Reese’s body shook with staccato beats he could no longer tell apart. Rain rattled against metal sheets, thumped against tarps. Machine guns fired. Bullets struck concrete and sandbags, hard earth and soft flesh. His own heart drove blood through his brain, which pounded with the mother of all headaches. The world was a brass band with him nestled in the kettle drum.

Sergeant Green shouted at him, but he couldn’t hear it. All he heard was banging, booming, until an explosion behind him mercifully stifled all sound. Silence. Silence and a fiery pain in his leg—

“Grandpa?” a tiny voice said.

Reese looked down and there was Evelyn, her tiny hand folded into his. “Yes, sweetheart?” he said, voice catching in his throat.

“I said aren’t the fireworks pretty?” She smiled up at him, her dark eyes reflecting the brilliant colors overhead. He smiled back.

“They’re beautiful.”

A few minutes later the show was over, and Reese limped over to where the rest of his family waited with iced tea and hamburgers.

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4 Responses to “Rataplan”

  1. Gracie says:

    Aw, this is sad and lovely. I’m glad he’s got family to pull him out of those horrible memories.

    Very well done, Valerie. 🙂

  2. Tessa Conte says:

    Great stuff. Poignant, that’s the word.

  3. Valerie says:

    Thanks, I’m glad you liked it. It’s hard not to get a little maudlin with stuff like this but sometimes you need a little sentimentality in your life. I hope, anyway.

  4. I’ve know so many people who deal with flashbacks like this on a daily/weekly/sometimes hourly basis. Never knowing when a flash will rear its ugly head is bad, but going purposely where it’s sure to, is a big and incredibly courageous step.
    You portrayed what this character was living out well, and I’m so glad that you finished it off with the rest of his day being filled with loving experiences.
    [and hopefully a perfect holiday hot dog]
    Great micro.

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