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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Death · #1351951
Death in Vietnam and a promise made
The Clay Stained Letter

Alan dumped the contents of a shoebox on his bed; catching a marble before it rolled over the edge. He knew hoarding was a fault, but some things were meant to be saved, touched and treasured. The cat’s-eye; a treasure from childhood, still gleamed as brightly as the day he had found it. Useless ball point pens, paperclips and a handful of Vietnamese coins along with an old wheat penny spilled out across the quilt. It’s funny; the things he saved, tossed into a shoebox and forgotten.

Neatly folded three times, at the bottom of the box, a sheet of lined notebook paper rested. It was a letter written many years ago. Forbidding a lump to form in his throat; Alan carefully unfolded the brittle yellowed paper and with cloudy eyes began to read and remember.

Dearest Rosie

My days are filled with horror, but it won’t be long and I will be coming home. I dream of the day I can, once again, hold you…

Alan stopped reading as he ran a finger over the clay stains; still clinging to the paper after 39 years. The words vanished behind his tears as he recalled that terrible day during the Tet Offensive.

On a remote hillside in Vietnam he held his dying friend close to him.

“Make sure Rosie gets my letter, Alan and tell her I loved her,” Bryan whispered as he gasped for air.

“Damn you…don’t die on me. MEDIC…MEDIC,” Alan screamed.

“Promise me, Alan. Go to her…”

“I will buddy…don’t die, please don’t die.”

He had tried to fulfill his promise and deliver the letter to Rosie, but just days before his arrival in the small town in western Nebraska, she had been killed in a traffic accident when a drunk driver ignored a stop sign.

word count:299

prompt: Write about a character who finds and sifts through a box of memorabilia.

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