i'm crap at summaries =] the guys reflect on who they might loose
1 day to Normandy Beach-France-1944
One night left. In the morning we would be shipped out to the Beach. Only there wouldn't be time for a picnic.
I glanced over at Ray, who was trying to have a conversation with Frankie about something or other, but he was failing-both were too distracted by the fact that tomorrow morning, before the sun had even made it up, we would be storming a beach, running to what would most likely be our deaths.
That was the problem with shipping out in a group of four of your friends, you know one of you isn't going to make it home, but which one? Which one could you live without the easiest? I thought about it, taking long looks at each of them, starting back at Ray. He was the only one of us who could cook worth a damn, and he had been my best friend longer than I could remember. Even just the thought of him not being there made the night seem darker. I turned to Frank. That kid was the youngest of us, being a whole year younger than Mikey. He hadn't lived long enough to loose his life anyway at all, but loosing it in war seemed a far worse fate than anything else. I couldn't imagine life without him there to jump on you, or try and climb into something, or just generally make you laugh. Bob was the newest of our friends, having moved down from Chicago three years ago, but since we met there hadn't been a day we hadn't seen each other. I couldn't live without him in my life.
That left Mikey. My Mikey. Other than my girlfriend, he was my everything. I simply couldn't imagine him not being there. All tall and geeky, his glasses sliding down his nose every few minutes, and being pushed up just to fall back down again. His occasional out bursts of weird quotes or facts normally left us all hysterical with laughter, and his almost permanent cheerfulness helped make each day a little more bearable. There wasn't a doubt in my mind that if he was the one to never go home, I wouldn't survive a month, let alone long enough to have a normal life. Even thinking about him not going home forced white hot tears of agony to fill my eyes. He was going home. Alive.
If it was the last thing I did on his God-dammed earth, I was sending him home.
I looked down at the letter in my hands. I had been writing it for the best part of the evening, and was finally happy with it. It wasn't a letter I had wanted to write, and was one I never wanted posting.
If it was sent, it meant I was dead.
We all had them. Some of us had written them the week we got here, but I saw it as excepting the fact that we might never go home, almost giving us permission to die. I didn't want to die. Not now, not ever if I could. Though that would be impossible.
I had written two, one addressed to my family back in Chicago, and one to my band, the people I cared about more than my life. If one of us had to die, I would rather it was me than Gerard-he had too much more showing off left in him to die, or Frank who was too young and small. He had enough life in him for ten men of normal size. There was no way he was dying. Or Ray, who was sort of like the band's mother hen, making sure we didn't do anything too stupid. Or Mikey. God, I couldn't imagine loosing Mikey.. He was like everyone's baby brother, always happy, always, well, Mikey. He was such a goof-ball! I remembered a time he had tried to jump off the stage, copying Gerard, but had gotten his foot stuck in his bass strap, and had fallen comically to the floor. When he had sat up, his hair was a mess and his glasses were askew. The look on his face was what really set us off. It was like he hadn't expected the stage to be there, and was trying to figure out where the drop had come from. We could never loose him. It seemed like a complete impossibility.
It had to be..
15 minutes till Normandy Beach Invasion-September 14th-1944
Oh god...fifteen minutes? Is that it? When we hit the beach it'll only take about five, maybe ten to get to the other side. What if I don't make it? What if this is my last twenty-five minutes of life? I couldn't help thinking it. No matter how hard I tried, that little bit of doubt that said 'what if it's you not going home?' refused to leave my head alone.
I had tried to talk to Mikey about it, but he had brushed it off, claiming he wanted to sleep, but had then simply laid there, staring at the tent roof for the next few hours. We all knew what he was thinking, but we also knew it would make it harder for him to deal with if we verbalized that particular fact. He didn't think he was going home. We had all seen the torture in his eyes as we were told that not all of us would make it. He wanted to go home, same as any of us, maybe more so.
Because of Alicia. He had only just got her, and was desperate not to loose her forever. She couldn't survive without him. In fact, none of us could.
I held my breath as we approached the shore. I was uncomfortable as it was, being afraid of large bodies of water, but knowing I was maybe ten minutes away from the end made it so much worse.
I had given up telling myself I was going to live, and was going home with the guys in a few months days ago, and tried to except the truth, only it was hard. I was so scared! There were so many ways it could happen, none of them being painless. I was going to feel it, and I was going to know that Gerard was there, watching, unable to help. That thought killed me, almost as literally as the German bullet, bomb or grenade that was waiting for me was going to.
