So, here's a little flash-fiction piece that I thought I'd share, hope you enjoy it! (And if you want to take a second to enter my pay-it-forward giveaway, stop by here.)
Sometimes our greatest adversary is yourself.
The envelope sat on the table for two days before she worked up the courage to open it. She already knew what it would say. The lawyer had called her a week ago, but seeing it in print would somehow make it real. Make her brother’s death final. If she didn’t read it, maybe the lawyer had been mistaken.
Finally, with a mug of tea and bring sunlight filtering through the window, she sat down to read. The envelope was fat, carrying the documents and other items her brother had left behind before he set off for the insane mission that claimed his life. Hadn’t her parents done them the ultimate favor of escaping that forsaken country? Gotten them someplace safe where they could actually live their lives? What had possessed her brother to go back?
The papers inside were dense with type and difficult to understand. Someone had flagged where she had to sign with little red arrow stickers. Her brother had left nothing behind—everything went toward his mission of helping others. Not that she was seeking anything from him. She’d made a successful life for herself, just like her parents wanted.
What she wasn’t expecting was the letter. It was sealed and taped closed, thick and when she opened it, photos accompanied the plain white paper lined with her brother’s script. Tears stung her eyes at seeing his handwriting. It matched her father’s almost exactly.
She studied the photos first. People she vaguely remembered, with features familiar because they resembled her own. Her brother had labeled each with names and dates. These were her flesh and blood. Left behind to face what they had to in the war.
The letter was an explanation. Words she’d heard from her brother’s lips many times. Now she studied them, attempting to understand, to see it from his point of view.
The final page was a list. Names, two columns, with ages in parentheses after them. At the bottom was a town name—she recognized it as the place where she’s been born.
“Don’t let what I’ve done stop. Don’t let these people disappear like so many others have. You can do it. You know you can.”
Her brother always had more faith in her than she did.
It took a week for a plan to settle in her mind, solidify. She spoke to people. Friends of her brother, experts in the region’s politics. Those family members who also escaped. Some encouraged, some expressed their concerns. Hadn’t she lost enough with her brother gone?
But when she purchased the tickets, she knew what she had to do. A detailed list of plans was pinned to the wall next to her computer. A newly minted non-profit paperwork sat in a neat pile at her elbow. She knew what she had to do. Finally, she understood what her brother had been trying to tell her.