This story is by Michael Onuorah and was part of our 2020 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Love and War: A Short Story inspired by the Isolation Season
Hey Michael, how is it going? Dad asked.
Is that the best you can do, my dad muttered?
I am sorry I sound that way, it’s just that being isolated causes me to feel depressed.
Dad, this is the most depressing time of my life.
Why so? Dad asked.
Because I am stuck indoors, I can’t go out, I don’t go out. Groceries are delivered to my doorstep. I only take out trash and I go back in and I am so scared to touch anything.
Son, let’s put this into perspective. You are isolated. Everyone is isolated. But you are alive, that’s what counts.
But you can do something about it, My Dad quipped.
What can I do about it?
Do you remember when you were 8 and were having nightmares?
Yes I do Dad. You told me to open a window in my heart and peer deep into my heart’s desire, and if what I truly desired were good and positive, that the nightmares will vanish.
Did it work for you then?
Yes Dad, it worked perfectly well, the nightmares went away.
So do you trust me when I say that we can help you make the word isolation become a positive word?
Yes Dad. How may we begin?
We will begin by mentioning the word, Isolation.
You will begin with a negative response and a pause.
And when I say open, you will open the window to your heart and peer deep into your heart, and you can choose to either re-live something that you successfully completed in the past or something that you want to accomplish in the future.
Now, I am excited.
Bring it on Dad.
Ok, let’s begin, my Dad muttered.
Isolation. One word that I dislike and don’t wish for anyone that I know, I screamed.
Now, Open your heart and peer deep into your heart, and think into your future.
And as I closed my eyes and opened the window to peer into my heart, I faded away into the Future and all I could hear was:
We wish to honor Lt. Michael for your excellence, bravery and display of skills on the battlefield.
Your bravery to go above and beyond has earned you the bronze star medal, which is for your heroic achievement and meritorious service in the combat zone of …
I heard a loud knock and I realized that it was all a dream, but the knocking continued loudly on my door.
Who is there?
It is I, Major Peters.
What do you want?
I can’t scream it out. It’s a matter of national security.
Maybe my dream might just come true, if I deliver on this mission, I thought.
Please sir, what’s going on?
The major responds: Officers, we are at war. This time, the war isn’t external. It is within.
We have a traitor amongst us and he is divulging intelligence information to foreign intelligence.
So, why don’t you send the Military Police to pick the person up?
I am disturbing you, because you know that person very well and you call him Father.
I said to him: Major, don’t you dare talk like that about my father.
General Charles was like a father to me, he taught me everything I knew about life in the military and life outside the walls of being a soldier.
That’s why we ask that you, a very close member of the general’s family be the one to embark on this mission.
I would never betray my father.
So would you rather betray your own nation?
No Major Patterson, I am a patriot. I yelled.
Then do what patriots do?
Serve their nation and get an award for it.
Great, then please do this, all we ask is this: Get into the general’s study, and switch the SIM in his Ipad with this sim.
This is so hard, but why me?
I made up my mind to go and have a heart to heart talk with my father with a hope of getting answers.
I called General Charles and asked if I could come to see him at 8pm, that there was a very critical issue that I wanted us to discuss.
General Charles was very pleased to meet with me and he excitedly told me that he was looking forward to the meetup and that he would tell his wife to prepare my favorite dish.
I thanked him and started preparing for my meeting. At 6:30pm, Major Patterson arrived at my apartment, gave me the sim and gave me a radio device to wear.
At this point, I resisted wearing the radio device.
I am no snitch, Major Patterson.
It’s for your own good. Trust me this is the best insurance that you will ever need at a time like this. I am your friend and I am acting in your best interest.
My best interest indeed. I muttered.
If you were working in my best interest, why did you let General Charles give out matters of National Intelligence to Foreign Intelligence?
Lieutenant Michael, are we really having this conversation?
I am running out of time and the only option left, if you fail, is that I bring in MPs who will come into your father’s house and create a scene, arrest him, seize all devices in his house and ruin a stellar career of 40+ years.
I would rather we do this in peace and see if what he is doing is in the best interest of this country. And if it is, we will work with him and make you and him a hero.
We got to the General’s house at 7:50PM, debriefed for 5 minutes and at 7:59PM, I knocked on General Charles’ door.
The door was opened by the most beautiful lady that I have ever set my eyes on.
Hi, I am Lieutenant Michael.
Oh come off it Michael. It’s me Rose.
Oh my goodness, Rose, you look so cute now and very beautiful.
Enough of the serenading words, I don’t date officers.
And why is that so?
Because Rose said, they are always at war with themselves, their wives and their country.
I couldn’t agree more rosy. But please consider the fact that I am an officer, a fine young man and a gentleman.
Hmmm! Rose muttered.
She took a good look at me, and said: You don’t give up at all do you?
If this makes you happy, I would like to let you know that I have now put you in consideration, but you are number five on the list and you would have General Charles, my mum and two well-groomed officer brothers to contend with.
I went on my knee and I said, the honor will be mine to accept.
Who is been honored? The general’s voice boomed into the room.
I immediately stood up and I apologized to the general as he gave me a big hug and asked me to come to the dinner table.
At the dinner table, I couldn’t take my eyes off Rose, even the general and his wife couldn’t help but notice that we kept talking about our childhood fantasies.
After dinner, the general happily led me to his study.
As we settled into the study, the general started a discussion on Transaction Cost Economics, he mused about how everything came at a cost.
As he went on and on, he made a statement that gave me leverage to fire back with a question: He said that every man has a price, we just need to sell the right value at every point in time.
I saw my opportunity and I took it: General, is that why you have decided to sell our country’s intelligence data to foreign intelligence for a fee?
Excuse me? The general muttered.
Who told you that? The general responded with a grin on his face.
You don’t understand how the general responded. All the correspondences that I have ever shared with foreign intelligence are economic theories that I developed during my online PhD program which I am doing with Walden University.
So why didn’t you tell the military that you are doing a PhD program?
At that point, I picked up my phone to call Major Patterson.
Who are you calling? Don’t make that phone call, the general muttered.
Hello Major Patterson, It’s me Lieutenant Michael, I told you that he was innocent and I have proven it to you.
As Major Patterson dropped the call, the next thing I heard was a huge sound of bottle smashing, and the general screaming no, it turns out that Rose had just smashed an empty bottle of champagne on my head for snitching on her father.
I blacked out and the only thing that I remember is waking up this morning with a pounding headache.