Another FFF entry that did well
Wrath of War
Once I had an older brother, before, in the days of peace. Billy had always been effectively ostracised by his fellows, he was thoughtful and studious, they were rough, the sons of miners and farmers and they didn’t understand his gentle nature. When the violence erupted and the young men marched to the recruiting office their voices raised in song, Jerusalem, There’ll Always Be an England and of course God Save the Queen, bouncing from the walls and singing in the rooftops Billy joined the throng and surged with them to a life of uniformity and obedience.
They shipped them out, over the grey surging channel and vomited them onto the foreign beaches to stand or fall, and fall and fall a log jam of bleeding broken bodies, the wounded and the dying littering the sand dunes. He was a survivor they said, for days and days he lived, marched, fought and endured.
At last though it was too much for his gentle nature, and his kindly soul stepped away, out of reality into a place of darkness, a goodnight room where he could dream his dreams and preserve his sanity. When the whistle blew and the call went up he retreated further into his world of knights and dragons, the Lady of the Lake, the Prince of Denmark . When the hordes tore in screaming torrents across the broken landscape my brother Billy watched them leave and blessed their courage but failed to follow. There was no time for understanding in that blood soaked land and so they took him to stand before two men in a room and they weighed his spirit in their unforgiving scales and they found him wanting. They marched him at sunrise into a barrack square they covered his weeping eyes with blackness and they took his life because he had refused to give it.
When the letter came, telling of his cowardice and execution, that was the start of my theological education and that is when I swore that my hand would never lift in anger but I would struggle until the last breath left my body to reclaim his honour and gild his memory with truth.
Once I had an older brother, no coward he, just a gentle soul lost in the wrath of war.