it's world war two and 5 band members are forced to join. only, one of them knows he won't make it home... based off of the ghost of you video
It's 1944, I'm 27 years old. And I'm watching my brother die.
Four days ago he turned 24, out here in the middle of hell. I watched him that day, opening his letters and gifts from home, joking and laughing with our old band mates from the 'good ol' days' back in New Jersey, and even writing a letter to his girlfriend he was forced to leave. None of that exists now. Not our friends, not our mother. Not the snow that will be falling soon. Not the sun that's rising as I watch the sea turn red. Nothing. Because he's gone. They took him from me, and he let them. I should have died! Not him! I was the one who told him it would all be okay! That he'd be home in time for Christmas...well I guess he will be.
He just won't see it.
One month previously
Standing at the back of the hall I looked on at all the men and women in the army of the great United States of America, and couldn't help but wonder why. Why dis we have to go to hell and fire tiny metal shards into people's brains, and they got to stay here? They're women...that's why..
I felt a hand fall heavy, and sure on my shoulder and turned to see Mikey, my little brother standing there, confident for the first time since hearing about our deployment. There was still fear in his eyes, but it well hidden behind alcohol and love.
'You ready to go on?' he asked me, looking toward the stage where Ray, Bob and Frank had already set up and taken their places. We were being deployed together. One small gift from God in the middle of the apocalypse. At least I got to see with my own eyes that they were okay, instead of hearing nothing for years until either we got home, or I received a telegram saying I lost one of them. 'Gee?' Mikey asks again. Apparently I had been staring for a long time.
'Yeah, I'm ready. Time to knock 'em dead!' I said, putting on the cheesiest grin I could muster, trying to make a morbid joke. He didn't see the funny side. Instead he simply walked towards the stage, taking his place at the back with his bass, between Frank and Ray who were holding their guitars. Bob was off at the side sat behind his drums looking like he didn't want to be there.
I stood behind my mic, wincing slightly when several people laughed at me. They had no idea I could sing, and didn't feel like believing it. I'd show them.
'Hey, tonight's the night of the annual US army ball to celebrate the memories we have shared over basic training, and also to give us one last night of fun before the real 'ball' starts.' I announced, smiling as most of the audience laughed at my joke, even some of the more reserved ones. I heard small chuckles from behind me, and couldn't help turning to pull a face at my closest friends. 'This is our new song, which we wrote just for this occasion,' I said, turning back round to face my audience. 'It's called 'the ghost of you', and it's meant to be romantic, so don't be afraid to get up, and ask that pretty gal you've been eyeing up for weeks to dance.' again, they laughed, and a few of them looked about themselves, checking how far away their girls were, and if they could get to them before some other guy with a place in his heart for her could.
'You ready?' Ray whispered from behind my left shoulder. I nodded my head, dropping it level with my mic as he started playing the intro. Soon, all the couples were swaying around us, completely in love with the moment, all thoughts about the coming pain and terror absent from their smooshy eyes and soft lips. The words came easily to me, and so did the movements I put with them, like a hand to my chest, then being extended out to the crowd, as if reaching for my heart that had been stolen by some beautiful thing. I even caught my little brother smiling down at the girl he had loved for longer than I cared to remember, and it warmed my heart to see her smile back. I had watched her be rejected by several men, but now she had eyes only for Mikey.
By the end of the song, it seemed like everyone was in love, and as we left the stage, none of the couples split apart in favour of spending time with mates, or going to get a drink, instead, staying together, and dancing to the non-existent music. Even Mikey couldn't help walking over to his girl, Alicia.
'Hey! Wow, lookin' good!' some drunk, soon-to-be-soldier told me, play-slapping my cheek, and pulling at my still tucked in collar. I was too nervous to loosen up as the rest of my friends had. My brother, already slightly tipsy, walked up to him saying,
'What d'you expect? That kid spends half his fucking LIFE in front of a mirror!' Thanks Gerard...
Frank slid up to me then, pulling on my sleeve so I would follow him. 'Come get a drink, you gotta relax and stop thinking about next week. It's gonna be fine.' I'd forgotten how many people had told me it was going to be okay, that I'd be going home in a few month to marry some pretty girl and start a family, but I couldn't shake this feeling I had. It terrified me.
He sat me down between him and Gerard, who had managed to find his way back to the bar, and was merrily singing our song at the top of his lungs. The bar tender asked me what I wanted, and I ordered, not thinking much about the drink I had just asked for, but downing half of it anyway as soon as it hit the table in front of me.
'Woah, dude, I said 'get a drink', not 'clear out the whole fucking bar'!' Frank laughed, slapping me on the back and making me choke slightly.
'I'm fine. I can get drunk if I want. I'm older than you.' I muttered, barely turning to look at him. He scowled at this, hating it when I reminded him that I was both older and taller than him, as he, and the rest of the band, had a habit of treating me like the youngest, and trying to protect me from everything.
'What's up with you? Something's wrong, I can see that much,' He said softly, putting his hand on my shoulder. Again I told him I was fine, and turned away, hiding the look of terror I could feel all across my face. I sat there like that for half an hour before Gerard finally figured out what was up.
