This is the current story I am writing it in three parts. This is part one I just finished writing, It's likely to be edited and re-drafted at different points. Also I'm open for constructive criticism if you don't like it don't comment unless it is giving me tips on how to improve it.
My punctuation and grammar isn't perfect and I may have spelling errors but I can't help being dyslexic.
So here it is.
All Forbidden in Love and War
I ran through the woods, waving my gun around and making firing noises with my mouth, Albert ran out behind a tree he yelled “Freeze”; I stopped in my tracks my gun pointing at him I shouted “Never” and piled the imaginary bullets from my mouth into him. Albert fell to the floor laughing, I ran and jumped on top of him. We both lay on the ground laughing.
“What time is it, Al?” I said, turning my head to the side, “No idea.” he replied. As the bell rang for 8 o’clock, Albert shot up shouting
“We’re late for school”. We both ran down the hill so fast and ran into the school playground; a stern stare from Mrs Burton told us we were both in trouble.
We formed a line and entered the class room we all waited for Mrs Burton to tell us to be seated. “Everyone be seated apart from Albert Morton and Charles Frith”; I looked at Albert, gulped and lowered my head, we both knew what was coming.
“Albert Morton, Why were you late for school this morning?” I watched him take a deep breath and say; “We… erm… Charlie and I were walking in the woods and we lost track of time, Mrs Burton.” She tapped her foot and scowled as she turned her head to me; “Is this true Charles?”; I nodded as her voice seem to echo around the room “Speak up Mister Frith, I cannot hear you”
“Yes, Mrs Burton” I turned crimson with guilt and embarrassment,
“Well then boys, Charles come here” I walked up to her desk, she picked up the cane resting against the wall and told me to hold my hand out. The five quick slaps on my hand from the cane, brought enough pain to make my eyes water and the pains to shoot across my hand. I turned around and walked back to my seat with the classes eyes focused on me until the cane slap Albert’s hand.
School finished and we ran back home. Albert lived in the house next to me, we’ve been friends since we were tots, Grandmother used to say. I’m older than Albert just by two months. We were both fourteen and most the boys in school had started looking at the girls but me and Albert hadn’t, something between us sparked and I remember the first time we realised.
We were play fighting in the field behind the church when things first happened, Albert had pinned me down and was on top of me when I began to feel strangely aroused, Albert let go of my arms from the position I was in but didn’t move. I was hoping he would as my arousal was becoming more prominent. I pushed myself up on my hands and looked at Albert, he had begun to flush a dark pink colour, I began to panic, had he noticed that I was aroused? I became flustered and as I was about to push him off me he leaned forwards and kissed me.
I knew this was wrong, this was a sin, but something inside was telling me it was right and I began to kiss back. After the embrace we both quickly got up and in silence walked towards the orchard. My mouth felt dry, I couldn’t concentrate, thousands of thoughts were flooding my mind. I blurted out
“Albert… This didn’t happen. Nobody can know. If anyone finds out we are going to be in so much trouble.” Albert looked at me, laughed and said
“I know, but it felt right? I mean I felt it Charlie not just the feelings.” He pointed at my crotch “First time?” I felt my face burn up and stuttered
“N…No.” We both laughed, Albert put his arm round my shoulder. I stopped and looked at him. “This could work Albert. We can just be quiet about it. We always go off together, fishing, swimming, you know. We just wait until were alone.” Albert smiled and looked at me
“Sure but Charlie…” He paused with a grin on his face. I replied back to him
“Get rid of your damn excitement” I panicked
“How… I usually just sort of well you know… when it happens” He replied
“Think about Asquith Squiffy naked” I frowned at him but it worked. Albert punched me in the arm and ran towards the orchard, scaled the wall and threw and apple at me. The kiss was not mentioned again.
Over the coming year we fooled around in the woods and in fields until we left school, we went to start work, I became a blacksmith like Grandfather, my Father was a Corporal in the Border Regiment. Albert’s father was Postman which led to him following his father’s footsteps. With us both working it was harder for us to get time alone with our Mother’s talking to us about finding nice sweethearts mentioning just about all the girls in the village, we both began feeling the pressure. We’d see each other 3 times a week in our alone time, we’d tell our parents we were going out hunting for pheasants and partridges, just for us to get time alone. Even then it was hard because George Fisher kept asking if he could join us, I don’t think George ever realised about Albert and myself but we were in love. Just like sweethearts. We still are.
My sixteenth the birthday came in the spring of 1914 with talks of Britain going to war I was uneasy. Things had been rough with Father assuming I was becoming a disgrace to family for not showing enough enthusiasm as a blacksmith. I remember fitting a horseshoe on June 28th 1914 when war first broke out, my Father called the post office phone of which I was called to speak to him, he told me; “Charles we are at war. I have transferred to the Machine Gun Corps and I will be posted in France. Tell your Mother I love her and will see her soon. Tell Ernie to be ready to be called up. Take care of the family son. Farewell.” With that he put down the phone and in honesty I don’t think we saw him until February 1915. He never spoke of what he was doing in the war but he looked different sort of uneasy and quiet, my father was an old man compared to the young soldiers he was fighting with. Little did we know we’d never see him again.
I turned seventeen in the April of 1915 and my mother had a small gathering of all our friends and invited the Reverend’s daughter Hannah Curtis and The Mounsey twins in hope I’d fall in love with one of them. In the July, Albert’s Mother did the same thing with no prevail. Albert and I had promised ourselves to each other until the day we die.
