The guys of MCR are called to fight in WW2, but will they all be coming home?
Never Coming Home
We've been called to fight, everyone has. Don't they realise how against the whole war people might be. I know that me and my brother, Mikey, can't think of anything we want to do less than go to war. Not only does it seem like this isn't our war but it means leaving our families behind. Yes, I will be with my little brother and all our best mates, Ray, Frank and Bob, are going but I can't go and leave Lindsey and Bandit here to cope on their own. I can't imagine leaving them; being in a completely different country when there's a chance the German's might come and bomb them. I could come home to find my house a pile of rubble and my girls gone, but unfortunately I don't have a choice.
I met up with the guys at a bar the afternoon after we got drafted to discuss the situation.
"It sucks," said Mikey, quite simply. Everyone else nodded in agreement.
"I don't want to have to leave my family, especially Jamia," said Frank, who was already on his second pint and downing it a bit too fast.
"Yeah, I don't want to leave my daughter, especially 'cause she's so young. What if I come back and she doesn't know who I am?" I said, "and Frank, stop drinking will you, it's not gonna solve anything and you're making me want one."
"And we all know how that will end," said Ray.
"Yeah it would be cool if Gee didn't try to kill himself before we get there," said Mikey looking at me warily.
"Don't worry I won't get drunk," I said, I have had enough experience of that to last me a life time.
"Have any of you told the girls?" asked Bob.
We all looked around.
"Doesn't look like it," I answered.
"When are we going to?" asked Mikey.
"We should do it together," said Frank, "It'd be easier."
"Ok," I agreed.
That night when we were all together we stood up in front of the girls. I can't believe I agreed to be the one to tell them, they were all so happy.
"Hey, there's something me and the guy's need to tell you," I said, "Well, with the whole situation at the moment they're drafting all the fit and capable men to fight in France, keep the German's out," as I said this Lindsey looked up from Bandit and stared me straight in the eyes. "I'm afraid we've all been drafted," I finished.
There was a long silence; no one knew how to react.
"There's nothing you can do about it?" asked Alicia.
"I'm sorry, babe," said Mikey.
I couldn't bare it. I went over and held my girls in my arms.
"We'll still be here for another few weeks," said Ray as Christa walked over and hugged him, "for training and stuff," he added.
I suppose that was some comfort. We would be able to spend more time with them before we leave but we would only be here late at night and have to leave early in the morning.
A few weeks later and we had finished our training; we had to leave. There was an assembly for all the soldiers and their partners. After a talk from our leader there was a dance; our last moments with our loved ones before we left.
I had already said goodbye to Bandit, not that she'd know if I was there or not, she was too young for it to make any difference to her. Saying goodbye to Lindsey was going to be so much harder.
"You know I don't want to leave you," I whispered.
"I know," said Lindsey in reply, "but the war will end and you'll come back to me."
I could tell from her voice that she wasn't stating a fact, she was making a wish. We all knew we might not come back or we may come back but our families would be gone.
Next day was a very different one. Suddenly no-one cared about the girls; what they were doing or if they were ok. We just cared that we got into France alive. To get there we had to storm a beach full of Germans. They had apparently found out we were going and as we approached the beach my stomach was churning. It was even worse for Mikey and Frank. Mikey is afraid of large bodies of water and Frank gets sea sick. The nerves on top of the motion of the boat we were in got too much for Frank as he leaned over the side of the boat and heaved. The atmosphere was so tense it was unbearable. Nobody spoke. All that could be heard was the roar of the sea and the occasional sound from those, like Frank, who were suffering seasickness.
Suddenly our commander broke the silence.
"We're almost there, lads," he called, "Guns at the ready. As soon as we reach the beach we charge on my command."
I could hardly swallow, I was so nervous as the beach before us grew larger and larger.
"Charge!" called the commander and we all ran and dove to safety behind a slope of sand.
"Push forward, boys," said the commander looking round at us.
I stared round to trying to locate the others. Bob and Frank were beside me, clinging to their weapons like their life depended on it, which was highly likely. I noticed Mikey and Ray further up the beach. Mikey looked so terrified. I felt so sorry for him. I know he's an adult; old enough to look after himself, but as his older brother I get very parental over him. He, too, was clutching his rifle close to his chest, taking deep breaths, preparing to move forward.
"Mikey!" I yelled noticing one of the German guns turn. "Mikey, no!" But it was too late, he ran out. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion; the running, the gun shot, the fall.
