Sunday, February 5, 2012

Chapter Fifty-eight

Lisbon, Portugal

Mike died in my arms. 
The contractor’s bullet must have entered beneath his arm where the gap in his body armor was exposed. 
Angus had punished the van to get us to the safe house.  He called for medical help as he drove. 
It was too late.
His lips frothy, Mike had stared into my eyes as we sped down the streets of Lisbon.  He pulled me close and asked me for one thing.
“Tell her for me, Jake.  Promise me you’ll tell her for me.”
Now I stood over his open grave.
I had received a folded flag with the gratitude of a grateful nation once before.  I was four then.  It was my father’s flag.
Somehow, this was even worse.  Because now I understood the price.
Mike had died for … what?
For me?
I couldn’t accept that someone would do that. 
The honor guard stood abreast of the grave.
“Ready ... Fire!”
I jumped even though I knew it was coming.  Seven rifles sounded as one.
“Ready ... Fire!”
It should have been me!  I didn’t let you …
I could taste the cordite.  Tears streamed down my face.
“Ready ... Fire!”
I stood at attention without realizing I had done so.  Angus had found a piper.  The pipes wailed “Amazing Grace,” a heart-searing sound.
The clouds parted for a moment with a gust of wind.  A solitary beam of sunlight played across the bay beneath the hill – and then passed.
The pipes finished their keen.  We stood in silence.  No one moved.
A slight cough from someone behind me, a shoe scuffled on the gravel.  We remained lost in each our own thoughts.
I promised him I would tell her.  On my word as a Marine I promised him.
The honor guard was a mixed lot:  two Royal Marines; a gunny from the Embassy; Angus; another SAS; a retired Seal Angus knew; and a classmate of Mike’s – a commander off a cruiser swinging at buoy in the harbor.  I had no idea how Angus gathered them all.  Word moves fast. 
Especially when its bad. 
They were striking in their dress uniforms.  Deadly men in splendid array, gathered to honor one of their own – a warrior, a man.
I held his hand and looked him in his eyes as he was going.  He knew he was going. “Tell her, Jake!  Promise me you’ll tell her!”
My shoulders shook.  I had lost much, but Mike had paid the price. 
For... for what?
I looked up and realized I was alone.  The others had walked down the hill.  Rain fell.  Softly at first, then harder.  I stayed.  I stayed and gazed out to sea.
This has to end.
The caretakers had arrived and stood a respectful distance.  They held their shovels and doffed their caps.  
I must end it.
I could not speak their language.  But I did look in their eyes.  They looked back with an earnest quiet and respect.  I reached in my pocket and felt something.  I took it out and looked down at it. It was one of the gold pieces from my old farm. 
I walked over to the older of the two men, reached out for his hand and handed him the piece.  I gestured for him to share it with his companion. He looked at it, then up at me and nodded.  I held his hand for a moment.  Then turned and walked down the hill without looking back.
Always faithful, Brother. 
Rain soaked me to the bone.
Semper fidelis.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. thank you very much Randalsix13

    I hope this story helps bring a smile to you & all that read it


  3. Thanks, Great work. Look forward to reading more. Thank you.

  4. Ajuy, I deeply appreciate your comments and hope you like the rest of this book and future ones (book two already in works)