Over The Trenches

Written in Creative Writing club with the prompt of 'over the top' in reference to Remembrance day this weekend.

Apologies for any spelling mistakes

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1. Over The Top

A hollow knock sounded on the door. A fidgeting woman jumped at the sudden break of silence, her heart thudding. With trembling hands, she opened the door, tears daring to spill.

'Calm down.', she thought, 'it could be good news.'

But fate quickly dashed her hopes.

A man stood on the porch and gave a half-hearted smile that didn't quite reach his eyes. Slowly removing the cap from his military attire, he handed the woman two pieces of paper. He muttered an appology and replaced his cap with a nod. He walked away.

As expected, the fist slip of paper was a telegram which read:

'We regret to inform you Alfred Reynolds has been killed in action in France, November 2nd'

The words started to swim in front of her eyes as tears rolled freely down her face. Small whimpers echoed through the empty house; the promise of a loving family to reside there ripped from it's grasp.

So what was on the second piece of paper? The second piece of paper was a letter. Even on the crumpled, muddy sheet, he fiance's writing was clear.

Dear Peggy,

I'm going over the top into no man's land tomorrow, the orders have just been issued. You have no idea how frightened I am. It's hard to eat or sleep, as tomorrow's task plagues my mind. No one comes back in good shape, if they even come back at all. Limbs missing, blood splattering, cries of pain. It is too much to bear, and not what I signed up for. My head starts reeling at the thought of never seeing you again. I just want you to know that if I don't make it back (but it's something I'm planning on, trust me) I will love you with all of my heart for all of time. I miss you. My only regret would be that I didn't get to make you my wife.

All my love, Alfred.

Peggy cradled her head in her hands as sobs shook her body.

-

Years later, Peggy had fallen into a solitry and repetitive life. Her face an expressionless mask, not even the end of the war made her smile. Nothing ever did.

After much internal debate, she finally decided that she had had enough and scribbled a note, signed Peggy Reynolds, for her remaining family who hadn't yet labelled her as a lost cause.

All of Alfred's belongings were stashed in a box underneath her bed that she let no other living soul open. But now she was digging through it, looking for two items in particular.

Once found, she felt fresh tears streaking across her reddened face as she clutched Alfred's last letter tightly to her chest. Calming her nerves, she steadied her hand and whispered 'I'm coming, love.'

A shot echoed through the empty house.

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