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They bury him under a flag, on a cool autumn morning.  His brother escorts her, supports her tenderly through the service.  He is the one who flinches at the rifle salute.  She closes her eyes and opens her heart and lets the staccato shots pass through her like a wind.

Only blanks.  Not real bullets.  Nothing like the barreling rounds that ripped his flesh and smashed in under his narrow ribs and nailed his life to the inside back of his flack jacket.

That slim silent figure in uniform.  Laid out cold and still.  That’s not him.  He’s not here.  He slipped out of his shell somewhere in the middle of a desert city under siege.  He’s maybe still there, a little lost.  A little uncertain where to go from here.  He might linger where his brothers are still fighting.  Screaming silent warning.  Aching to fight beside them still, to protect them, to tell them, it’s okay, he’s got their back.

That image gives her strength.  That he’s there to clear the way for others soon to die; soon to be sent home and buried under star spangled banners.  He will be a warrior forever.  He will stand proud, and defend his brothers to the last.  The purpose is pure.

The flag is coarse and cold.  She crushes it to her chest.

At home the family huddles and offers cold comfort all around.  His brother cries.  His father cries.  The two of them bracing each other.

She exists in the semi-whispers, the muttering sympathy.  Concerned soft hands and hugs and gentle words, heartfelt, if formulaic.  The offers of support and help and companionship.  The old cliché, what can you say?

   She watches his solemn fellows, in their crisp uniforms.  They understand her cold withdrawal.  They look at her with frigid, knowing eyes.  There is a distance between them; as vast as the thickness of a uniform jacket that separates a warrior’s heartbeat from her own.  But they are closer to her than family now.

   They are his family; his surrogate brothers and fathers.  The ones who knew him so well, lived and slept and talked and ate and laughed and worried and fought beside him in the final days.  The men who saw him die.  Who carried him into the ground today and keep his promises behind their screaming hollow eyes.
Soldier's Cross image:
[link]


for :iconthewrittenrevolution: :
after reading this, who do you think the woman is? what is her relation to the soldier?
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:iconsweetbeautifulkiller:
Ugh, this story got me again! I really need to make sure to not read any of your war stories when my Marine leaves on deployment. I wouldn't be able to handle it. I'd be calling my mom or dad every time to ball and sob in their ears. Haha.

And once more, I love it!
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:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
:hug:
Maybe just log out of DA when he's away? and mature filters should block most of it.  ;p

Thanks for the :+fav: again!  ;D
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:iconsweetbeautifulkiller:
Well, I guess I can't put what I wanted to say!!! :pissed:
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:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
What was that?  ;p
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:iconsweetbeautifulkiller:
I put it in the other comment. ;P
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:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Okay!  ;p
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:iconsweetbeautifulkiller:
what the hell. Damn site thinks I'm spam!
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
;p  Too much activity!  You must be a bot!  :ohnoes:  :lmao:
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:iconsweetbeautifulkiller:
I guess so. It was annoying. I had copied the message that I was going to send, and tried to go a different way of replying to your comment, and it still said I was spam.

I have no idea what it could've been in the message that made it think it was spam...? :confused:

Anyways, all I wanted to say was that I'll still get on DA while he's gone, I'll just have to be sure to not read any of your new stories...or old ones until he gets back. ;)

I'll just keep myself busy with work and such.
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:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I get that a lot when I go thanking folks for :+fav:s.  If I do too many in a row the system flags them as spam.  But just wait 15 mins or so and it should clear up.  ;)
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:iconsweetbeautifulkiller:
Oh, gotcha! I could understand it if it was a repeated message of "Thank you for the :+fav:"
But mine was just a simple conversation....? Eh o-well. It is done. ;P
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:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Bizarre.  Silly DA.  ;p
Reply
(1 Reply)
:icontasey:
Tasey Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
This brought me to tears. Very well written, and the image is apt
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks very much for taking time to read and comment. :)
Reply
:icontasey:
Tasey Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Absolutely. To answer your question, she fits more of a lifelong friend or a wife of many years. A mother or newly established love wouldn't be so logical or hold it together as everyone else was falling apart. Any less relation wouldn't have the deep empathy, pride, sense of knowing. Maybe she knew him in his military career--she speaks of his fellow officers as a surrogate family, and she seems to identify with them more than his actual blood relatives. A little late, but there's my two cents. Cheers
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for the feedback.
I appreciate it. :D

And I think you're right. She's known and been with him for a while. And she has understanding of the camaraderie between warriors.
Reply
:iconmoonlit-flower-petal:
moonlit-flower-petal Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
awwww
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thnx 4 the :+fav:! :happycry:
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:iconmoonlit-flower-petal:
moonlit-flower-petal Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No problem :)
Reply
:iconazvaquero:
AZVaquero Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2011
For some damn morbid reason, I had to read this through, even tho I hurts - and I know what its about. I hate it and I like at the same time. I've done funeral details, many, and just one was one too many. I've been the one to carry one of mine..... Had blood all over me. It took, it hurt, alot. Sitting here just trying to express what you feel and felt.... hurts. Later.
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
:cling:

I appreciate you sharing your experience. Thanks very much for reading and for your comment.
Reply
:iconforeveryoursmarine:
ForeverYoursMarine Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2011
Ok, this one made me cry...just thinking of future that I hope wont become reality!
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
They all make you cry. :(
I sorry.

