“Worlds Apart” – Friday Fiction by Chris Tucker

I especially like the voice in this piece. The plot and setting are the first things I notice about it, but the voice shows character – it’s clear and crafted, and by not calling immediate attention to itself, it lets the other elements come through. The photo is from a BBC site – http://news.bbc.co.uk

      It’s amazing how fast life goes by.  It seemed like just yesterday I was streaming over cool blue waters.  I was on a ship full of men, but I felt more alone than ever.  The war was ending or so they said and I was missing home, bad.  I had met a lot good people in my travels.  Saw many places all over the globe and sailed across so many miles of sea I lost count.  I want to tell you about someone I met at the end of my journey.

     I called him Sam, but his name didn’t do much to describe his extraordinary nature.  Our crew had landed in the Philippines in February of 45’.  Most of the men wanted to get away, drink, smoke or seek out women.  Everyone was happy to be on land again.  It’s incredible how much you miss dry land once you haven’t felt it for awhile.       

     Everything was going good all the men were busy seeking out some solace and exploring the island.  There were huts and a village but we couldn’t seem to find anyone, no matter how hard we tried.  I went down to the water where one of the small houses was, it was elevated above the water with stilts.  The craftsmanship was quite impressive considering I was coming from a more modern world back home.  I heard some sloshing in the water on the other side of the humble abode.  I walked around being the curious person I was.  It was a small boy gathering water.  I gestured to him and said hello so I wouldn’t startle him.  I’ll never forget it; he turned up not surprised at all and smiled.  He came over to me and offered me some water to wash the dirt off my Navy issue jeans, but I politely refused.  Trying to thank him the best way I could.  A fellow sailor who was jogging up the beach for exercise snapped a picture of us real quick.  He asked me what his name was and I just made something up real quick, I told him his name was Sam.  He kind of laughed and jogged on.  That was when it happened.

     No one knew from which way or exactly when the bombs hit.  But they hit alright.  It was chaos.  We couldn’t see the planes but we knew it was the Japanese.  There were rumors on our battleship that U.S. intelligence had intercepted some Japanese codes about another surprise attack.  One of the bombs hit right near us.  I grabbed the boy and jumped into the water.  The next thing I remember is he was dragging me onto the shore.  A few explosives remained, but the planes must have run out of ordinance.  I could hear the siren from our ship, and in an emergency that means to get back immediately at all costs.  I remember looking down at my leg and it was badly wounded.  What happened next hasn’t ever been clear to me.  I remember a warm light wrapping around my leg and all I could see was the young boy’s silhouette as he knelt in front of the sun. 

     The next thing I remember I was in the medical ward on our ship with a couple of medics leaning over me.  They told me I had got knocked out.  They wanted me to rest.  I could see other men around me that were wounded.  I looked down at my leg and my pants just had a little bit of dirt on them.  How could this be?  I talked with one of the medics that said he dragged me off the beach.  I asked him if he saw a boy, I told them he saved my life.  The medic said there was no boy.  He said when they came to me I was just lying on the ground unconscious.  I told them I saw a boy and he saved my life.  They told me to rest and they would get a report from me later.  As I walked around the ship that day I wondered if I had that boy was real or not.  How could they not have seen him?  He could have run away as soon as he saw them coming.  It’s possible but how do I explain my leg.  I remember looking down on it and it was horribly wounded.

     I’ll never forget that young boy I met.  How he smiled at me before the bombs hit.  How he offered me water to clean my clothes.  I’ll never forget that he saved my life.  I don’t know how, and maybe I don’t want to really know.  But who ever he was, he was a gift from God himself.

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