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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Home for Christmas - Part Four

Good morning!

I know my post is up pretty early, and I'm sorry it's a rather short one, but work calls! :P (And headaches + stuffy noses aren't any fun.) :(



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Visit Faith's blog for more Christmas posts!

Anyway, I'm just going to jump right in with today's post, which is part four of my story. Sorry about part three ending on sort of a cliffhanger... Hope you all enjoy this next installment. :) 

***
I'll be home for Christmas
You can count on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents by the tree
***
Ding-dong!
Alycia Taylor frowned and glanced at the clock hanging on the wall. Who on earth would be at the door at six in the morning? Especially two days before Christmas.
“Mom? Who's at the door?” Gracelyn exited her room, still dressed in her pajamas and rubbing at her eyes.
“I don't know, honey,” Alycia responded. “I'm going look now.”
She hurried down the stairs as the doorbell rang again.
Through the thin curtains hanging over the windows on either side of the front door, Alycia could just make out the figure of a man–two men, actually–both dressed in soldiers’ uniforms. Her heart skipped an excited beat for a moment, but then dropped when she realized it wasn't Brad arriving earlier than expected.
Now feeling a bit nervous, Alycia bit her lip and opened the door. “Yes?”
The taller of the two–a blond, younger man–was the one to speak first. “Ma’am, would you happen to be Mrs. Alycia Taylor?”
“Yes,” Alycia said again, seeming a little uncertain this time.
He cleared his throat. “I'm Sergeant Benjamin Freed.” Motioning to the man next to him, he continued, “This is Chaplain Hobbs.”
Alycia’s thin eyebrows drew closer together. “Yes?” she said for the third time.
Sergeant Freed sighed. “Ma’am, may we come in?”
Slowly, Alycia stepped backward and allowed the two men to enter.
“Mom? Who's that?” Grace’s voice drifted down the stairs.
“Go back to your room, Gracelyn,” Alycia commanded. “I'll call you and Kat down soon.”
Grace’s face twisted into a confused expression at the sight of the two professionally dressed men standing at the bottom of the stairs, but did as her mother asked without question.
“What is this all about?” Alycia questioned. Hobbs and Freed exchanged glances.
This time it was the chaplain who spoke. “May we sit down, please?”
“Of course.” Alycia motioned to the chairs in the family room. “Now will you please tell me what exactly is going on?”
Sergeant Freed sighed, and Alycia felt her throat tighten, but tried to reassure herself. Surely nothing was wrong. Brad was on his way home, so he hadn't been injured in combat. She drove away the thought when the sergeant opened his mouth, his voice cracking.
“Ma’am.” He swallowed. “The secretary of the Army has asked me to express his deep regrets that your husband, Brad Taylor, died early this morning when his plane bound for Washington crashed mid flight due to some unexpected problems that occurred with the plane.”
He sat back and waited for her reaction.
Alycia just sat, staring straight ahead, her lips pressed firmly together.
The chaplain put a gentle on her arm, but she pulled away.
“Are you sure?” Her voice was cold and emotionless.
“Yes, ma’am,” Sergeant Freed replied. “We were informed by the secretary of the Army that your husband’s body was identified in the wreckage of the plane.”
A quick intake of the breath was the only response from Alycia.
“Mom?” Kat thumped down the stairs and skidded into the room, Gracelyn on her heels. “Gracie said–”
“Mom said to stay–” Grace froze in the middle of her annoyed response to her younger sister at the sight of her mother’s face.
“Mom? What's wrong?” Alarmed, Gracelyn glanced between the two men who sat in chairs near her mother. “Who are they?” she wanted to know.
Alycia couldn't seem to open her mouth, so the sergeant spoke up. “My name’s Sergeant Benjamin,” he said in a soft tone. “That's Chaplain Hobbs.” He hesitated, unsure of how much more to explain.
“Why are they here, Momma?” Kat asked, moving closer to Alycia.
“They came to tell us your father–” she faltered and covered her face with both hands.
“Mom?” Gracelyn’s breath picked up pace, and she jerked her head back to look at the sergeant. “What is it?”
At the tiny nod from Alycia, he took a deep breath. “Come here, honey.”
Grace took a tiny step forward.
“What's your name?” he asked, his deep blue eyes catching hers kindly.
“Gracelyn,” she answered uncertainly. She looked over at her sister. “And that's Kat.”
“Girls, your daddy, Brad was on a plane to come home today.”
The girls both nodded.
Alycia picked her head up. “The plane crashed. Dad–he's with Jesus now,” she managed to say.
They both froze, shock overtaking.
“That's not true!” Kat finally burst out. “My dad’s alive, and he's gonna be home soon!”
With that, she took off toward the stairs.
“Katherine!” Alycia called after her daughter. When a door slammed moments later, the woman put her head back in her hands and shook her head. That's when Gracelyn began shaking with silent tears.
Alycia was still in shock. Chaplain Hobbs put an arm around her, which she didn't shake off this time.
With no one else to comfort the girl, young Sergeant Freed reached a hand out to Grace. She didn't think twice about falling into his arms. The young girl wept miserably into his shoulder, not caring that he was a complete stranger to her. The sergeant, having dealt with situations like this before, didn't say anything, only rubbed her back gently until she'd quieted down some.
“Please, sir.” She finally pulled back from him, her tear-streaked cheeks slightly reddening. “I'm going to check on my sister.”
He nodded. “You do that. We’re going to talk with your mother a little bit more, okay?”
She nodded, rubbed a hand across her face, and trudged up the stairs, a blank look clouding her face. Sergeant Freed watched her go before turning back to Alycia.
“Mrs. Taylor–”
“Why?”
The sergeant looked confused. “Why what, ma’am?”
“Why was my husband on that flight?” she asked. “He called me to say he would be on the later flight, but he didn't say why. How did he end up on a later flight?”
Sergeant Freed cleared his throat. “We were notified by the airline that Brad had his ticket transferred to another soldier, James Lorance, who also lives here in Washington.”
The sergeant and chaplain went on explaining to her the details and what would occur after they left, but Alycia barely heard the words. All she could think about was that soldier–James Lorance.

If it hadn't been for him, Brad would still be alive, she thought bitterly. I'll never forgive James Lorance for this.


*** 

~Livi Jane (Ollie)

7 comments:

  1. wow!! This story is filled with so much emotion and you did such a great job wanting the reader to read more!
    I love your blog by the way, and you definitely have a huge talent for writing! Never stop pursuing it because you never know how God may use it!
    I look forward to reading more of your blog in the near future :) Love your Christmas themed design, by the way!
    -Lauren <3
    lovingourcreator.blogspot.com

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    1. Aww, thank you so much, Lauren! That means a lot! I definitely enjoyed writing it and am thankful for the gift God has given me. :)
      Thanks again! Merry Christmas! :D

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  2. I'll echo that, Wow!. I'm not sure what else to say. I didn't want to stop reading. Please tell me there is more to come!

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    1. Thank you, Rebekah!! Yes, there are two parts to the story remaining; and I definitely appreciate everyone's feedback! Thanks for commenting! ;)

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  3. Noooooo.....Brad died?!?! :'(

    You wrote this soooo well, Livi! I literally have tears in my eyes, cause of all the emotion in here :)

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    1. *Cries* Yes, sadly enough... I wanted to write a story with a lot of emotion. Although it's sad, I'm glad to hear it evoked emotion!
      Thanks, Blessing! :)

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  4. *sobs* THIS STOORYYYY. *grabs for the next part*

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