Deviant Login Shop  Join deviantART for FREE Take the Tour
×

:iconkreepingspawn: More from KreepingSpawn


More from deviantART



Details

Submitted on
August 18, 2011
File Size
4.3 KB
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
448
Favourites
12 (who?)
Comments
12
Downloads
4
×


Leeds is the first awake.  Shadows of his dreams still echo in his eyes when he paces into the kitchen and startles her.

"Sorry."

"You're too quiet."  She smiles.  

He doesn't.  "Did you sleep?"

"I couldn't," she says.

He just nods.  She pours him coffee.  He drowns it in milk and sugar.  They welcome the morning in companionable silence.

"I wanted to be there for him."  It's a whisper.  He stares at the coffee mug in his hands, seeing something very different.  "I saw him get hit.  I wanted to be there so bad.  I would have gone in, but Vance held me back.  Probably saved my life.

"Zack."  He stops, almost overwhelmed, then forces himself to go on.  "I would do anything for him.  I would die for him.  But I couldn't be there."  His eyes are rimmed with tears.

She lays her hand over his.

Leeds wipes his face.  "I know you didn't want him to go for the second tour."

She shakes her head.  "It was his choice.  I respect that.  I love him.  I couldn't keep him home.  It meant so much to him."

"Thank you."  The tears escape anyway, and slide down over the scar and stubble on his face.  "Thanks for letting him come with us again.  I'm sorry I couldn't bring him home."

"It's not your fault."

"Maybe not.  But it feels like…"  He falls silent.  He's the same age as Zack, twenty-two, almost twenty-three.  Same strong shoulders and narrow chest, flat stomach, straight hips.  His arms are all muscle and sinew, skin deep tan from months in the desert.  His dogtags rest lightly against his drab green tshirt.  Unconsciously she reaches to the chain around her own neck, Zack's dogtags, which she has worn since he first graduated boot camp.

Leeds scrubs his face again, and this time, he stifles the crying.  He lays a dirty white envelope on the table and slides it across to her.  She starts to reach out, but he keeps his hand over it.  "Chia... You know what this is."

She realizes in that moment.  It chills her.  She nods, not trusting her voice.

"I think you should wait," Leeds says.

The first thing she feels at his words is relief.  She can put it off!  She doesn't have to confront this now.  She feels sick with guilt after that.  She feels the heat in her cheeks as she blushes with shame.

"I know," he tells her.  "It fuckin' hurts.  You can wait.  Wait until you're ready."

She can only nod again.  Brandon withdraws his hand, leaving the crumpled envelope lying there .  It is thin and plain, unassuming, but it might as well be a bomb.  There are faint, smudgy fingerprints on the front.  Zack's fingerprints she thinks, and feels her heart fist, her guts go icy and knotted.  She nearly breaks down.  Her eyes sting, her throat aches.

She slides it off the table into her lap so she doesn't have to look at it for the moment.  It is light – too light and thin to carry so much import.



She puts the letter into the footlocker at the foot of the bed.  Into this she has already placed Zack's dusty uniform, his boots, and gloves, his watch, a pair of sunglasses etched by sand.  Kits, and papers, a couple of journals, dog-eared manuals, and photos.  The things he had in his pockets when he died; a gum wrapper, spare change in several currencies, a stone, three spent brass bullet casings, a safety pin, a new pair of bootlaces, a pack of cigarettes, a die-cast Matchbox car with most of the paint worn off, a stub of pencil, a soft-cover notebook he'd reinforced with duct tape.  His wallet has no money in it, only more photos, and a video-rental membership card; a frequent buyer's card from their local bagel shop with eight of the ten punches filled up; a few postage stamps, already obsolete; a scrap of paper with international phone numbers written in pencil.

On top of this pile rests the tri-folded flag.  She came home from the funeral and the flag went straight into the footlocker.  The unread letter drops like a dry leaf on top of the flag.  She shuts the lid and breathes a sigh.  It is like relief.


Direct continuation of Requiem: Continued

Once again, this is a work of fiction.
For those who don't know the "death letter" is written by most service members before entering combat to be delivered to their next of kin in the event of their death. These letters are meant to be collected and held by the command element, but they are often entrusted to comrades in arms.

:bulletred: Any feedback is much appreciated.

*KreepingSpawn
Add a Comment:
 
:iconforeveryoursmarine:
ForeverYoursMarine Aug 18, 2011
This one has tears still rolling down my cheeks... :cries: I'm sure you can assume my other feelings. I do have one question: I am assuming that Leeds was the bf of the fallen soldier, but who was he to the woman?
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Aug 19, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
:hug: Thanks for taking time to read and comment! :)

If you go back and read Requiem: Continued it should be more clear.
Zack and "Chia" [Lucia] are married. You're right, Brandon Leeds is Zack's best friend.
Reply
:iconforeveryoursmarine:
ForeverYoursMarine Aug 19, 2011
But Zack was with Chia originally?
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Aug 19, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Yes. Why? ;p
Reply
:iconforeveryoursmarine:
ForeverYoursMarine Aug 19, 2011
I was confused...did she just remarry with Leeds then?
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Aug 19, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I think you are still confused. ;)
What makes you think she is married to Leeds? :confused:
Reply
:iconforeveryoursmarine:
ForeverYoursMarine Aug 19, 2011
Lol..well he woke up in her house.
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Aug 19, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
This piece takes place the day after Zack's funeral. Leeds and the others came for the funeral, they stayed at her house.
So, 5 other Marines will be waking up in her house shortly. And she's not married to any of them either. ;)
Reply
(1 Reply)
Add a Comment: