Necessary Leave

The train wheezed and creaked to a halt. Michael stood and moved along with the others to the platform. Men surged towards the gate, and he followed them. As the first few returning soldiers stepped through, there were glad cries. Some of the men speeded up. A few slowed down. Michael didn’t vary his pace. It was good to be back, though.

That last night, when he was wounded, he hadn’t thought he could stand any more. Even if they sent him back after a rest, just getting away from fighting for a while… The home front was so quiet, so peaceful.

When he reached the gate, he hung back, to see who’d come to meet him. Most of the folks waiting were old. Well, he supposed the young guys were off fighting somewhere, and the girls were in factories keeping up war production. Irene had written that she’d taken a job in a munitions plant.

He saw a flash of red hair. There she was!


“Irene!” He kissed her, slowly. “They let you off to come meet me?”

“The plant’s closed. There was an explosion…”

Geez! Good thing you weren’t…”

She cut him off. “Michael… this is Heaven.”

He felt a pang. Irene! But they were together, and he’d never have to fight again.

“We’ll have time together later, I promise. But right now, with all those Nazis he’s been getting, the Devil’s making things pretty hot. You’re needed, up at the front.”

Necessary Leave


Woonsocket, United States

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Artist's Description

Two twists for the price of one! I originally wrote this for the weekly prompt competition in Twisted Tales.

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