My young Phillip,
Once again, I bring to you the news that our land is at war. You know then that I will ask of you a task most great: join myself and the rest of our brothers as we prepare to fight. I will not hear your argument again; it has become preposterous, as you are needed with us. If you are like us, you will definitely have the skill to carry arms, despite any silly objections you might make. War is in your blood, as father would recite; you can’t escape any duty.
I await your reply with baited breath. A meeting would be well advised. Let’s say, the town plaza, August 27th. I should think that you could make time out from your busy marriage-preparation schedule to attend me?
Lieutenant Ryan Costello.
Phillip scowled at the letter, and folded it back up. The grey plaza he sat in the midst of was devoid of colour as the day was coming to its end. Like the rest of the plaza, the seat that Phillip was sitting on was made of a grey modern stone, granite or something just as unremarkable, which also made up the structures of the shops and the occasional living spaces (in the form of flats and a tiny bungalow). They were necessary to be there, but they were certainly no luxury.
Suddenly a figure appeared in the mist of grey buildings. He had Phillip’s blue-black hair, but eyes of a blue similar to the sky earlier in the day, and he was wearing a grey overcoat that swished as he walked to and fro. His left arm was bandaged, but the man seemed to take no pain or discomfort from it being there.
“Ah, Phillip. I had hoped that you were going to come along.”
“Well, did I have much choice?” Phillip snapped at his brother.
Phillip and his family got on very well with each other, but the occasional fiery temperament (like that of Phillip’s mother) would slip into the gene-pool, and a couple of Phillip’s brothers, including Ryan, would sometimes create an argument or rift between members of their family. Phillip liked to consider that he was not affected by those ‘changes of heart’, but sometimes he would not put up with the words or actions of his mildly irritating siblings.
“It’s nice that you’ve chosen to see me. I gather the preparation of the house is coming along well?”
”Yes, thank you. We tested out the cooker this afternoon; everything seems to be in working order.”
Ryan stared at his younger brother and crossed his arms in a rather menacing way.
“Now, onto more important matters. Pleasantries are wearying.
“Phillip, do it. Father is threatening to disinherit you, and I don’t blame him! If you won’t conform to the rules and wishes of your own family, then why should you be allowed to stay with us, and the money we provide for you?”
“Ryan…you cannot ask me to do that.”
”You need our family’s money, I know. How will you and your fiancée live without the income we can provide?”
“We will make the ends meet.”
“Don’t tell me that you intend to live from her inheritance?” barked Ryan, “It’ll be gone in no time; she’ll splash it away on dresses and hairstyles and make-up, and soon you will find yourselves looking to the streets for an income.”
“Don’t. You know not what it is like-”
“Marriage is for those with too much time on their hands.”
“I won’t pick up a gun. I will not learn to fight.”
“Then work on the ‘signal lines’; you will be on the information team, listening and observing the enemies movement. It’s just as dangerous, just as thrilling, and just as useful to the fighters. A ‘win-win situation’ for you perhaps?”
“I do not want to involve myself in war!” Phillip yelled.
“Then you want your wife to suffer?”
Those were the words that ensnared Phillip. He paused, knowing that he could do and say nothing more to change the argument of his brother. That was it. But now, Phillip had to face up to his duty, over his love.
“But, I cannot tell her…”
“Then leave without her knowledge!”
“Ryan, I mustn’t. She has a right to know. I can’t just take off and do something I don’t want to.”
“Remember the money. You know what the best thing is for to enable your survival.”
Phillip hesitated, the dilemma boring into his soul.
“But…how should I say…?”
“You’ll have to find a way…”