason was to deliver some very exciting news.

“Hey big brother, guess what,” Cody said, his voice cracking. Erin reached for his hand and squeezed it reassuringly. “It won’t be long now we will be welcoming baby Jason.”

“Did you hear that, Jason? We’re going to have a baby!” Erin reiterated. “We wish you were here to meet your namesake.” She finished and wiped a silent tear from her cheek.

They hugged and smiled.

“You’d be proud, big brother,” Cody said as they turned to leave. “I am so proud of you.”

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– Written for Microcosms 22 weekly contest. Prompts Book ending sentence: “He loved Big Brother.”/Setting: Paris Cemetery/Genre: Romance. WC 295. Photo from Pixabay.com.

Buddy

An explosion shook the ground and dust fell.

“It’ll be okay, Buddy,” I said rubbing his ears and pressing my face to his, trying to convince myself. I wished the gunfire would stop. We were both trained to stay calm under pressure, but it amazed me how in-control a dog could be when I was struggling to keep it together. His confidence reassured me.

We had to wait it out, so I sat down. He lay beside me, head on my knee. I wondered how animals defeated their natural instinct to run from danger.

An explosion shook the ground and dust fell.

I heard a commotion. Buddy stood and began pacing in front of me. He growled a low rumble and took a defensive stance. He barked a deep warning and bared his teeth. We were surrounded.

“Buddy! Zeke! You’re alright!?” Shane exclaimed. I sighed with relief and Buddy heeled not leaving my side. “Come on!” commanded Shane. We fell in line with the team, and he led us away from the chaos.

Buddy and I were gifted another day.

– Written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers: 57th Challenge. WC 174
Photo prompt provided by Pixabay.com.

Buddy