The Mourning After

The Mourning After

A Story by Arctic Fox

I have been working on this one for a while.....not that you could tell with it being so short, but here is a little Suspense for you.


                It seems appropriate that when the sun rises; it sheds light and we call it morning. The light from that accusing eye in the sky illuminates all the filth, evil, and sickening atrocities committed in the darkness that engulfed the world just breaths before. The sun comes up and we’re left with disgust, hatred, numbness, despair, and mourning.


The courtroom is filled with both military dress uniforms and civilian suits.  If justice prevailed there will be no solace.  If the system failed there will still be no solace.  A young man sits at the stand.  He turned nineteen three days ago.  His hair is neatly brush, but not by his own hand.  His eyes are red and puffy.  His uniform was newly pressed.  His ribbons and badges are in neat, clean rows.

            “Private First Class James, I need you to focus.  Tell me everything that happened.  Tell me everything you saw.  Tell me what they looked like.  Did they seem afraid of you,” The prosecutor asks.  He absentmindedly brushes a piece of lint from his black suit sleeve.

            “They had lights inside their eyes,” James says.

            “What do you mean,” the prosecutor asks.

            “I could see the flash in their eyes,” James replies.

            “From the explosion, James?”


            The prosecutor addresses the jury, but Pfc. James doesn’t listen.  James is vaguely aware of someone calling his name. “James.  Pfc. James.  Focus on me, please.  Continue telling us what happened.”

            “They were kids I once knew.  The younger one, Kevin used to follow me to town. I used to date Lily.  At night I still feel like I’m holding her.  I didn’t know.  The church was supposed to be empty.  I didn’t know.  It was too late when I noticed them. I tried to stop it! You don’t believe me!”

            “I do believe you, James.  We just want to know what happened,” the prosecutor says.

            “I can tell you, but you won’t believe me.  You say you do, but you don’t deceive me.  You’re going to pin this on me, and I’m going to be killed for it, but it’s ok.  I want to die,” tears slowly roll down his cheeks.

            “Pfc. James.  Tell me what happened ,” the prosecutor asks again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Three Months Earlier ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            “Do you think there really is going to be a riot,” Kevin asked. 

He was sitting on the front steps of the city gym with his friends Tyler, Lily, Adam, and Vanessa.  Kevin was just thirteen.  Vanessa was fourteen.  Tyler and Adam were fifteen, and Lily was sixteen.   Kevin was freckled kid with messy red hair.  Tyler had a scar running across his knee from a car accident, but still loved to play basketball.  Adam wore glasses and always had a smile ready.  Vanessa had a love for art and made all her own clothing.  It was uncommon for her to wear vibrant, sometimes patchwork clothes.  Lily was a quite girl with bright, blue eyes.

            “Who knows man.  These World Liberation Front guys seem legit.  I don’t think they’re bluffing,” Tyler replied. 

            “Ok, I understand the economy sucks and the world is kind of falling in around itself, but inducing riots around the world for change isn’t helping anything,” Adam said.

            “If anything it’s costing us even more money.”  The group turned around to see a young man in a soldier’s uniform.  His dark hair was cut close.  He would have looked intimidating if it wasn’t for his smile and playful eyes.  Lily jumped up and gave him a hug.

            “Luke!”  Everyone crowded around him all speaking at once.

            “Whoa now.  I came to borrow Lily.  I’ll catch up with you guys soon. I promise,” Luke replied.  He took Lily’s hand and they walked towards the park.

            “Lily.  I’ve been thinking that since I’m back from training and you are almost out of high school…”

            “In two years,” Lily interjected.

            “Yeah, well I was thinking that this summer when things have settled down, maybe we could start dating again.  It gives you time to finish up the school year, and then you’ll only have a year left.  It also gives me time to settle back in,” Luke said to her and they walked across the bridge next to the duck pond.

            “You know I’ll wait for you.  I waited while you were in training hoping that one day you’d ask me out again,” she replied.  Their feet seemed to stop at the same time.  Luke leaned his head down and kissed her.  A high pitched squeal brought him up again.

            “Vanessa,” Lily screamed.  Vanessa and the boys stepped out from their various hiding spots. 

            “That was so sweet,” Vanessa said.

            “You go dude,” Tyler cheered.

            “Get out of here runts,” Luke said, half annoyed and half amused.

            “It’s a public park, soldier boy,” Vanessa replied.  All at once there was noise everywhere and the ground shook violently.  Smoke billowed from within the city.

            “Go home, now.  Don’t leave.  GO!” Luke screamed.  He ran to his car.  As the engine started his cell phone rang, “Pfc. James.  Roger that. I’m already en route, Sergeant.”

            Luke’s heart pounded in his chest as he sped toward the armory.  When he pulled into the gate the Unit was in a flurry.  He quickly grabbed his rucksack and Kevlar helmet and made his way to his platoon. 

