The Telegram (History)

Dear Diary,

I almost can't write. It's as though all the words in me are gone away to wherever dead soldiers go. Like my brother has taken them with him.

But I have to write. He deserves to be remembered.

The worst thing is that he would have been twenty years old tomorrow, and yet now he will never make it to his birthday. I had a present all ready to send him, too, to cheer him up. Too late now.

I was digging in the garden, trying to rid it of weeds so the potatoes could prosper. As I watched I saw a shape approaching me, a small shape, moving quickly. When it drew nearer I saw that it was a boy on a bicycle; as he approached the gate I recognised one of my childhood friends, who had signed up as a boy scout just before the war.

I smiled at him. He didn't smile back. "Is your mother here?" he asked, and a deadly chill ran down my spine.

"In the kitchen," I choked out. He dismounted from the bike and propped it against the wall. There was a piece of paper in his hand.

"Mam!" I said, casting down my spade and running inside. I didn't want her to be alone when she heard the news but I didn't get there in time--she was holding the card, staring at it, as though she couldn't believe what she was seeing.

"My son..." she whispered, and her voice was strangled. Her face--oh, her face. I will never forget Mam's expression that day. So ghastly pale and grey; drawn and haggard within moments. "Oh, Elyra, my son..."

I hugged her, holding her tight. "I know, Mam, I know..." Peter was my only brother and now he was gone.

The boy watched us for a moment and then left the room, not saying a word, sensitive till the last. He'd given this message so many times before. I heard him take his bike from the garden and leave.

Peter was gone.

I let go of Mam and ran to my room. Now I can't even see for tears; my writing is illegible for smudges.

Peter is gone.




The End

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