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Fiction- Stories, Myths and Legends. REWARD FOR THE FALLEN. FULL STORY.


A Field of Honor.
The man found himself on a dirt road.  How he came to be there was a mystery, for he could not remember the circumstances of his arrival.  In fact, he had no recollection of anything in the past.  All around him was an alien landscape and heavy foliage lined the path that stretched into the distance.

"What is going on?", he said to himself, "Why am I here?"  The man decided that perhaps the answer lay at the end of the trail, so he began to walk.

After a short time, a shape emerged before him, seemingly out of nowhere.  The man was startled, but regained his composure quickly.  Looking the newcomer over, the man was puzzled.  The figure was dressed in a shabby manner, wearing a worn out buckskin shirt and pants and carrying an antiquated flintlock rifle.

The man wanted to speak to this new arrival, but never had the chance.  With a cursory glance, the one blocking his way said in a plain gruff voice; "You are on the right path, continue."  On that note, the individual stepped back into the overgrowth and disappeared.

"Strange," said the man, "an obvious eccentric."  So he continued on his way.

A short time later the man found his path once again blocked by an individual that appeared suddenly and without warning.  This time the intruder was dressed in a blue tunic, with matching blue trousers that had a yellow stripe running down the side of each leg.

Again, the man was given a quick once over, and then was addressed in an accent he couldn't identify;  "Ah, not a Son of Erin, but you'll do.  You're on the right path, continue."  As before, the way was made clear by the departure of this most recent interloper.

The man was confused.  "What is going on," he thought, "why am I here, and who are they that seem to pass judgment on whether or not to allow me to continue my journey?"
End of PT 1.


Wwii, Memorial, Quote, Monument, War

The man shook his head in bewilderment and continued on his quest to find the end of the trail.

However, things began to get more confusing.  Now his journey was often interrupted by individuals who spoke in languages he could not identify.  Almost as strange was the array of clothing that outfitted some of those who blocked his path.  

Often they were quite colorful and very extravagant.  Yet, at other times they seemed quite simple, often consisting of a plain tunic or robe.  Attire on the head and feet also represented both ends of the spectrum. It could be a helmet or cap accompanied with boots, or bare-headed with sandals.

It was not just the clothes that became more varied.  Individuals came in all sizes with many different skin colors being represented.  From time to time the newcomer was a woman, who treated him with identical solemnness.

The man was becoming extremely frustrated, but that only seemed to strengthen his resolve to complete the journey.  There were a couple of more things that lifted his spirits.  He knew, inexplicably, that each person was dressed in some type of uniform.  Additionally, that they all were evaluating him and the judgment was universally positive, whether or not he understood the words spoken.  It was the tone of voice that came through loud and clear.
End of PT 2.

Heroism comes in many forms.
After what seemed to be an eternity, the man came upon a gate that crossed the path.  There was no way around, for the vegetation off the road seemed impenetrable.

As he gasped in frustration, he became aware of an approaching figure on the other side.  While this individual was dressed in now familiar clothes, his manner and look were different.  To the man, he appeared to be in his early twenties, but his wide open smile set him apart from recent contacts.

"Hello Tony," the new arrival said, leaning against the gate.  "I guess you're wondering what the heck is going on."

The man looked intently at his counterpart and whispered out loud, "George Mellen, you were killed in a firefight outside of...," then he suddenly stopped, memories flooding back.

"Yeah, said his host, "I was killed in that tiny village, the one command considered vital to securing the region.  Caught one in the throat.  Wrong place, wrong time," he chuckled.

The man looked into the face of this lost comrade, and suddenly noticed that they were not alone.  Figures appeared from the trees that lay beyond the gated fence.  They were represented by every manner of dress he had already encountered, and some still unfamiliar.  The man was scared, but pride refused to let it be known to  others.

"Tony, your home." His benefactor said, opening the gate.  The man hesitated crossing the threshold, and asked, "Am I dead, is this Heaven?"

"You're dead, that much is sure," George replied, "in time you'll recall the circumstances.  Is this Heaven? Let's just say it is an outpost on the edge of forever.  Just a place for men and women like you and me to rest, exchange stories and prepare for what comes next."

As he passed through the gate, Tony became aware of the beauty of his new surroundings, and a feeling of peace and serenity settled over him.  Suddenly, he understood.  Turning to his companion he asked, "Is this just for us, no one else. Why?"

George gave him a slight smile, and as others gathered around them to offer welcome to the new arrival, answered; "I guess someone figured that those of us who gave all it was possible to give, and lost our lives with such brutality, deserved a special place where our sacrifice was acknowledged and appreciated.  I never expected such a place would exist, but our kind never asked for much in return.  Maybe that is why it's here, because we earned something we would never have asked for."


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