            “Good, you’re the last one James.  Alright men, those psychos from the WLF made good.  I want to quickly thank you for response time.  When we put you guys on standby last night, we didn’t really expect we’d have to go out, but the governor has issued martial law.  If it’s not in uniform and holds a weapon it is an enemy combatant.  Civilians are being told to stay in their homes, but an evacuation may or may not be ordered.  It’s going to be messy.  Let’s go get ‘em Bulldogs,” Sergeant Williams yelled.

            “Awoo! Awoo!” the men of Bravo Company, 2nd Platoon replied.

            Hours later Pfc. Lucas James sat with his back against a wall taking a much need deep breath.  His face was cover in dirt and soot.  He had fired his weapon several times, but refused think on it.

            “Ok bulldogs.  Radio transmission suck as usual, but I finally got our next objective.  We have a WLF stronghold on a church on fourth street.  We’re to take it out,” Sgt. Williams told them.

            “Fourth street?  Well that’s a stupid place to hole up,” one of the soldiers says.

            “Yeah well, I’m not too fond of blowing up a church, but I’m not an officer.  It’s not ours to ask why, but to do and die,” Sgt. Williams replied.

            “Yeah, well I’m not too fond of doing and dying, but I’ll do,” another soldier said.  The soldiers laugh and get up.

            Thirty minutes later James low crawled away from the church.  He gave the nod and turned towards the building.  In the moments between his nod and the explosion his eyes remained locked Kevin’s, he saw very briefly Vanessa, Adam, Tyler, and the back of a blonde head; which had to have been Lily’s.

            “Command, the church on Fourth has been neutralized, over,” Sgt. Williams called over the radio.

“Fourth.  Sergeant your objective was a church on First, over.”  The platoon grew silent.   

Luke’s screams didn’t subside until his voice gave way.  It was weeks before he could talk and weeks more before he would.  His own birthday came and went and he didn’t even notice.


“The jury finds Pfc. Lucas Henry James not guilty for murder.”

Luke walked silently from the courtroom.  No one talked to him.  He was still labeled.  His hands had still placed the charges.  His JAG officer walked him out.  Outside the doors of the courtroom Luke’s eyes found a familiar set of blue eyes.

“I told you I would wait,” she said with tears rolling down her eyes.  Luke sank to his knees.  He sobbed as she held him.

            “I’m so sorry Lily. I killed them.  I’m so sorry. I’m sorry.”

            “Shhhhh.  It’s ok Luke.  You didn’t know.  I don’t blame you. I love you.

            Together they sit in the middle of a courtroom lobby, crying. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Next Day~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The next day Lily and Luke visit the graves and families of their friends.  Luke would never have made it without Lily’s soothing words and her hand holding his.   Kevin’s parent’s slam the door in Luke’s face. 

“It’s alright Luke, they’re just in pain.  In time I know they will forgive you,” Lily tells him.  They make their way to Adam’s house.  Adam’s parent had attended the trial. 

“I know it was not your fault son.  I know you meant a lot to Adam.  You would never have done that if you had known.  I forgive you, Lucas.  Its ok son,” Adam’s father says.  Lily and Luke say goodbye and take a cab to Tyler’s.

Tyler’s mother and father says the same soothing words as Adam’s father and Lily.  They give him Tyler’s basketball.  Luke hugs it till they leave.  Finally they arrive at Vanessa’s house.  Luke can see where Vanessa got her tastes from when Vanessa’s mother opens the door.  There are no words.  She just busts into tears and hugs Luke.

Their last stop is takes them outside the city to a military prison facility.  The soldiers of Luke’s platoon sit in the room along with several other members of their company.  Lily waits outside with the other civilians.

“Any last words Sergeant Joseph Maurice Williams?”

“Men. It has been an honor and a privilege to be your platoon sergeant.  We messed up out there.  I guess I’m the lucky one.  I pay for all of ours sin, but you have to live with it the rest of your lives.  Stay strong men.  Stay strong for those people we killed.  Stay strong.”  Luke stays till Sgt. Williams is pronounced dead.  Luke leaves the room and finds Lily.  She takes his hand and leads him to the cab and away from that night.

© 2012 Arctic Fox

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This was an amazing read. A short and simple story full with emotion. My only complain would be about the explosion event. I isn't very clear where were the kids at the moment of the explosion, it is only deducted afterwards. But maybe that was exactly the point, so if that is the case, congratulations.

Thanks for a good read!

Posted 3 Years Ago

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1 Review
Added on May 16, 2012
Last Updated on May 16, 2012


Arctic Fox
Arctic Fox


I am the youngest of three. I was born in 1991. I love to read, write, and help others. Want to know more, just ask. I will answer any question no matter what it is with a 100% honest answer. more..