Friday, September 30, 2016

Katie's War--Part 3

Hi people!
I apologize for not getting this posted yesterday. :P 
But now, Part 3 of Katie's War coming your way! :D

Lillian gasped and gathered Katie into a hug.  “Katie I’m so sorry!” She exclaimed, tears entering her eyes.  
Katie leaned against Lillian and cried softly.  “I thought it would be so wonderful to have Jerry home.  But he’s not the same!  And I’ll never see Dad again.  I hate this war, every bit of it!”  
Lillian was silent, her heart aching for her friend.  Finally she said, “Katie, you will see your father again in heaven.  Be thankful for that promise.  And how can you say you hate everything about the war?  Just think of all the Jews Hitler is persecuting.  And remember France, Katie.  Your father sacrificed his life for the freedom of his country, as well as others.  He did what he felt God calling him to do; am I wrong?”
Katie didn’t say anything, but her sobs lessened.  
Lillian stood up.  “I’ll leave you alone for a while.”  She quietly left the room, shutting the door behind her.  Katie raised her head and stared at the closed door, her thoughts in a whirl.  
“God, thank You for friends who help me see the good in a terrible war like this,” she whispered a prayer.  She sat there for a few more minutes, then stood up and walked back to the living room, where Lillian’s family sat in subdued silence.
Lillian’s mom came forward and gave Katie a hug when the girl entered the room.  “I’m sorry, Katie.  Is there anything we can do?”  She asked with genuine concern.
Katie gave her a small smile.  “I’ll let you know.  Thank you, Mrs. Osborne.”  
The rest of Lillian’s family had their turns at comforting the girl.  Matt was last.  He gave Katie a big hug and whispered in her ear,  “Katie, only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you: Jesus Christ and the American soldier.  One died for your soul, the other died for your freedom.  Your father died for the freedom of you as well as many others.  He did it because of the One who died for your soul.”
Tears came to Katie’s eyes once again, and she couldn’t speak, but the look on her face was the only reply Matt needed.  Katie wiped her eyes and turned to the door.  “I’d better go,” she managed to say.  She walked out the door and slowly down the sidewalk towards her home.  Home, she thought.  Jerry’s home.  Mom’s home.  Joey’s home.  Thank You, God, for a home here on earth; even if I no longer have a father to share it with.