I decided, that while it was calm, I was going to try and do things for the last time. I started with smelling the air. It was salty, and strong with the smell of fear and vomit, but it a way it was a beautiful smell. I could also smell my brother who was stood next to me-old cologne, cigarettes and something that can only be described as him. I would miss it so much.
Next, I looked to the sky. It was cloudy-huge dark gray masses covering the early morning colors. That was something else I would miss, the reds, oranges and blues of a sun rise.
Sadly, Ray and Frank were on the other boat, but Bob was stood in front of me, so I tapped him on the shoulder.
'What's up, Mikey?' He asked as he turned to face me. I said nothing, opting instead for a hug. I wrapped my arms around his neck, feeling his surprise. I could smell him too. He smelled slightly more bitter than Gee, but it was a nice bitter, and it brought tears to my eyes. I couldn't believe this was the last time I would smell that! I felt myself starting to hyperventilate, so I stepped back, taking a deep breath as I did. 'What was that about?' Bob asked, looking confused. Gee was adamantly ignoring us to give me space.
'I-I wanted to say goodbye. Y'know, in case...' my words trailed to an end. This was our last goodbye, I didn't want to ruin it with the thought of my death.
'Well, you can say hello to me too on the other side,' He smiled. I couldn't help but smile back-it was actually a smart come back.
After Bob was facing the front again, I turned to Gerard.
'Gee?' he looked at me, terror filling his eyes. It wasn't terror for him though, it was for me. He was scared of loosing me, and so was I. He'll never know how much I had looked forward to going home.. 'I want to say goodbye-' he cut me off.
'Mikey, don't even say it. Your. Not. Leaving. me.' He said each word slowly, making it into it's own sentence.
'But what if I do? I don't wanna leave knowing I never said goodbye to my big brother. Knowing I never..never got to say I-I love you, Gee. Your my best friend, and the best brother I could have asked for. Th-thank y-you..' I could barely get the last two words out, as the lump in my throat had gotten bigger. It was finally hitting me that I would never see him again. That I would never hear his voice, or feel his hand on my shoulder.
'Mikes...your never gonna leave me..I can't loose you. Not now, not ever. But-I love you too. Just, promise me, promise you won't get yourself killed. If you can get to the other side, even if it means killing me, if I happened to be in your way, promise me you will. I need to have you safe, and so does Alicia.' I gaped at him. How could he ask me to do that? I would never hurt him.
I told him I promised.
It was what he needed to hear. He stepped towards me, embracing me in a crushing hug. I hugged him back, the tears finally escaping.
The siren sounded. We pulled back to look at each other, the fear building up in our eyes. I looked at Bob who was breathing fast and looking over at the other boat, towards our friends. The panic started to set in and take over, speeding up my breathing too. Gerard grabbed my face, turning me towards him and said,
'You're gonna be fine, Mikey, you are going to be okay,' he had to keep turning my face back to his, as I was trying to look at the beach as the doors lowered them selves down. I nodded to him, not trusting my voice, and then, before I could grab his hand so I wouldn't get lost from him, we were shoved on to the shore.
I glanced at Frank and Ray who both looked as scared as I felt. At least they got to go home.
'Tell those two I love them. Tell them goodbye!' I yelled at Bob as he was dragged off, and he nodded his head. Yes, he would tell them.
There were so many people running, that I kinda just got pulled along after them. I felt myself trip, and was given an early introduction with the water. I tried to stand up, but so many of the men around me had also fallen, that I just got tangled in their feet. The boy by my head started to panic, and was flailing madly. One of his legs wrapped it's self around my neck, while the foot of the other was using my shoulder as a stepping stone. I started screaming as I felt my shoulder ripping.
The sound of bullets flying at us was deafening, but the boy seemed determined to cry louder so he was heard by someone.
He was heard by the Germans.
A well-fired shot ended up entering his head, and exiting the other side, splattering my face with pieces of his brain and skull. He went limp, pulling the top half of my body down with him, forcing my head under the waters surface. I panicked, kicking my legs and shoving on his foot, but only succeeded in tangling myself in his back pack too.
I cried out, but it was muffled because of the water. I was starting to slip, everything around me going black. I could feel myself fading as something dragged me out from under the dead boys' leg.
Spluttering, I gawped up at my savior, and it turned out to be Ray, also known as our field medic.
'Be careful, Mikey, please.' He told me before rushing off to a screaming soldier with only one arm.
I scrambled back to my feet before running towards my end.
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