"Mikey!" I yelled and tried to run to him. "Mikey!" I couldn't move, Frank and Bob were holding me back.
"No, Gerard. It's too late. You can't do anything," said Frank in my ear.
"No. I can. He's my little brother. I can't leave him let me go," I said putting up a fight.
"Gerard, it's no use going to him you'll only get yourself shot too," said Bob. I went to protest but he stopped me. "Think of the girls."
I stopped struggling and sat back against the sand. All I could hear was strangely muffled gun shots. I saw the commander approach. He spoke; I couldn't make out what he said. Frank replied. I finally tuned in.
"I don't care, we'll probably all lose someone close." They were talking about Mikey. "That can't stop you. If we don't fight we'll lose a whole country. Now push forward!" he yelled the last three words.
"Come on." I said and stood. I was gonna do this. For Mikey. I turned shot and ran onto the beach.
A few hours later and we were taking a break from walking and sat in a clearing in the woods. The realisation of what happened on the beach struck me. I fell back on the floor as it flashed through my head, tears running down my cheeks.
"Right, time up. Back on the march," said the commander breaking through my thoughts. That did not feel like half an hour but as I stood I felt stiff. Tears still running down my face I looked around, I suddenly noticed something was wrong.
"Umm, Bob?" I said as we began to walk. "When did you last see Frank and Ray?" I finished wiping away the tears.
"Damn! I last saw Ray with Mikey on the beach and Frank..." he said, "I don't actually remember. I guess I was too busy dodging German guns!"
"Don't joke!" I said, "This is serious, the Germans might have got them, too."
"I know, Gee. I wasn't meaning it to be a joke!" he said.
"Yeah, well, this is a war, you have to be careful what you say," I retorted even though I knew he was completely honest about not joking.
We both searched the crowd, which was easier for Bob because he's taller than me.
"Can't see them," said Bob, "But hey, don't worry, we might find them again." I gave him a sceptical look. "Yeah they might get home or something."
"Thanks, but I doubt it." I said, I knew he was trying to cheer me up.
A few more days of walking and the commander made an announcement.
"The British army are making strategic withdrawals, so they're pulling us out of France."
"Or... we're retreating!" said Bob so that only I could hear. We laughed.
"I don't see what's so funny!" said the commander, "We're gathering at Dunkirk, which isn't far from here, so it will be a straight march; no breaks. Boats will be waiting there to take us back to England."
"Will our families know?" I yelled across the crowd.
"Yes, the Government will send notices to the families of those returning home," he replied, "Let's march!"
We were exhausted by the time we reached the beach. The amount of soldiers was shocking. I've never seen so many people in one place. You could hardly see the sand. Me and Bob stood together taking in the scene. I took off my helmet and threw it down.
"I'm gonna go find out how long we'll be here," said Bob. I nodded. I felt so weak and was craving a coffee so badly.
Suddenly, someone jumped on my back. I staggered. Then I felt a bite on my ear. Frank! It couldn't be anyone else. He jumped off my back and I turned and hugged him. Ray came jogging up behind him.
"You guys made it!" I said
"Yeah, us and a couple o' other guys got separated from you just after the beach." said Ray.
"Someone heard a rumour that every one was retreating to Dunkirk so we made our way down here." finished Frank.
Just then Bob came back.
"Hey guys," he said and turned to me, "Told you so." He laughed.
"Alright!" I said, "How long are we stuck here then?"
"No-one knows. There are only a few boats and lots of men!" he replied.
"Well, at least we're together again," said Ray, always the optimist.
"Hmmm," I said grumpily and sat on the floor. We weren't all together though, were we? Frank seemed to know exactly what I was thinking.
"Hey man, I'm sorry about what happened" he said sitting next to me and putting his arm round me. "We all miss him."
"I know guys," I said glumly, "Maybe I'll be better when I'm back with the girls." I said.
After hours of sitting on the beach a boat came with enough space for us and we went back to the girls. I rushed straight over to Lindsey and took her in my arms. I held her so close; I never wanted to have to let go.
"I am never, ever leaving you again. I promise." I told her.
"But you came back, just like I said you would," she said in a knowing voice.
Then, over her shoulder I noticed someone coming towards us, leaning on crutches.
"Mikey!" I yelled and ran up to him. "I thought I'd lost you! Thank God you're alright."
"It only got my leg," he said, "There was me and a couple other guys who were brought straight back home for injury. It's been awful, checking the news hoping you lot would make it back too."
The other guys came over to us as well and we all stood together, united again.