***

After a few weeks, Katie got used to having a one-armed Jerry around the house.  He went out every day to find a job, but came home each time discouraged.  Finally one night Katie was walking by the living room when she heard Mom’s voice.  
“Jerry, it’s time for you to tell us what happened.”
Jerry blanched.  “Mom, I-”
Mom held up her hand.  “Jerry, I know it’s been tough for you.  And I so wish that this didn’t have to hurt you.”  Gentler, she went on, “But son, you can’t live in the past.  You’ve had nightmares almost every night, and still you won’t talk about it.  But don’t you think that talking about it will help?”
Jerry shook his head and rubbed his hand over his eyes.  “I don’t know.”
Katie bit her lip, unsure of whether to leave or continue listening.  Her curiosity won over and she decided on the latter.
“How long has it been since you prayed?”  Mom asked.
Jerry blinked.  “I-I guess it’s been a while.  I just don’t seem to know what to say.”
“Jerry, you’re a 19-year-old.  I can’t tell you what to do about these things.  But I can tell you that you can’t make it through this on your own.  You need help.”
Jerry sighed.  “All right, Mom.  I’ll tell you what happened.”
Katie held her breath.  She was torn between staying to listen, and letting Mom and Jerry talk in privacy.  She began to back up and turn away, but her arm brushed against an umbrella standing in the corner and it fell with a crash.
“Joey?”  Mom called.
Katie sheepishly walked into the room.  “Sorry, Mom.  I... I couldn’t help listening.”
Mom raised an eyebrow.  “Couldn’t help it, eh?  Katie, you need to curb your curiosity.”
“Yes, Mom.”
Jerry chuckled.  “All right, Miss Curiosity, you can listen in.  Joey!”  He raised his voice, and his twin soon appeared in the doorway.  “You may as well listen in too.”  He waved his arm, and Joey curiously entered the room.
Jerry sighed.  “Where should I start?”
“Start where you were missing in action,” Katie suggested.
Jerry’s face clouded over.  “All right.  We were fighting the dir- er, the Germans in Norway.  We were short on supplies-- food, clothes, ammunition; everything.  Living in trenches didn’t do good for anyone’s health or morale, either.”  He closed his eyes and leaned back in his chair.  “One night, during a battle, a bullet caught Dad in the shoulder.  I peeked over the trench just enough to see; what I saw almost made my heart stop.”  
He shuddered.  “A battalion of Germans were charging like at us like madmen.  They were excellent marksmen and I saw soldiers fall all around me, including our commander.  I had just been promoted to lieutenant, and Dad brought me in close and whispered in my ear, ‘Jerry, we’ve got to get the men out of here before it’s too late.’  I helped him stand up, and together we led the rest of the men in retreat, with Dad leaning on me.”  Jerry swallowed and licked his lips, face pale.  
“I had almost thought that we were safe when Dad took another bullet to the leg.  I tried to help him up, but it was no use; I was dog-tired, and Dad couldn’t stand, much less walk, on his own.  I wasn’t going to leave him, but Dad insisted that I had to get the men out of there before the Germans caught us.  Oh, I never should have left him!  I looked back just in time to see a German standing over Dad, pointing a gun at his head.”
“Oh, Jerry,” Mom murmured.  “How awful.”
Jerry continued, “I ran back, but it was too late.  The dirty Nazi pulled the trigger, and when he saw me charging, raised his gun and fired.  The bullet hit me in the shoulder, and I was flung to the ground.  The Nazi was about to finish me off too, when one of my fellow soldiers came and shot him.  He was already shot though, and fell down dead after he shot that German.  I headed back to where my regiment was, but keeled over from loss of blood.  
“The next thing I remember is waking up to see an old farmer standing over me.  He took me to his home, where his wife nursed me back to health.  I had the farmer take me back to camp as soon as I could walk, where they admitted me to the hospital.  My arm had been hurting something fierce, and they had to amputate it due to infection.  Not a day went by, lying in that hospital, that the scene of that Nazi killing Dad didn’t reply itself in my mind over and over.  I can still hear the boom of the gun, the hatred in that German’s eyes...” Jerry shuddered.  “Oh, I just wish I could have stopped it!”  Tears fell from his eyes.  Katie was taken by surprise; she hadn’t seen Jerry cry in years.
Jerry composed himself.  “I was sent back home; I came back on a merchant’s ship.  There were lots of things for a one-armed man to do there, even if it was only washing dishes in the galley.  Many times we were spotted  by German ships, and it was only by the grace of God that I made it back home alive.”  He smiled and shook his head.  “I’ll never forget the look on Kate’s face when I walked up behind her.”  He turned his eyes to his sister.  “I missed seeing that smile.”
Katie returned his gaze fondly, then walked over to give him a hug.  “I missed you so much, Jerry.  We all missed you.”  Joey and Mom nodded in agreement.
Mom stood.  “Well, it’s time to get ready for bed.  Katie, are you finished with your homework?”
“Yes, Mom.”
“Good, then off to bed with you.”  Mom pointed to the stairs.
Katie stood slowly.  “Mom, you expect me to sleep after hearing a story like that?”
“Bed, Kathryn Saige.”  Mom smirked at the face Katie made at hearing her full name.
Katie climbed the stairs, pausing at the top when she heard Joey’s voice.
“I prayed for you every day, Jerry.”
There was a moment of silence, then Jerry’s voice replied huskily, “Thanks, brother.  I needed it.”

***

A week later after school, Lillian and Katie were walking to Lillian’s house together.  Matt had recovered completely, and his family was hosting a farewell party 
“You’ve been awfully quiet, Lillian,” Katie said.  “Are you worried about Matt leaving?”
Lillian sniffed and nodded.  “I’m just so afraid I’ll never see him again until I die; I’ve had this feeling ever since he first went off to war, but now that he’s been home again...” her voice trailed off.
Katie put an arm around her friend comfortingly.  “Lillian, Matt is going where he believes God has led him; if it’s his time to die, God will take him; if not, then he’ll come home after the war.  No one can change God’s plan for us.”
Lillian stopped and stared at Katie.  “That’s the most profound thing I’ve ever heard you say.”
They arrived at Lillian’s house, where a small crowd had already gathered, and Katie quickly spotted her family.  My family... minus Dad, she thought with a twinge of sadness.  Tears once again entered her eyes, but she quickly brushed them away.  There was no use in making this farewell party a sad one.
Later, Katie and Lillian were sipping glasses of lemonade when a loud “Excuse me!” rang above the chattering crowd, and Katie turned to see Matt standing on the second step of the stairs at the back of the room.  Curious, she walked closer along with many other guests.

2 comments:

  1. KAITLYN!! You're so mean to Jerry. To all of them. You cruel writer person. XD

    ReplyDelete
  2. I know!!! Soooorrrrrrryyyyyy!!! I was so sad to hear that his dad died (it wasn't me! It was the Germans!).

    ReplyDelete