'Hey, c'mon now, your gonna be fine,' He told me, rubbing my shoulder the way he used to if I'd had a bad dream when I was a kid. I looked at him, unsure he was being sincere, but he was. My eyebrows creased, and I bit my lip, trying to stop the tears I felt pushing against the back of my eyes. 'Your gonna be home before Christmas, Mikes, I promise you that. Your gonna get there, take part in your bit of the action, turn twenty-four, see a bit more action, then fly home with me and the guys. Okay?' I wanted so badly to believe him, but I wasn't convinced. I tried to speak, but I didn't trust my voice, so all I did was nod my head as he continued to stroke my shoulder.
After a while, I got back into the swing of the party, drinking, laughing and joking along with the other guys and girls, even taking part in a final toast before leaving to go back to the barracks. As a group, we paused in the middle of the room, looking back at the women standing against the stage. I dropped my head, not wanting to leave Alicia now I had her, but I looked up as we turned to go. I stopped not much further on, swinging round one last time, before smiling, loosing my breath at her beautiful return smile, and turned again to go.
6 days before Normandy beach-France-1944
My god..get us out of here! I screamed in my head as we hid behind enemy lines, bullets flying over our heads, screams of agony filling the silence. We've been here for weeks now, I've lost count of how many.
I searched through the faces surrounding me for my brother, and spotted him hammering the butt of his gun into a German soldier's head. I watched as he fell back, a desperate sob breaking through his teeth. Back home he could never even kill a chicken, and now he's being forced to take countless men's lives.
'Mikey!' I yelled over at him as loud as I could over the other sounds of war. 'Mikey! Get your ass over here!' he turned to look at me before scrambling to his feet and ducking down under the capsized land-rover I was hiding beneath. 'Hey, hey, look at me. LOOK at me.' I ordered him, taking his face in my hands to stop him from staring down at the blood covering his own. 'You did what you had to. You just saved God knows how many British, American and French troops from being killed by that guy. He was a Nazi! He enjoyed making people suffer, and killing whole families just for their religion or race. You did the world a favour.'
'But, I just killed him!' he sobbed, the tears he had been fighting since we arrived finally breaking through. I hugged him to me as he fell forward, knowing how easy it was to let the idea that there was now one less human being on the planet because of you over-shadow all the good you might have done by taking them away.
We sat there like that for a few good minutes, Mikey's hands clawing at my jacket letting him know I was real and he wasn't going insane, before Frank found us.
'Hey, oh God, Mikey? What's wrong?' He asked, his voice frantic. It was obvious he thought my little brother had been hurt. He tried to pull him away from me, but Mikey just clung on, not wanting to see the blood he knew was around him. Frank was no better at killing people, he was just able to save his freak outs for when he thought he was alone, or everyone else was asleep.
I grabbed Frank's arm, stopping him from calling to Ray, who was busy trying to save someone's leg. 'He bashed someone's head in.' My voice was mono-tone, completely devoid of any emotion. I looked over at the corpse of the German my baby brother had just killed, and Frank followed my gaze before turning away to be sick. He turned back a minute later and said,
'You did what you had to dude, it was either him or you. And I know for sure that I'm not ready to loose you yet.' This time Mikey sat up as Frank spoke, taking a deep breath to steady himself.
'I-I know,' he muttered before standing up. 'We gotta get out of here,' I watched him for a moment, as he charged through the injured and the dying, and towards the men that would one day kill him. I couldn't help but think that he already knew he wasn't going to make it home.
4 days to Normandy Beach-France-1944-Mikey's birthday
Happy birthday..I thought as I woke up, lying on one of the uncomfortable camp beds the United States of Fuck as we now called it, had supplied for us. I sat up, grabbing my glasses and shoving them on my face before going over to one of the 'sinks' to shave and clean my teeth.
'Hey dude, happy birthday,' Bob told me, slapping my back as he joined me. I looked at the deep cut running the length of the right side of his face before answering.
'Thanks Bob. Too bad we're spending it here, and not in some bar back in Jersey, huh?' I was trying to make a joke out of it, but he could see my desire to be back home plain and clear behind my eyes.
'Dude, don't worry, you'll be home soon. I promise.' I stared into his eyes, the blue more piercing than ever, and tried to believe him. It never worked. I knew I would never go home.
'Open mine next!' Frank yelled, jumping over to me and landing on my knee. The rest of the guys laughed at our hobbit friend before Ray pulled him off.
I grabbed his gift, ripping the worn paper that covered it, to find a pot of hair wax with a comic book wrapped around it.
'Oh my god! Haha that's awesome! Thanks!' I laughed, opening the comic and burying my head in it. I didn't get far into it before Ray coughed pointedly.
'You gotta open mine now! Unless you want me to fly all the way back to Jersey to give it back to your pretty girlfriend?' I snatched it off him, too curious to wait, and tore the paper off, revealing a photograph of Alicia and me. Gerard had taken the picture the day before we were deployed, and I was stood next to her in my dress uniform, holding her in my arms. I had never noticed how she was looking at me, not the camera. She looked like her eyes could eat me, wanting to take in every tiny detail about my face and commit it to memory. It felt a lump in my throat and took a sharp breath in before looking at Ray who was smiling slightly.
