Forgive and Forget

This is just a short story I wrote for English class a couple of years ago; I found it in my room so I decided to post it on here and see what people think! :)
It's about Riley and Michael Hashish, twin brothers who fell out in a serious row aged 18. Michael goes off to join the army, and refuses to contact Riley for 8 years.
When tradgedy strikes at home, Riley decides it's time to be reunited with his brother. But will he find him, and will he be forgiven, before it's too late?

Riley shot bolt upright in his rickety camp bed, the piercing screams from his dream still ringing in his ears and his sobs heaving in his chest. Sweat poured down his face and back, and his entire body shook with repressed grief. There was no chance of him getting any more sleep tonight. He swung his trembling legs out from under the blanket and pulled on his heavy boots.

This was Riley's regular routine. He went to bed each night, wishing for a dreamless sleep, a full night's rest; but he always woke in the early hours of every morning, the bed drenched in sweat and the screms of his family- and sometimes himself- still ringing in his ears. This was his curse. To be forced to re-live the worst night of his life, with horrifying clarity- over and over again, every single night. Burying his pounding head in his hands, Riley closed his eyes and wearily let the memory of that night wash over him...

It was late, and most of the family were already in bed. Only Riley and his mother remained sitting at the kitchen table, quietly discussing the possible whereabouts of Riley's twin brother, Michael, who was serving in the war.

"I think he's stationed in France," stated their mother, a troubled look crossing her weary face. "After all, that's where the worst of the fighting is. I just hope he can keep his wits about him in the face of all the-"

Suddenly, a deafening whistle sliced through the silence of the night. It took Riley only a split second to connect the noise to his worst fear.

"It's a bomb!" he yelled to his petrified mother, grabbing her arm and propelling her towards the door. "Run as far away as you can! I'll get Dad and the girls!"

Leaving his mother at the threshhold, he ran upstairs and into his father and sisters, waking each in turn. The whistling got louder ith every passing second. Riley pulled on the arms of his family, dragging them downstairs in their bedraggled and half-concious states. But there wasn't enough time.

As they reached the front door and the arms of their mother (who had frozen to the spot, too shocked and terrified to obey Riley's commands), the bomb reached it's target. It smashed into the house, exploding with a force that ripped Riley from the embrace of his family, propelling him to land in a heap at the end of the street. He recovered his feet just in time to see the last standing wall of his family home collapse in- exactly where he could see the outline of his fallen family.

Wrenching himself back to the present, Riley dug his nails into his scalp, desperately trying to get his breathing back under control. That night had been the last of his happy days- the tradgedy had scarred him for life. Reviewing it only took him back to the state he had been in before he underwent three years of intense counselling. And even then, his grief had hardly been lessened.

Standing up, Riley took a deep breath to steady himself. Then, hoping for a few hours of silent solitude, he lifted the tent flap and stepped out into the warm night air.

The End

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