It must have been late afternoon when I was reading the newspaper when there was a knock at the door, I assumed it was Albert and shot to my feet to answer it, there at my door was Harry Birch, he was a tall, thin boy of 21 and was friends with my oldest brother Ernest who had just left for war after my birthday in May 1915 to join the frontline along side my Father in the Machine Gun Corps. He smiled weakly at me and handed me a telegram. My heart began to pound as I shouted for my Mother. Her head peered around the door of the kitchen and she said
“What is it Charlie?” I took a big gulp and replied shakily
“A telegram, Ma” She turned pale and told me to bring it to her. I watched her tear open the envelope and read the contents, she clutched the table and burst into tears. I walked over to her and sat her down and took the telegram from my Mother‘s hands. I read it and shouted for my Grandfather. I told him to look after my Mother and ran out the house, I hammered on Albert’s door, his Mother’s bewildered face appeared; “Mrs Morton, please is Albert home?” I spoke with a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. She looked at my hand and saw the telegram, her reaction was similar to my Mother’s as her face drained from all colour
“Charlie, he is still on his round, as soon as he is home I’ll send him over.” I looked at her and cried
“No. I need to be alone. Please. Take this and please sit with my Mother and Grandfather.” Mrs Morton nodded and took the telegram, pulled her door shut and walked into my home. I walked towards the church and climbed the steps to the gate. I walked to my Grandmother’s grave. I fell to my knees as I cried to her headstone; “Dad is dead. He was killed in action on the 13th August. They said he died a hero. What am I to do Nan? Ernie is still out there. He is exactly where Dad was when he died.” I sat by her grave for hours trying to think what to do. I stood up and entered the church and prayed to God that Ernie was safe and could he please return him to my mother safe. I stayed sitting in the church.
Later, Albert came in, he sat beside me and put his arm around my back; “Hey Charlie, how are you doing?” I turned my head to look at him, as the tear fell from my face he told me;
“Mother told me what happened, I’m sorry…” I stopped him
“Can we go for a walk?” He nodded as we both stood up and walked towards the gate, we walked for hours just in silence, I had no words and I don’t think Albert knew what to say, My father was always strict but he was a kind man like a second father to Albert. We walked towards a clearing in the woods and I stopped. Albert looked at me and I stared forwards I opened my mouth; “I first came hunting here with my Dad. I was 11.” I smiled and put my arm around Albert, I felt his strong grip clutch me closer to him. I rested my head on his shoulder. He leaned his head into mine, turned his mouth to my forehead and kissed me softly; “Charlie you should go home and be with you Mother, she needs you right now” I nodded, turned and walked towards our homes.
I walked through the door my Mother rose from her chair and walked over to me, she wrapped her arms around me sobbing into my chest, I held her tightly. We stood like that for a while then asked her; “Should I make a cup of tea?” Mother nodded and sat back down. That night I tossed and turned in my bed unable to sleep, I had thoughts swimming through my mind about Albert, Father, Ernie. I knew I’d be eighteen soon, if it’s not over I surely can’t sign up. I can’t leave my Mother. Can I?
The rest of the year past with a few letters from Ernie, he had heard about Father and told us he died peacefully I somewhat didn’t believe him. Can you die peacefully in a war? Albert’s brother George left to go war, one by one our school friends followed, Reverend Curtis signed up as a Chaplin, Doctor Lawler joined the Army Medical Corps. My Mother was getting anxious as my eighteenth drew closer. Someone in the village was posting white feathers through the letterboxes of those not signed up. Even Harry Birch got one even though he is delivering telegrams. I got one also, I’m not even old enough to sign up. I’m scared to leave my Mother. Everyday people are dying but I need to make my Father proud. I am a coward, I’m scared to die, but maybe hiding isn’t the answer. I decided to make a decision and went to see Albert. I knocked on his door told him I’m off to the pub if he wanted to join me. Albert arrived shortly after me and I said to him; “It’s nearly my eighteenth birthday as you know, I got a white feather through my door. Albert I can’t be seen as a coward, even though I think I am one. I need to do this for my Father as well. I am going to sign up.” Albert took a drink from his pint and looked at me long and hard
“Charlie wait… Please wait until I’m eighteen too. We’ll sign up together. Join the Border’s. Please Charlie we’ve been together this long we can go to war and come out together. Let us not end.” With that pact we shook hands.
We walked home together taking the long way back, we stopped behind village hall and shared an embrace. We walked back to our homes and counted down the days.
April soon arrived and my birthday came, Mother cooked me breakfast and sat with me at the table, she asked what I planned to do. War was still going on and the talk of the white feather still passing. I told her sternly;
“Mother don’t be angry, I’m going to war but not until June. I’m signing up with Albert and George Fisher. Were going to join the Border’s. I’m doing it for Dad.” My Mother nodded and understood. I stood up to go to work and kissed her on the cheek. I felt the wet tear from her face upon my cheek and wiped away the tear slowly falling from my own. George turned eighteen on the last day of May which meant four days until Albert came of age also. We had decided to sign up on the 6th. We were training for a month and one week when we were called up as replacements in the French Region of Somme.
As large explosion suddenly burst few hundred metres down the line and I became aware of where I was. I was not reliving my childhood any more. I was a soldier. In a trench. This is July 1916. Welcome to France.