John Opperman sat watching the cricket on his new wide screen television when the phone rang. “Yes,” John said in his gruff voice,
“Dad, it’s me Harris,”
“Harris! My boy!” The sternness slipping away, Harris was John's son, he had been serving in the armed forces for 3 years now,
“Dad, I am coming home,” the stress in Harris’s voice was un-mistakable,
“That’s great!” beamed John,
“Dad, I have err... something to tell you,” Harris said,
“Sure, boy, what is it?” John smiled,
“Dad, I have.... told someone he can move in with us,” Harris’s voice faltered,
“Oh son, who is he first,” John said,
“His name is Captain Jacobs, he err.... saved my life,” Harris said, John waited for more of an explanation, Harris continued, “Jacobs and I were flying sensitive documents to a secure location. We were 17 kilometres out when we were struck from behind by a rocket launcher. We both managed to eject out but I landed to far from any cover. I landed in amongst heavy fire, Jacobs had the documents ready and he was supposed to just keep going but he made it over to me and he dragged me through the mine field away from machine guns. He thought he could at least make it through the field if we were careful. But just at the end Jacobs stepped on a land mine and he was blown up. Jacobs lost two legs and an arm, his face is barely recognisable,” John could hear Harris choking up, “Jacobs doesn’t have any family or friends to look after him and the military might charge him because he didn’t follow protocol by coming to get me and they aren’t going to pay his medical bills. So I told him he could stay with us,” John breathed out,
“Harris, I know you want to help your friend and I am forever indebted to Jacobs for saving you but he can’t come and live with us. He will be a burden both finically and emotionally. I am sorry Harris,” John’s voice not faltering once, Harris breathed out,
“I understand dad, it will be for the best” Harris said dismissively, “Other people need the phone and I have to go,”
“Harris, don’t be like this,” John tried to talk but all he heard was the dial tone.
John was awoken the following night by a phone call. “Is this John Opperman?” The fragile voice said,
“Yes,” he said sleepily,
“Mr. Opperman, I am terribly sorry but Harris is dead,” John shot up out of bed,
“What!? That can’t be possible! I was talking to him yesterday, he told me all about how he was coming home,” John said sternly in the phone,
“He shot himself this morning,” the voice quivered,
“Harris would never shot himself,” John barked, “And who are you anyway?”
“I am Captain B.J Jacobs, sir, I was your son’s friend,” Jacobs spoke clearly, “I just want to tell you your son was a hero, he was one of the finest men in the army. He saved my life,” John could barely speak,
“Harris is not dead,” John said pathetically,
“Sir, I am going to show you his body even though it is against military code. Are you by a computer?” John whispered he was as he was rushing towards the computer they kept in the spare room, “Ok, I am going to live stream a satellite feed straight to your computer, it may take a minute,” John stared intently at the screen. Then an image that made John drop the phone came onto the screen.
Harris Opperman lay on the morgue bed with no legs, one arm and a hardly recognisable face.

FOLLOW US was established in 1997, and since then we have successfully completed numerous short story and poetry competitions and publications.
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