He Said He'd Be Back

The result of a scenario in which I had to write about soup. Because apparently, I can't write anything that isn't morbid.

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1. He said he'd be back.

He said he'd be back.

The woman sits at the table, trying to draw breaths, trying to inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. With each struggling gasp, her body is trapped within a violent jolt, like somebody is shaking her from the spiteful grip of a nightmare. The nightmare that is truth, war, reality. The nightmare that haunts every second of her sleep; of her waking hours. The nightmare that hangs over her very existence, and is tearing her apart. Wounding her heart, every second of every minute of every hour.

He said he'd be back.

Her eyes find the soup before her. Faint wisps of steam still waft from the bowl, before it fades, stolen away by the bitter cold of the room. His favourite food. He'd always loved to eat it, reminiscing, laughing, smiling. Now, it was almost monstrous, and the red could only remind her of the letter, of the bloodied ring. He'd been holding it when the medics reached him, had been loving it, admiring it.

He said he'd be back.

The tears swell within her eyes, burning her face as she tries to contain them. Why? Why did he have to go? To leave her? For his country, he'd said. For Britain, for freedom, for pride. And for her. He'd fought for her, had been fighting for her when the bullet stole him. Could never fight for her again.

He said he'd be back.

Sucking in a breath, she clasps the spoon in trembling hands. The metal sends daggers of cold through her fingers as she lowers it, but she doesn't notice. She only notices the emptiness, now, as it seeps painfully into her heart and renders her broken.

He said he'd be back.

She brings the soup to her lips, tasting the saltiness, not even realising how cold it's become. It always tasted nicer, warmer, sweeter. But then, he'd always made it. With love, with care. It had been her favourite food, but now...

He said he'd be back.

She tries not to cry. He'd always hated her tears, he'd said before he left. But how? How could she stop them alone? The woman bites her tongue. Anything. Anything but the tears.

He said he'd be back.

Slowly, her arm sinks back to the table, limp and lifeless. He'd always been so full of life, so carefree and happy. Full of life. The phrase doesn't even seem fair, now.

He said he'd be back.

Somehow, her fingers find the ring around her neck. Pulling it from its chain. Cradling it to her chest. The last thing he ever touched.

He said he'd be back.

She can't stop the tears from falling, as they drop into the soup, mingling into the stone cold red.

He said he'd be back.

The room is cold; the soup is cold; the ring is cold. Her shattered heart is colder.

He said he'd be back.

The tears don't stop for a long, long time.

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