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Song of Remembrance

Song of Remembrance
by Cathy Fisher


Rating: G
Warnings: none
Comments: I said I would never write a Vietnam era story, but I was wrong. <sigh> This was written in response to my Christmas Song challenge. It is a little obscure, but I'm hoping people will be able to get it. Enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own the guys, make no money off them, and do not claim to be an expert on Vietnam or prison camps.

Song of Remembrance

Murdock was singing again, his soothing baritone voice drifting softly on the cool evening air. BA shifted into a sitting position, wincing as the rough bamboo bars rubbed a sensitive spot on his back, sore after repeated beatings.

Across the small enclosure, the shadowy form of his commander stirred and turned over, the icy blue eyes opening briefly to meet his before closing once more. Hannibal was taking advantage of the unusual quiet in the camp to get some rest, but the colonel was like a cat. Even in sleep, he was aware of what was going on around him, ready to wake the instant one of his men needed him. BA wasn't sure how Hannibal could take the strain of keeping them united and hopeful under these circumstances, but the colonel showed no signs of breaking.

BA's eyes slid over to the bamboo cage near them where the voice of the pilot echoed in the night silence. Murdock was curled up in the far corner, his eyes closed and his head tilted back as he sang. Face was leaning against the bamboo walls nearest BA's cage, his eyes closed, the usual tense expression relaxed into a smile as he listened to the two grunts in the cell with him arguing. BA cocked his head to hear what they were saying and found himself smiling as well.

"No, man, it's gotta be turkey. You just can't have Christmas without turkey and all the fixings," corporal Jimmy Marks was saying.

His companion gave a snort of laughter. "Turkey is for Thanksgiving. Who wants to have Turkey for two holidays in a row, 'specially if they are so close together. I'll take my mama's honey roasted ham over turkey any Christmas."

There was a silence for a few moments, and BA heard his stomach growl. He'd give almost anything to taste his mama's home baked turkey and pumpkin pie. His family had always been poor, but his mama had made sure Christmas dinner was always an elaborate affair, big enough to share with the neighbors who had no family.

His missed his mama so much it ached more fiercely than any of the injuries inflicted by the VC. He wondered what she was thinking right now, this Christmas Eve. She had to have heard by now that her son was MIA. He hoped she wasn't worrying too much.

He smiled slightly as he allowed himself to remember Christmas' past. He could see his mama clearly in his mind, bent over the oven in the small kitchen, baking cookies, pies and other goodies for the people in her building. The smell of baking made his mouth water.

The warmth of the oven helped to ward off the cold outside as a blizzard raged, cloaking the city with a white blanket. He loved snow, and he couldn't wait until the storm subsided. He would go outside and make snowmen out of the mounds of snow created by the snowplows.

For now, though, he contented himself with eating popcorn and staring at the tiny Christmas tree so heavy with ornaments that it threatened to topple under the weight. Any moment now, his mama would come from the kitchen with a plate full of warm cookies. They would turn off the lights and sing Christmas carols in the light of the Christmas tree until the clock hit midnight, and Christmas Day had officially begun.

The sounds of Silent Night shifted into a different song, a melody BA was not familiar with, and his thoughts were pulled back into the present. The song was sad but comforting at the same time, and even Corporal Marks and his companion ceased arguing about the virtues of garlands over popcorn for decorating trees to listen to Murdock's song.

Singing was Murdock's gift to the rest of the camp. The VC had been extra cruel to the captain because of his rank and status as a pilot, and the prolonged imprisonment and mistreatment was beginning to show in Murdock's eyes. He would sometimes shift out of reality and refuse to acknowledge anyone or anything around him for several hours at a time. But, no matter how bad things got, the pilot always found a song to fit the occasion and cheer everyone up. He had even taught the camp cook various trail songs. Early this evening, he had begun singing Christmas carols, his songs reminding the rest of them of life beyond the prison camp as well as helping to relieve the tension of spending the holiday in a place like this.

BA settled once more onto his side on the dirt floor, thankful that the warmer dry season kept the cages from being intolerable. His eyes drifted shut as he allowed Murdock's song to relax him and draw him back into his memories of his mama and Christmas at home.


The End

 


Song Of Remembrance by Cathy Fisher

 

 


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