Prompt for May 15, 2016

Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:

Miranda Winslow woke up with a start, her heart pounding so hard in her chest she feared it was going to escape from its bony cage. Her breath came in gasps as her brain struggled to come to grips with what her body was screaming. She turned to her left, expecting to see Jeremy fidgeting in his sleep as he was prone to do, but found just the rumpled sheets next to her. He’d left the bed a while ago. That must be what woke her up.

She got out of bed and as the lights started to automatically brighten she whispered a command to the computer to keep them dim. She grabbed the robe that she had placed on the nearby chair, neatly folded and waiting for her top pick up, and shrugged into it. Leaving the bedroom she walked quietly towards the living room, her robe making a soft swishing sound as the fabric rubbed against itself. There was a dim bluish glow coming from the living room and when she rounded the corner she saw her busband Jeremy sitting on the sofa, watching his tablet display a holographic projection. She had seen this before, his personal war memorial, and knew that he needed her help.

She walked quickly to his side and sat down beside him, her hand reaching out and holding his, willing him to stay with her, to stay grounded in the present. Jeremy had been a surgeon with the military when the Triarc Rebellion had broken out and had been stationed on Stasia in an advisory role. An advisory role that had quickly degenerated into trying to keep hundreds, thousands of people alive when death was raining around them. Like all superstitions, Jeremy had felt that being able to take a picture of his patient was a sign that they were going to survive, or at least do better than under normal circumstances.

So he took pictures. Of all of his patients. By the time the rebellion had died out he had over four thousand pictures. Four thousand memories. Four thousand reminders that mankinds worst enemy was themselves. She recognized the faces that she saw, they were near the end of the list. And then there they were, at the last picture, the picture without a name. A single, beautiful face of a young girl, no more than eighteen when the picture was taken, with a wry smile that seemed to go so well with her bright blue eyes. Jeremy had told her of the others, of his successes and failures, but he had refused to talk to her about this last reminder. This girl who seemed to be the embodiment of his pain.

Jeremy looked at Miranda, his eyes brimming with tears and the expression on his face so sad that it broke her heart just seeing him like this.

“It would have been her birthday today,” he whispered, his voice barely loud enough to be heard. “I told her I would never forget her, never let her be alone. But ..” he paused as he took a shaky breath and ran his hand through his already disheveled hair.

“I need help, Miranda, I need to tell her story, make sure that it is never forgotten. Would you like to hear it?”

Miranda felt her own hers well up with tears as she nodded her head.

“It began, as all good stories begin, with a boy, a girl and a large red ball.”

Post a link to the story in the comments.

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