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Ethel

We’re All Friends Here

Brenzel, speechless, just stared. Presently, Sam’s mom came over and laid her hand on Brenzel’s shoulder, gently, saying, “Thank you, Bren. Sam’s told me how good a friend you are to him, I can tell you really love him, I can see it in your eyes.” Though not as tall as Sam, his mom towered a full head above her.

Bren managed to say, “Thank you, ma’am.”

“Please, call me Ethel. We’re all friends here.” Sam’s mom offered.

From the balcony of her Sanctuary, Dove and 3 observed the scene below. Birds flew past and the Elder Seraph smiled. “She’s magnificent, isn’t she” Dove observed.

“Yes, M’lady, I’ve never seen an Emergent this close before,” 3 replied.

“She reminds me a lot of Whaitiri, she had a similar disposition and beauty,” Dove continued, wings stretching out a little as they shimmered.

Coming back to Earth

Arriving back at the Western Front, their feet touching down on Terra Firma just outside of camp, Doc hugged Bren. As they walked back to her tent, Doc said, “Bren, I hope you are encouraged by meeting Sam and Ethel.”

“I’m starting to get it, I think. I’m just glad to know that Sam’s alright.” Bren replied, adding, “You are right, when you see the bigger picture, it changes your perspective.”

Later that night, kneeling next to her cot while praying, it dawned on Bren that God really did answer Sam’s prayer. His mom was healed and he was with her, just not in the way that she imagined it all happening. Bren, exhausted, managed to finish with, “Yes, Lord, your grace is sufficient, thank you for letting me see that”.

Waking up early in the morning, Bren felt totally refreshed. The feeling that she experienced with Sam and his mom lingered for weeks. Though still in the middle of a war zone, everything felt better. Today, for the first time in a long time, Bren felt hopeful, even optimistic.

Yes

When Doc gingerly brought up tending to Hans again, Bren took a deep breath and said “Yes”. Knowing that Sam was in a better place replaced her grief with an appreciation of how things can be much different than they look. Though she could never trust Hans, Bren accepted that the situation with him might be different than it appeared in the natural realm.

With two guards present, and Hans in shackles, Bren checked his leg wound. During the struggle with Sam, it had torn again and become infected. Bren could tell that he had not been tended to correctly by the other nurses. Cleaning him thoroughly, Bren wrapped him again, giving him a shot of morphine to ease the pain.

Hans, unable to look at Bren, remained silent the whole time. Just before she left, she noticed how the shackles dug into his wrists, causing her to flash back to her own experience in prison. “Loose his shackles,” Bren instructed the MPs “so I can tend to him.”

“No can do, Ma’am, he has to remain bound at all times.”

Do it now soldier, or I will personally speak with Colonel Barns about this mistreatment!” Bren commanded the two men.

Looking at each other, one said, “Stand back Ma’am.” As one pointed his rifle at Hans’ head, the other released his wrists, then stood back and trained his pistol at him, too. “Make a move, Kraut, and it will be your last,” one of them said gruffly.

Too close for comfort

“You should meet her,” Doc encouraged.

“No, not yet, I haven’t figured out how to play this,” 3 said.

Raising her eyebrows, Hatty asked, “What’s wrong dear?”

Sighing just a little, 3 said, “You know, I think I am getting too close to the whole situation and that’s not good.”

“Hon, it’s Bren, how could you not be close to her?” she asked, touching his strong jaw.

Adjusting his jacket, he remarked, “I really don’t like these clothes. I know it’s the fashion of the century and all, but nothing beats a good toga.” Doc smiled as 3 continued, “You know, Hatty, she will not even recognize me when we meet.”

Leaning back into him, Doc asked again “Please dear, help her, she really needs to learn how to control herself.”

3, the one raising his eyebrows this time, said, “That’s an understatement”.

We all miss him

Bren entered the command tent, thinking to herself, “Now what?” She’d been making her rounds that morning when two MPs came to fetch her. Colonel Barns sat facing away from her as Bren did her best to stand at attention. Finally, setting some paperwork aside he said, “At ease, nurse,” and turning around said, “Tough business with Private Harding. He was a good man. Died in the line of duty. I want you to know I’ve recommended a medal of valor.”

“Yes sir, that’s fitting sir,” Bren said.

“I hate to do this, but on Doc’s recommendation, I’ve assigned you to go with the team that is transporting Hans Roar to headquarters. You will see that he gets there in one piece with the medical attention he needs.”

“Yes sir,” Bren said.

“That is all” and, looking after her as she left said, “I am truly sorry. We all miss him.”

“Yes, sir. Thank you again, sir,” Bren replied with a tear in her eye.

A bumpy ride

The next day as the sun rose, Bren climbed into a truck with Hans, two rather mean-looking MPs, and one driver and one soldier upfront. This was the first time Bren had ever sat in one of these horseless wagons, and the noise and smells felt jolting. White knuckles holding on to the rails, Bren found it hard to get used to the speed. Looking out the back of the flap, trees and the occasional farmhouse sped by way too fast for her liking. In fact, after an hour, Bren felt thoroughly sick from the constant rocking motion. Hans, hood over his head, sat motionless and made no sound.

Suddenly, the truck stopped. Gunfire. More shots rang out as the MPs jumped out the back. Silence. Bren, heart pounding, waited. Hans didn’t move. Presently, German soldiers appeared, motioning Bren out with their rifles, while others climbed in to get Hans. Bren, the two MPs, and Hans found themselves kneeling on the ground at gunpoint beside the truck.

Bang, bang you’re dead

The soldiers parted as a smartly dressed officer strode up. As he did, he took out his pistol and shot the two MPs, point blank, in the head, blood and brains splattering against the truck. Taking the hood off of Hans, the man paused, then pointed the gun at Bren.

“Nein, bitte,” Hans said.

The man lifted the gun and said, in very good English, “Why?”

She vas kind to me… Father.”

SEOISB.