What Binds Us: Through everything, remember what's waiting

By Joel Carlton Rylance

Historical fiction


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2 mins

Shores of Victory

1944, June 6th

“You know what Frank,” A young solider asks, his auburn hair covered by his helmet, his eyes as pure as the sea they are sailing on. Looking out to sea he rests against the side of the destroyer he is riding. “When we get back home I want you to come visit me some time.” His older friend leans next to him in the same manor looking out at the horizon, his eyes are the opposite; they’re as brown as the ground they will soon be standing on. “As long as you come visit me and my gal; Steve.” Frank reaches inside of his jacket, pulling out a square polaroid picture of a beautiful, young lady in her finest dress posing next to an apple tree. “It’s where we first kissed.”

“She’s beautiful Frank; what’s she doing with a guy like you.” They each break out into laughter; the sound of soldiers running behind them distracts their attention for a moment, drawing them back into the real world.

Steve reaches inside of his jacket pulling out a similar sized picture. “Well. When I get back the first thing I’m doing is going to marry her.” Frank looks over at the stunning blonde in Steve’s arms, her head resting against this strong chest. “And you say I’m batting out of my league.”

They both give each other a light, playful shove laughing at each other once more. A strong wave collides against the ships bow, raining down on them like light fairy dust. “Do you mind if I ask why you joined up if you have a dame like that waiting for you back home.” Frank asks, trying not to sound too intrusive. “All my friends were going and with all the talk that this was going to be big, I just wanted to do my part and help you know. I don’t want to kill anyone I just, don’t want to see any one I care about die you now. What about you.” Steve says, seeing the look on his friends face change from being proud of hearing something so noble to vacant, thinking about something that drives him deep down.

“I had a brother and uh; he was involved in a bombing in London.”
“I’m sorry I, I didn’t know.”
“It’s ok, I never told you. It sounds strange but I think this is what he would have done if our roles were reversed and by doing that makes me still, feel closer to.”
“I understand, I think any one I know would do the same thing.” Looking out over the horizon, a long stretch of land begins to appear; it’s not much but they each know it’s their destination.

Steve eyes light up as he slaps the top of Frank’s helmet, harder than he anticipated but still grabbing his attention nonetheless.

“I wouldn’t get very far finding you after this; you’ve never told me where you live. I don’t fancy walking around Chicago shouting out your name for a day.”

“Well with that in mind,” Frank gives Steve a clout around his helmet not as hard as he got hit but enough to nock the helmet over his eyes. “Neither have you, I don’t want to get lost in Brooklyn.” Steve fixes his helmet back on his head properly and begins patting down his pockets, searching for some thing. “I know I have one some where.”

He says, searching lower down his body to his legs. Thrusting his hand inside his leg pocket he pulls out a small pencil and begins writing on the back of his picture. Knowing what he is doing Frank rummages around for his pencil, finding it in his top pocket and begins writing on the back of his. After they each finish writing Steve holds out his picture and says. “Look after Jenny for me.” Frank takes it off him gratefully, handing his picture over in the same manor. “As long as you look after my Claire.”

“Sergeant’s!” A man cries out to them, making them spin round standing to attention. “Its almost time prepare your men.”
“Yes sir.” They simultaneously say receiving a salute back before their commanding officer leaves. Lowering there hands the reality of what they are about to attempt begins to sink in, nothing like this has been done in the history of man and they are at the fore front of it all. “We’re going to be alright aren’t we?” Steve asks looking out at the vast armada of ships behind them; each one filled with soldiers just like them all thinking the same thing. “We’ve trained for this, we now what were doing. Look after your men and they’ll look after you.” Frank says without a sign of hesitation, nerves of steel. Looking behind them at what was a nothing more than a fingers width thick a few minutes ago has almost tripled in size.

“I’ll see you their Sergeant.”
“I’ll be waiting Kid.” Steve reaches out and shakes Frank’s hand, for what they hope will not be the last time. “Look out Omaha, here we come.” Steve jokes.
“They won’t know what hit them.” Frank replies as they walk off, heading inside the ship; both men equally terrified but proud of what they are about to be part of.



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