The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

Image created using Microsoft Bing Image Creator. Image courtesy of Fluco Journalism.

My Father’s Son

I stepped out of the automobile, roses in my hand. Rain fell from the clouds in the sky. It fell more like a heavy mist than liquid water. It seemed like it was always raining during the Great War. Part of me wished I hadn’t worn a suit out in the rain, but the rest of me said that discomfort was a small price to pay for respect for the dead.

I walked through the cemetery gate, and as I approached the two tombstones, it all came back to me. The arms of Margarette wrapped around Edward. The blood soaking into the floorboards. The knife in Margarette’s hand with a shred of plaid blue cloth stuck to it. Shaking off the images, I knelt down on the stone and placed a bundle of roses at each tombstone. I bowed my head and closed my eyes. Then I heard someone walk up behind me.

“You’ve grown into a real man, John,” he said. His voice was civilized and he used an accent of which most people here in the U.S. would be untrusting. It was an accent that I hadn’t heard since leaving Germany, the sound of home.

I turned my head and looked at him. He was a half an inch shorter than me, but he still seemed to tower over me. I stood up. “And you’ve grown real old,” I told my father.

“I see one thing hasn’t changed,” he replied with a sigh.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

“I’m trying to be a good father.”

“Then that makes two things that haven’t changed,” I say as I walked back to the automobile. My father followed me. “You chose the German army over your own son. What were you thinking?”

“I was fighting for my home. That includes you,” he argued. “Look, all I want is to have a drink with my son.”

“I don’t drink,” I responded as it began to rain harder.

“What are you, a neanderthal?”

“I’m a good husband,” I snapped at him, jerking my head around. My father paused for a moment, looking into my eyes.

“I’m sorry…” he started,“…but you have to move on.” I got in the automobile and shut the door. He opened the other door and got in. “You need to learn to lock these things,” he said. “You lock your house, right?”

“Why are you really here?” I asked, avoiding eye contact.

My father paused for a moment. “I’m here to help you. I heard you’ve been having a hard time since that day. I know you, and I know you don’t take these things well.”

I sighed and focused on driving for a moment. “We can get something to eat if you really want to. Margarette knew a lot of good places around here. Most of them are closed because of you and your allies, but I know of one good place that’s still open.”

“That would be nice,” he responded. We sat in silence for the ride, but I preferred it that way. I didn’t want to know where our conversation would’ve gone otherwise. We arrived at Dave’s Restaurant, a cheap but quaint diner in the middle of town. The seats were torn, the tables were greasy, and the floors were dirty. I knew my father wouldn’t approve of it, but he stayed silent. We picked our seats and the waitress took our drink orders. At the entrance, the sheriff walked in. My father and I stared at him until he ordered something from the bar. Then we looked back at each other.

“Tell me. If you were so concerned about me, then why did you only come here now?” I asked him.

“I can’t answer that,” he responded. “Not in here.”

“Right. Sorry.” I noticed my father looking behind me. I turned my head slightly to see the sheriff standing there.

“This must be your father,” the sheriff said before looking at my father. “Your son is a good man. You should be very proud.” My father simply smiled.

“He…doesn’t speak English,” I told the sheriff.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” the sheriff responded. “I didn’t know. Where is he from?”

“I…Italy,” I lied. He looked back at my father.

Ho detto che tuo figlio è un brav’uomo,” the sheriff repeated. I felt my heart sink.

G-gratzie,” my father whimpered.

The sheriff looked back at me. “Not the most talkative fellow, is he?”

“He has always been…awkward,” I told him.

“Fair enough,” the sheriff said. “Well, you two have a nice meal. It’s good to see you again, John.”

“The feeling’s mutual,” I responded. The sheriff didn’t walk away.

“Your father’s scar,” the sheriff pointed out. “How did he get it?”

“Scar?” I asked.

“On his neck,” the sheriff clarified. My father turned white as I studied the scar. “It looks like a knife wound,” the sheriff said. It was then that I noticed the plaid blue button-up shirt he was wearing under his coat. Right where the scar was, his shirt was torn slightly. “I’m sorry,” the sheriff continued, “I probably shouldn’t have said anything. I’m sure he doesn’t want to talk about it. Anyway, like I said, you two have a nice lunch.” He walked away. I was left in shock. 

My father and I sat in silence for a moment. “Why did you do it?” I asked him, holding back tears.

“I didn’t know who they were,” he explained.  “We were supposed to invade the area. I was just following orders. I’m sure you can understand.” 

I sat for a moment longer, then grabbed my knife, lept across the table, and thrust it into the scar on his neck. He wrapped his hands around my neck, trying to save himself. Blood ran down my hand and soaked my sleeve as I pushed through the flesh in his neck, tearing it open. His hands dropped to the sides of his chair.

“Put your hands up!” the sheriff yelled in horror. I did as he asked and threw the knife onto the floor.

Turns out I wasn’t such a good man after all. 


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  • A

    Anita BurdineNov 20, 2023 at 12:40 PM

    Great job, Hunter! I can’t wait to be at your first book signing =)

  • M

    Melanie AllenNov 20, 2023 at 10:21 AM

    This was Awesome! It leaves me wanting more! Possible novel in the making?? Very Expressive. I could feel the intensity and darkness. Give me more!

  • G

    GramsNov 17, 2023 at 11:17 AM

    Quite a surprise ending ? great job!