New Stories

Unsung Heroes

Ross had to wait with the others in his group for the siren to sound. Dawn was approaching, and there was to be a ceasefire in effect for the entire day. Finally, the siren sounded, and slowly they scrambled over the side of the trench to do their job. Each one of them had bright yellow jackets with red crosses on the front and back, and they all wore bandanas to cover their mouths and noses. This was mostly because masks were in short supply, and they needed to dull the smell. But still, they could taste and see the carnage in front of them. Quickly but cautiously, Ross and the others walked through the battlefield looking for those who might still be alive, badly injured, or even dead.

Ross looked around and wondered how this place, with its grand architecture and beautiful gardens, had suddenly turned into a ghastly graveyard. The group with Ross had recovered several bodies and torn limbs, and they started back to the front lines. Once there, he was offered a meal, but Ross turned it down; his stomach was queasy enough, and the last thing he needed was to throw up.

Once again, Ross and the group went into the breach, but this time they went further out. Over a thousand yards away, there were tenement buildings that needed to be checked out. In the first row, there was nothing to find. You could tell that those who were there had left in a hurry. Plates with rotten food sat on the kitchen table, the beds in the bedrooms were unmade, and clothes were strewn all over. But in the next building, Ross met with a shock. In one corner of the room, an old woman stared at Ross with fear and hatred in her eyes. In one hand, she held a rosary, and in her other, she had a death grip on what Ross assumed was her husband. The husband was still alive, but sadly, it looked like his mind had checked out. Maybe he had been through this before, and his mind could not take it anymore.

Ross radioed his group to come where he was, then slowly in front of the old woman, he dropped to his knees and folded his hands in prayer. He said calmly and soothingly that they were there to give aid. The old woman did not understand the words that Ross was saying, but she understood the gesture. Tears filled her eyes, and she let go of her husband to grasp Ross's hand.

The group arrived and carried the old man out on a stretcher. Ross offered the old woman his arm, and together they all walked back to the front lines. Many times Ross offered to carry the old woman over the mud and shell holes, but the old woman was determined to walk the distance. Finally, they made it to the front lines, and Ross told the old woman that he wished her and her husband well. An interpreter conveyed his words to her. The woman responded, and when he asked the interpreter what she had said, he told him that she said he was the angel she had been praying for, and may he find everlasting joy. This hit Ross very hard, and all he could do was smile at her, even though his face was covered in tears.

Ross looked back over the terrain and knew that once this conflict was over, people would rebuild and replace this mess with grand architecture and beautiful gardens once again. Until the next time, and sadly, it would be another turn for Ross.

____Mystikos Samaritan_____

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