The Music Be The Food flash fiction event continues with round four. This time, the song is one of my all-time favorite American hymns, “The Road Home”, by Stephen Paulus. This particular take on the piece of music is performed by Conspirare and the lovely soloist, Melissa Givens.
Give a listen to the tune and then read the next flash fiction piece, by Chad A. Clark.
William crested the hill and looked down into the lush green valley below. Not much further now, his goal nearly in sight. His road nearly there.
He reached for the handle of his blade, forgetting again that it wasn’t there. It had slipped from his grasp long ago. Not that he needed it. His war was over and all that mattered was his return here.
His return home.
All through the darkness of battles fought, he clung to his dreams and of this road that would finally lead him home. Through the wind and rain that always seemed to rage overhead and bear witness to the lives he took, he still heard the voice calling.
He heard her voice calling.
And now that his duties were done he was returning home. To the wife and children who had been his beacons in hell. He stumbled, perhaps from the realization that he was so close.
The copse of cherry trees was upon him and he knew he was there. Just on the other side, he would be able to finally lay eyes on the home he had not seen in years.
It looked as if he had never left. Smoke wafted up from the chimney and clothes fluttered on the line. He blinked and tried to focus through his fatigue.
She was walking to the house when inexplicably, she turned and saw him. The look of recognition on her face was like setting his chest ablaze in the purest form of joy. She glanced over her shoulder and called out, likely not wanting to take her eyes off him in case he disappeared.
With a cacophony of cries from within, his three children emerged, screaming and running for him.
They had all survived.
William felt his own tears rising as he dropped to his knees. The joy on those faces was what he had wanted. What he had needed. It was the final reward for the road hard won.
The last road before he rose up.
He felt his consciousness slipping, the wound in his side no longer even causing pain. The blood soaked into his tunic had been well concealed by his cloak, so much that they hadn’t seen it yet. No matter. They would soon enough.
Vaguely, he wished he could have held out for one last embrace, but he knew it was important to be grateful for what had been given. This last look would send him on in happiness. Would send him on in peace. What had once been gone from sight and so far away was now here for him to behold, one final time.
William’s eyes dropped shut and he drifted off into darkness, this time brilliantly illuminated by light.
Read more from Chad A. Clark on his Facebook Author Page.