It's been awhile since I revealed any Missing Since Tuesday excerpts, so, I thought, in light of being called an "emerging author" over at Clancy Tucker's blog, I would post a little something. I've been writing like a crazy person lately, it's been fabulous! So let me know what you think :) Constructive criticism welcomed :)
The twilight hours in the Brandon home were usually Thomas’ favourite time of day. His six children and his wife were tucked away safe in bed and he enjoyed the company of a slow burning pipe, watching the smoke swirl peacefully towards the ceiling while the radio murmured quietly beside him.
But this night was one he would remember for the rest of his days. As he sat frozen, as if glued to his chair, the smoke burned his eyes and the rumble of the radio pounded in his ears.
Deputy Prime Minister Peter Fraser’s words rang in his head, and he replayed them over and over, hoping there was something he had missed, or that the words had not been said at all.
“This is not an occasion for many words; it is a dark day in the history of the world... It is with deep regret and sadness that I make this announcement on behalf of the government, and the people will receive it with similar feelings. That will not, however, affect the determination of both government and people to play their part.”
The words were vague, and Thomas knew there would be more in the coming days, but they had been said, and he knew that New Zealand would inevitably be at war again soon. He thought of Arthur in the next room, sleeping soundly, unaware of what would be required of him in the coming months, possibly years, and he felt the unrelenting hand of war squeeze his heart tight.
War had been a natural part of most people’s lives since the Great War began in 1914, and as Thomas stared blankly ahead, he did not see the breadth of the battered dining table, the well-used chairs, the modest bookcase. Instead, the homely objects were replaced by a stretch of land, barren save endless lines of barbed wire, and the smoke turned to the dust, kicked up by his comrades who ran in front of him and fell like flies. Cannon shells ripped the ground to shreds and bullets popped sporadically, ripping through bodies, peppering the dust with blood. Thomas’ hand went automatically to the scar on his shoulder, where a bullet had passed through him just under the collarbone, ripping through muscle and searing flesh.
He rubbed his thumb over the lumpy scar tissue and thought of his eldest son; his fit, healthy, young son who would soon be sent to his own battle field.