Thanks very much 4 reading and the :+fav: :)
Reply
:iconforeveryoursmarine:
ForeverYoursMarine Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2011
Not all, some im able to hold it in...:sniff:
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
:hug:
Reply
:iconforeveryoursmarine:
ForeverYoursMarine Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2011
I would have to go with WolfChick395 comment..only, I would break down when I heard about it. Patrick tells me that I would recover, but I think I would not want to be alive after that :cries: ok I need to stop thinking about it :tears: I'll just keep praying :pray:
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
:pat: It will all work out.
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:iconforeveryoursmarine:
ForeverYoursMarine Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2011
Lol...thanks, i hope :please:
Reply
:iconwolfchick395:
WolfChick395 Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2011
i love your work! its always so amazing and touching.
this woman is the soldies wife/girlfriend we learn to grow with the military just like our loved ones.
If this ever happened to my feance id do the same but then break down at home once everything was done and over with.
Semper Fi :salute:
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks very much for your comments. :)

Best to your fiancÚ. Semper Fi. :iconusmcsaluteplz:
Reply
:icondarklordrinku:
DarkLordRinku Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2010
Amazing, this is flowing with strong emotion.
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
thnx very much for taking time to read and respond.
and also, thnx 4 the :+fav: :)
Reply
:icondarklordrinku:
DarkLordRinku Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2010
No problem. Ya did a really good job.;)
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:iconannamaetezuka:
AnnamaeTezuka Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Damn, this was really powerful. Wow. Just wow. Some pretty big teardrops rolled down. Incredible job.

And I think the woman is his lover, or his friend; I would almost say mother but I really didn't get that, I feel like a mother wouldn't be that strong when everyone else is losing it. That sounds like a lover's strength, seeing the strong man they loved, not the child they raised.
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
:hug:
thanks for sharing your reactions. :)
that's a very good point, a lot of mothers couldn't be so strong in the face of that loss.
Reply
:iconannamaetezuka:
AnnamaeTezuka Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome :)

Indeed. It would take an exceptional, exceptional woman to bear it that well...or a heartless one.
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
i hope she does not come across as heartless! ;p
Reply
:iconannamaetezuka:
AnnamaeTezuka Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
The character? Oh, no, not at all. If she were a mother than one could surmise. But she doesn't give the air of a mother, so her actions are pretty plausible to me.
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
oh good! ;)
Reply
:icontheodoria:
Theodoria Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
You, ma'am/sir (as I'm not sure which you are) always do this to me! You are such a talented writer... Then there's this. Which, is talented, but it rips my heart in two. Ah! You need to stop being so talented... No, don't. I'd feel awful.


P.S. I refuse to answer your Written Revolution question. I can't think of who she is... because honestly, she would be me if I marry who I am hoping to or if my future son joins the military. She is every mother, wife, sister, daughter, niece, cousin, and lover of any military man.
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
:thanks: thank you for taking time to read and respond. i appreciate your high praises! ;)

and, in a way you have answered my question. i was hoping to leave the woman's character open enough that she could be interpreted in all of those roles. which is hard to do when you're writing from her perspective! ;p

thanks again! :D
Reply
:icontheodoria:
Theodoria Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Any time! Just so you know... I'll be hiding in your gallery amidst your amazing for a bit! Not to be creepy... Just so-- Ok, that was kinda creepy. :D
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
hahahah! by all means. ;)
Reply
:iconsapient-butterfly:
Sapient-Butterfly Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Very powerful emotive piece, nicely written.

From reading I get the impression that she is his wife, understanding fully the life he had chosen and the dangers he would be facing and while it is obviously painful there is also a great sense of acceptance there. Although there is also a feeling of motherly pride in there too...hmmm its an interesting one to think on.
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
thnx for taking time to read it and share your thoughts.
and thnx very much for collecting! :)

i like that, acceptance. i didn't really articulate that thought when I was writing it, but i think it does cover her feelings well.
i think we all have pride in our loved ones' accomplishments. not only mothers. ;) what quanitfies 'motherly' pride for you?
Reply
:iconsapient-butterfly:
Sapient-Butterfly Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
True we do all have pride in loved ones no matter our relation but I thought possibly mother (given the sex of the character and close realtion to the deceased) wife struck me the most but there was perhaps a little feeling that the person had watched this man grow and develop as a person over many years and was enourmously proud of the person he had become, so getting mother having watched her child grow.
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
intriguing. :) what portions of the piece give you the motherly bits? I'm thinking of expanding on these characters and i want to firm up the relationships here. I'm pretty sure she is his wife/fiance, but i want to explore all angles.

feel free to tell me off if i'm pestering you too much! ;p
Reply
:iconcurseudifferentones:
CurseUDifferentOnes Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2010
:iconthewrittenrevolution:

This...is...wonderful! The image is so crisp and real. You've really portrayed that moment so well. And the thoughts the woman had about the soldier still protecting his surrogate brothers was just so heartfelt and perfect. This was at once both heartbreaking and hopeful.

She's the wife. That's all I felt. She fit the idea of the wife better than any other. A wife knows her husband better than all other souls. A mother would gloss over the faults of her child and may break down wholly at the death of her child, but a wife knows and accepts those faults and understands the sacrifice he made. She's a true military wife.

I have to applaud you for a truly outstanding story. I wish more people could read this and truly marvel at how...stunning...you've done this. Bravo.
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
thanks very much for your kind and thoughtful reply. :)
i think the selfless devotion many of our servicemen/women offer is indeed heartbreaking and hopeful. i'm glad that came through clearly.

that's an intereting point about mothers... i wonder how my mother feels/thinks about such?
Reply
:iconcurseudifferentones:
CurseUDifferentOnes Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2010
You're very welcome! And I think I may have stated the thing about the mothers a bit harshly, but I wanted to provide reasoning why I felt this woman was a military wife.
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