Excerpt from Enough

Retaking our lives

By Bill Joyce

0
4 min.
22

Chapter 1 - Tears

The slow procession from the hearses to the small painted church under the pecan trees held all in silence. The shuffle of feet on the worn tile floors and the creaking of pews beat out the rhythm of last march of the Benning family.

He stood in the back, not venturing into the church of his boyhood out of respect, not fear. There he looked at the last of the family he knew lined up in dark pine boxes down the center aisle of the church filled with mourners.

One by one the 5 caskets were carried by pallbearers out the side of St. Mary's Catholic Church to the waiting graves. Alice and Charles had taken their three children on the adventure of a lifetime - an eight week spring vacation to the national parks in Wyoming. On the trails of Yellowstone they were beaten and raped and defiled then left as carrion for the wild beasts.

Mary, Jeff and Courtney Benning’s mangled bodies held the vestiges of fear and torment they suffered. The boy found still half tied to a tree amidst the stones used to bludgeon him to death. The two girls and the mother suffered a fate much worse. The father’s shocked expression froze to his face the moment the bullet struck his temple. The mother’s look of anguish was beyond all the soldier could stomach and he retched when he saw the strawberry hair of the little one matted with blood and dirt.

The identification required by law festered in his mind. The cool respite of the ancient church with it scenes of miracles and love could not remove the darkness growing within his mind.

A witness, hidden among bushes on a hill above the trail, described Juan Macias, a known drug trafficker on the Homeland Security watch list.

No arrests had been made and, while the world continued to spin, a soldier stood ramrod straight at the foot of the grave of the littlest Benning. The drizzle and the darkening sky blunted the scene from the highway as the last of the cars pulled out into the night.

He remembered the strawberry haired tot always getting into all kinds of trouble but just too cute to reprimand. He remembered her giggle and her plea for one more story. He remembered the one place he felt at home since the day he left for the service. In the silent night he remembered and he wept.

Sarge, the only name he had used for over 30 years, stood watch that night and the next day. Finally as the sun set again he slowly saluted the place where Courtney lay and turned towards the west. He would let the hill country of Texas hold the graves of loved ones. There they would rest but he would not.

A hatred he had never felt before welled up in his very soul. Not a tool used by soldiers in battle, not a force of nature to be explained away by shrinks, but a powerful instinct to abandon his humanity and seek out revenge. He had had enough.

Shadow Soldiers

Stories by Wrathe W. Aceing

Shadow Soldiers is a series of novellas that explore the world of the mercenary and the challenges they face keeping evil from overrunning society.

They face a moral challenge as the very nature of their job goes against what we consider proper moral behavior. And yet they stand the line and face evil when we cannot.

Come and meet Sarge, Angel, JT, Megs and the others. Read their adventures. You are the judge as to their moral code. If you do judge, you may find that society is the one who has made the shadow soldier necessary and our only outcry should be a blessing for their protection.

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Who will stand the line and protect us from evil? Who will protect the ones who cannot defend themselves? The Shadow Soldier holds back the darkness so that we may live in the light.

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About Bill Joyce

Bill is a writer of prose, a poet in his own mind, and self-proclaimed master of words. Long-windedness is due the personal enjoyment of his inside jokes, most of which fall on deaf ears. He calls himself an Author.

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