Since KDP rules preclude my sharing the story here, I’ve written a prequel for my readers. Enjoy.
When the Boys Came Home – Prequel
Pte. George Weston stood on the deck of RMS Olympia, watching the coastline of Great Britain fade to a distant smudge on the grey sea. He knew he’d watched this scene in reverse five years ago, but not a moment of it remained in his memory.
He turned to the woman at his side. “Regrets?” he asked.
Mabel Featherley shook her head. “Of course I’ll miss home and family, and friends. But this is the right thing to do.”
He drew a deep breath and expelled it in a long sigh. As usual, his nurse made him feel safe. Had he always been this uncertain, he wondered. Had he always been afraid? It was a damnable thing when a man couldn’t remember himself. For the past couple of years, convalescing in hospital, he’d believed himself a wounded English soldier. Then Harry showed up and George learned he was a Canadian, Pte George Weston of the Second Division of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. His mother had been notified he was missing in action in 1917, after Passchendaele. Now he was headed home to Glencove, Ontario. He didn’t know if he was more excited or scared at the prospect of going home to a place he could not recollect and a family who were strangers to him.
“Only another week.” Pte. Harry Peters, leaning on the rail on George’s other side rolled a cigarette and stuck it in his mouth. “ One week and we’ll be home.” He struck a match and held it to the cigarette, then drew on the smoke and exhaled a long, tobacco fuelled breath. “Whatever that means.”
“Peace? Safety? A loving welcome?” George asked the questions that plagued his own mind.
“Maybe,” Harry smoked thoughtfully, “maybe not. The army despised POW’s. Who’s to say the country won’t too?”
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