Private Andrew Malone

Authored by: Sierra

There was a subtle knocking on the door. I opened it, to find the last thing someone would want to find standing at their door. A uniformed solider stood at the door. He was wearing dress blues, and had a letter in his hand.

"Kathryn James?" The soldier asked. I nodded, and then stepped away from the door. Motioning for him to come in, I asked a simple question. "What can I do for you sir?" He watched me for a short moment, the entered. "Ma'am, my name is Private Sanders. I have come to inform you of Private A. Malone." I nodded. "Would you like some coffee?" I asked. He took his hat off, and nodded his head. "No thank you ma'am."

I studied his face, curious to see what he was going to tell me. He tilted his head to the side, and I could tell he couldn't be older that seven-teen or eight-teen. I motioned for him to sit down on the couch. He complied by sitting. "Ma'am, Private Andrew Malone will be coming home shortly." At first I believed this to be a good thing, but then I saw his face. He had a grave look in his eyes. "He will not be coming home the way you're thinking ma'am. Private Malone was shot, and unforchantly, he didn't make it."

I stared at him for a moment. A single tear drop rolled down my face. "Ma'am, I know this is hard news. I tried to save him, the best I could. Ma'am I'm sorry, but I was also shot, and couldn't help him." I looked up the boy. "You mean to tell me you fought with my brother?" He nodded. "Yes ma'am."

I watched him. His eyes tread up, but he did not let a tear roll down his face. "I am sorry. It should have been me to catch that bullet, not him." I shook my head at him. "You should not have. I believe he would have taken that bullet for you or anyone else that day." I replied to him. "No ma'am. That bullet was aimed at me, but he jumped and caught it. He saved my life." I looked at him. "Do you have a place to stay, Private Sanders?" He nodded. "I'm staying in the barracks at Fort McGower" I shook my head no. "I mean a real place to stay, either on your own or with a family." He just watched me. "No ma'am. I don't."

I nodded then looked at him. "I have a spare room upstairs, your welcome to use it." He looked up, with a grateful look in his eyes. "Are you sure? I don't want to be a bother." I looked at him. "Yes, I'm positive." He looked at, and let a few tears fall down his face.

"Thank you, ma'am, "Private Sanders said. "So, do you have a name private?" I asked him. He nodded. "Cash Sanders, ma'am." I shook my head at him, knowing who he was from that moment. My brother and I had grown up with Cash. He had lived next door, and I knew him up until I went to college. When I got back, Andrew had turned eight-teen and joined the army. He was deployed that summer. I had gotten so worried about him, that I had forgotten what Cash looked like. "Well, Cash, it's nice to see you again. You sure have grown up." He nodded his head. "The feelings are mutual, ma'am." I shook my head at him. "We will go get your stuff from the barracks tomorrow." I said. "But for now, welcome home little brother." He nodded, with his eyes tearing up again. "Thank you, ma'am. I sure do appreciate it."

He handed me the letter. "Ma'am, I hate to go, but I have to deliver word of three more soldiers." I nodded. "I understand Cash. Here" I walked to the kitchen and came back with some keys. "I won't be here this afternoon. These keys are for you, as is the money on the counter." He nodded again. "Thank you." I nodded. "You're welcome."

Later that night, as I walked in, I noticed that the house had been vacuumed. "Cash?" I looked around, but didn't find him. I walked up the stairs, and turned. I heard a slight scuffle, and a TV talking. I walked into my room, and found some of Cash's clothes on the bed. I heard water going, and decided that he was taking a shower.

I put my bag down, and then went down the hall. I stopped at the last room on the end of the hall. It wasn't a guest room, but it had been Andrew's room. I walked in, and smiled, knowing he was at peace and that it wouldn't matter what happened to his room now. I smiled anyway, at how boyish the room seemed.

Posters lined the wall, just as he left them. Most of them were simple, saying something about the military or the Army. He had one for what he really wanted to do. "Join the Navy." The poster read. "Discipline, Honor, and Respect" read another, but this one off of a Marine poster. I shook my head and went to sit on the bed. A faded blue comforter was neatly made lay crossed it, and a dark brown blanket from the service was folded neatly at the foot of the bed. I sat down on the bed, shaking my head.

I reached over and took the letter out of my pocket. Opening it, I took his dog tags out of the envelope. I placed the dog tags upon an open letter, and placed them both on the night stand. I shook my head, and placed it into my hands. For the first time that day, the fact that my brother wasn't coming home seeped in. I started weeping, and then burst into tears.