'This is perfect. Thank you so much,' I muttered, not wanting to speak any louder in case my voice gave away the fact that I had tears in my eyes.
'I thought you might like it. You've been looking like you miss her loads lately.' He smiled before letting Gerard hand me the next and final gift.
'This one's from both me and Bob.' he said, holding out the thick envelope in his hand. I took it, looking from my brother to Bob. Opening it, I found a collection of drawings, depicting the story of a young man with glasses leaving for war, and returning six months later to a beautiful girl called Alicia, with a badge of honor on his chest. I smiled down at the papers, finding it ironic that the cartoon Mikey got to go home, but the real one wouldn't.
'Thanks guys, these mean a lot to me.' I said gesturing around me at the gifts lying on my bunk.
They left me alone then, to open my letters from home, and look at the cards and small somethings they had sent me. The letter from my mother went like this;
To my dearest Mikey,
How are you holding up over there? Met anyone nice? I'm hoping the food is okay, but I sent you some dry cakes just in case. We miss you all something terrible, and can't wait for you to get back home. The dog misses you too-your sister is constantly bugging him, and now there is no tall boy with glasses to make her leave him alone!
You father's here, and he says hello. He got home last week, but I thought I would wait to tell you so it was a little more special maybe. He wants to see his boys again. He also says don't worry about him, he's absolutely fine, and that the bullet seemed to go out of it's way to not hit anything in his leg. He's already up on it again even though the doctor says he should wait. Well I guess that's just your father! You always were like him.
Alicia's been round a few times to help around the house. She's a lovely girl, and I'm glad you chose her. She'll be good for you-isn't afraid to get her hands dirty!
The coffee pot's been too full lately. Theres no one here to drink it. You'll need to come home soon, other wise I think your father is going to bin it!
Make sure your safe, okay? I heard about that boy who lived down the street from us. He was killed last week. Don't let that happen to you, your brother or any of the others. We need you back home. Do what ever you have to to get back home safely Mikey.
I hope you have a great birthday, love. I'm sorry I couldn't send you much, they're now apparently rationing the post as well, but we have got a few things for you for when you get home in a few months. I won't tell you what they are as we want it to be a surprise. Love you lots (and tell Gerard that too), Mom, Dad and Jenny. Big kiss and hug.
I was glad she had kept it light, trying to make it sound like everything was going to be okay. That was the type of letter I could read over and over again, just to make m laugh. I read the one from Alicia next.
I can't believe it's been almost a month since we met at the ball, and only three weeks since you left for the war. It feels like an eternity since I last saw you, where the week we spent together felt like only a few hours. I can't wait to have you back and safe in my arms. I've been longing for a hug or kiss from you, and find myself unable to sleep, for when I do, I dream only of you, making it harder being away from you.
Hurry home, my love.
I have been trying to help your mother around the house, but she is stubborn and insists I should rest. One thing she is letting me help with though, is drinking the coffee. She doesn't seem to care for it much.
Call me crazy, but I even miss your idiot of a brother! I miss his strange little quirks and pointing out the obvious. I especially miss Frank and Bob, and their bickering! I can't wait for Ray's cooking again-your mother can cook, but she is nothing compared to that man.
And then, above all that, I miss you. I am trying to not to cry as I write this, but I can see that I have left a few tears for you. I hate the thought of you being out there, in the middle of the Germans, and it kills me to think you might not come home. I know I was told to keep this light, but I find that stupid and impossible. You know the risks as well as I, if not better as you are the one living them. I don't know what I would do if you came home in a coffin. I can not bare the thought, but no matter how hard I try to bury it, it's always there. Please be careful, and come home to me, not in a box, but walking off that plane to greet me.
I smile at the passing of every day, knowing that I now have one less to wait before I see you again, and I know that by the time you read this, that day will be closer yet.
Send my love to the others,
I love you with all my heart, your Alicia
I took a deep breath to steady myself. Tears wouldn't help me, and I didn't want to be seen as weak. I glanced over at my brother who was watching me. He wiped his eyes as he turned away. Looks like I wasn't the only one missing home.
3 days to Normandy Beach-France-1944
We were all sat together in front of a blank screen waiting for our Sargent to start his speech about the Normandy Beach invasion we would be taking part in soon. I was sat between Gerard and Frankie who were trying to talk to me about the latest edition of a comic they both liked that had been sent out to them, but I was too busy watching Bob and Mikey having a conversation on the other side of Gerard. We had all noticed how Gerard always sat next to his little brother, and we understood that, but Bob usually let Frank sit on his other side as those two were closest in age and interests. Bob was as close to Mikey as any of us, they just didn't usually sit together. I was probably reading too much into it, but I found it weird.
'Look this way, men,' Our Sargent snapped, not bothering trying to be nice. 'In three days you're being shipped out to Normandy Beach to take down a German base we have discovered there. Not all of you will make it-there will be German gunners waiting for your arrival, but, if all goes well, there will be tanks and back up squadrons there to help you.' Oh fun.
It's not finished yet! i'll try and get the rest posted up soon :) please rate and review. thanks soo much for reading!