The War "A personal Battle"

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
For Michael McDowell, a former Sergeant of the armed forces, and just having arrived home with an Honorable discharge, war is far from over as he sees it, and is now a personal battle.

Submitted: August 16, 2014

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Submitted: August 16, 2014



The War

“A Personal Battle” 


“Ok Lord,” Sergeant, Michael McDowell prays, “Since you’ve gotten my attention by eating away at my mind as a starving vulture will do, let’s negotiate. You, God almighty, retrieve my legs from Vietnam so I can walk again. If for one day I’ll do whatever you ask of me throughout my living days. What do say, big man?”


“Yea, as I suspected. Leave it to the military recruits to clean up your free-willed madness. Let the armed forces crawl through jungles and dodge sniper bullets. Or stay pinned in trenches for days on end. Sit back to back so we don’t wake lying in the mud during cease fire. Risk lighting a cigarette come a dry spell. In short, let those who don’t die decide, afterwards. Do I live my life in misery, or end it?” 


For Michael, (I’ll refer to him) though discharged from serving in Nam with high regards, war is far from over, and is now a personal battle.


South side of Chicago is of Michael’s choosing. He lives in his one room government-pensioned penthouse. His roach infested dwelling on the first floor is equipped with a concrete wheelchair ramp, a complimentary token of their appreciation.


Michael wheels himself to the porch, every night. The notorious night owls claiming territory is therapy. Whether its gang related street brawls or drive-by shootings, the violence soon ends. He hopes to one day imagine his three years in Nam was no more than an overnight confrontation. One glance at his stubbed legs, though, inclines him to explode…again.


“I fought for territory, too. I protected country,” Mark shouts. “I went to Nam a whole man, but look at me, now. I came back a half a man. Both my legs are gone; taken from me. Go ahead and kill each other. Hell, kill me, too. Put me out of my misery. Please.”


Michael often needs his medication. His trip to the liquor store, this morning, will not be routine as usual. While waiting at the corner, to cross, he witnesses the usual occurrences for a town such as this. Not much different from being at war the way he finds himself in the line of fire. He sat there with no intention whatsoever of taking cover as lead whizzes past him. Death requires more, he is thinking..


Michael laughs at the drive-by shooter’s cowardice tactics. In Nam, shooters shoot and charge opposed to fleeing as they did. He can’t help but to wonder what’s their reason for shooting. It’s a senseless act. What is their purpose? What is their statement? What do they intend to prove?


Michael sees a young and vulnerable boy across the street panicking, in need of protection.. In haste and without paying attention to the cross-light, he wheels himself over the curb and toward the helpless boy. A bullet-spitting Mack-10 is too rapid, though. This entire event happened so fast. Sprawled in a violent death is an innocent bystander. His blood will stain any fond memories those loved one’s have of him.

This brief event brings Michael to a halt. Cars were screeching to a stop. People ducked behind cars begin to emerge. Unfortunate for Michael, an oncoming car strikes him.


Michael now lies in the hospital and fading fast. He relives a moment in Nam during cease fire when a child with explosives tied to him stood over his trench, crying. He jumps in landing on a bayonet intended for him. Without choice, Michael slithered backward to escape the blast. A land-mind he tripped in the event deprived him of both legs.

To learn later the Vietnamese carried duds since troubled him. Forced to take the boy’s life has since been his conscious burden. In addition is the boy across the street he tried saving, but couldn’t. It was a chance to redeem himself, and failed. Michael’s hope to live is exhausted.


A sudden and most heavenly vision comes to view. From within it spoke a deep voice of authority saying unto him, “My son, you put the life of another before your own. I shall spare yours.” Contrary to his first thought, he is being touched, not taken, by his maker.


Michael recovers from his second and near death tragic event with a good bill-of-health; more so in a mental capacity. His unanswered question, “Why me Lord?” had since fallen absent from his mind. During his every waken moment, thereafter, he dared not ask “Why” ever again. Michael had since accepted Christ as his savior.  


Michael exercises a new outlook on life. Not understanding life is considered reasonable to him. He dares to question life in general and accepts life as fair trade for his missing legs. Now on terms with a higher power, he concludes it’s not for him to understand, or, question Gods intention for him. He’s inspired to encourage everyone to understand Gods plans for them as an individual is of good choosing. Regardless of their every trials and tribulations, his decision is with good reason.


“Hello my brethren. Blessed is this day. My name is, Pastor Michael McDowell. I am guilty of questioning our Lord. I’ve since learned that Christ does not provoke personal wars within oneself, I happened to be angry at him for losing my legs. I’m aware now that he isn’t the blame. Our Lord’s plan for his children is with reason and purpose. Those who he wills to live, he promises to not put on them more than they can endure.”


“I praise the Lord for my legs await me at the pearly gates. I’ll be able to walk through and forever live in the promise land. My place of eternal life.  

Let me share with you, my belief. To not question our Lord is to not seek answers. To not seek answers is to not show doubts in Christ. Peace from within is then found. Praise the Lord.”

© Copyright 2019 Dickey Harrold. All rights reserved.

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