Winner of Grade 11 and 12 Fiction
Pavlo had been a soldier continuously fighting for the sole purpose of valour and earning the finest and last medal of courage. He had suddenly been bombarded in the trenches, and this is how he had been pronounced dead. Before his death, he was amongst his comrades who silently despised him for his bravery and consistent persistence to fight the ongoing war; they all wanted to return home, safe and sound. Except him; Pavlo had never found true meaning all his life due to constant movement from foster home to foster home and never had met his real parents. He had no guidance in life except for in war, as this is what brought him satisfaction. Harsh routine, camaraderie and fighting for a cause were the factors that ended up bringing him to his knees after a frenzied attack on the German front against the French army.
As the soldiers raided Pavlo’s belongings prior to his burial, they found nothing but efficient weapons and sufficient food supplies. They searched and searched for anything meaningful to potentially send home to his initial foster shelter, and finally saw a gleam of silver light shine through his camouflaged armor. They picked it up, briefly analysing it but not thinking much of it, and proceeded to throw it into his pile of belongings. In reality, this silver-plated locket was Pavlo’s most prized possession; he withheld this in the pocket closest to his heart due to its symbolic meaning; it had belonged to the only person who had believed in him since the start. Engraved on the locket was a woman’s initials; “Lily” it said, in Old English capital letters. It had gotten quite rusty due to its age, but in Pavlo’s eyes, it was a timeless item.
Lily was the daughter to the parents’ he had been sent to, his third foster home to be exact. The foster home he left when he was drafted to war. The locker belonged to her; she wore it around her neck everyday, and it was a valuable piece that had been passed to her by her grandmother, however she insisted for Pavlo to keep it.
Due to the insensitivity he was consistently used to, the constant rejection and feeling of eternal emptiness, it felt as if she had finally been life’s gift to him. She had been the only person he had ever felt a deep sentiment of warmness in his heart for; he was close to telling her he loved her, only to be announced the drafting shortly after admitting to his profound feelings. Lily cared about him, she truly did; she had learned everything about him, however she was disgusted by the war; she disagreed with the politics of it, the morals, the principals and everything. She assumed everyone that was drafted had gone voluntarily and not by obligation. When he was drafted, she insisted he could run away. That they could leave together. Pavlo, however, admired the concept of war. The bravery, the valour you could obtain from participating in such intense battle.
As the soldiers scavenged through his bunk, a letter tucked into the pillow cover, crumpled up, was found. One of the soldiers, known as Jim, read it aloud, in a stern voice.
I haven’t heard from you, even if you had sworn to write me every day. Maybe my letters haven’t gotten to you.
I tell the kids about you all the time. Charles and I are getting married and we wanted you to come when this is all over. I made sure it would take place when you get back from the German fronts.
Charles’s bank says they can get you out of this early. Please write to me, if you get this.
I still think about you every breathing moment.
The letter strongly smelt of amber and lavender fragrance. Perhaps this is why he tucked it into his bedding; for remembrance.
Perhaps it was fear of his own feelings, his own humanity which caused him to join the war so eagerly; to run away from his potential destiny with Lily. Perhaps it was just to have purpose.
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