It was very dangerous to play in the hills these days, or at least that was what the grown-ups said. Everyone seemed to be afraid of the constant German air raids from occupied France. Richard didn't pay much mind to those concerns though. His family was far from those big cities of London and Birmingham. Oh he had seen a handful of German planes but they never were dropping bombs on his house or in his fields. he had gotten a right good scolding from his mother for being out when that was happening though. It wasn't his fault that the one air raid siren didn't reach him when he was out with his friends!
So who really could stop him if he wanted to play out in the hills? No one, that's who! Not his big sister Molly or anyone else! Besides, it was so lonely out here these days now that so many of the older young boys and girls were put to work. He knew that it was supposed to be good work that they were doing, but it still was sad that his friends had to go away. So for now Richard would play by himself and hope that all the older Children would be safe at home soon. Some of the adults were talking about the Germans coming in the South, but all that seemed so far away.
It was on the crest of a hill that Richard thought he saw something funny below and to the west of him. In a standing oak tree, sitting on a strong branch, there was a man. He dressed like a soldier, but not any type of soldier that Richard recognized from the posters or the market square. Now, his mother and father taught him to never talk to strangers, but Richard was curious all the same. The soldier was sitting in the tree, leaning back easily under the other branches as if he was waiting for something.
If Richard were older and paid more attention to the radio or the adult talk at the dinner table he might've remembered that no soldiers were supposed to be posted to this area of the hills. They were all dedicated to defending more important urban centers from the suspected German naval invasion. Curious as young boys are, and as interested in the new and unexpected as they are wont to be, Richard moved closer to the tree with the strange man. It looked like he had a radio next to him and it sounded like it was playing some sort of jazz music like the ones that the older children liked to dance to.
When Richard got closer he could see the soldier also looked to be young, not that much older than the children that were put to work by the government. Richard got within a stone's throw from the soldier before he was properly noticed, it seemed the young man was listening so intently to the radio as not to notice the boy at first. When the soldier noticed Richard he raised a quirked eyebrow at the young lad before he cleared his throat.
"Good morning," The soldier said with a cheerful voice as if all was right in the world, "It's a lovely day eh?"
Richard had always been taught to be polite at least, and so with his own smile replied.
"Yes it is! Much nicer than the four days of rain earlier!"
In fact it was just the perfect day in the countryside. The skies were clear and bright without so much as a hint of a cloud in the air.
"What are you doing in that oak tree mister?" Richard asked as he tilted his head to the side.
"Me? I'm just waiting for the radio," The soldier cocked his head over to listen to his radio as the music cut out.
"Waiting for what, your favorite song?" Richard began to take a closer look at the soldier's uniform and began to notice just how different it was from the other soldiers.
For one thing the soldier had a funny hat instead of those round helmets the other soldiers had. His uniform was also darker and had a lot more pockets. Yet one thing that stuck out above all was that the flag on his uniform was wrong. His flag was blue with the Union Jack while the normal soldier's was red with the Union Jack.
Richard thought he was forgetting something important but found himself sparked out of thinking when the radio perked up.
"Oh it's starting, listen close lad!" The soldier turned on his side and leaned his ear close to his ham radio.
Richard wasn't in the tree up with the soldier but he found himself moving closer to the tree to get a better listen.
"This is Nicholas Faircrest and you're listening to Royalist Radio. We come to you now with an important announcement. All regular programing has been canceled. In his will, our late King George V stated that this speech was to be played on eve of Operation Reclamation. Today is that day, we are coming home. God Save the King."
The Soldier clambered out of his place in the tree and grabbed his radio. Holding it close to his person. He looked to Richard with another bold smile and then pointed to the next hill over.
"Lad, if you want to see something spectacular, come and follow me!" With that the soldier took off towards the hill.
Richard remembered that from that little hill you could see the coast where a handful of fishermen took in their small catch. Sometimes he would go out to look at the waves when he wasn't playing in the hills. What could be so exciting to see today of all days. Richard's small legs couldn't carry him as fast as the soldier's, but even so he followed up the hill behind him. Richard could hear little snippets of what was being said on the radio.
"We can go home again..."
When they reached the crest of the hill it seemed a small fog was rolling in. A light early morning’s fog that looked like something that would blow away in the next few hours or minutes.
The soldier put down his radio as he kept his eyes towards the sea. A old voice Richard did not recognize continued to speak up.
“We shall fight in the Isles,
We shall fight on the seas and oceans,
We shall fight with growing confidence, and growing strength in the air.
We shall retake our island, whatever the cost may be.”
The fog began to roll away, and from the mist came a vision more fantastical than any storybook Richard had ever known. Cutting through the fog and the blue waters of the Atlantic was a massive armada of ships and landing craft. Flying above them was a flurry of aircraft in beautiful wingtip formations. Richard could not clearly see the flags from this distance, but there were so many and with so much color that he knew a great many nations were assembled here.
“When future generations speak of what we have done here,
they will say, it was our finest hour.”
“Your mum and dad talk much about the old days?” The soldier asked while the ships rolled in with the tide, drawing closer and closer to the beach.
“No Mister,” Richard felt his heart pounding in his chest with excitement, “My uncle used to a lot, before he went away to the city.”
“My mum and da miss my uncle, I miss him too,” Richard confessed as the soldier slung his rifle over his shoulder, “Mister, what’s going on?”
“Citizens of Britannia, no longer shall you suffer the yoke of the syndicalist lie!
No longer, shall you cower in fear”
The soldier reached in his pack and unfolded something out of his bag. It was a flag, a full flag with a simple Union Jack. Bright and bold, the symbol of an Empire, the true symbol of Britannia.
“Hang this on your door, son. Go back to your mum and da, tell them to break out the King’s set of China,” He handed the young boy the flag, “Tell them, the king and your cousins are coming home!”
“Men of Britain - Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.
Your king demands it.
Stand for your freedom, today is the day of reclamation.”
Richard wasn’t sure he understood everything that was going on. But something in his heart felt as though it was leaping with excitement. He began running down the hill back home with his new flag. Above him, planes of a dozen nations flew high and proud. It was impossible to know why, but young Richard knew that he’d remember this day the rest of his life. August 22, 1944. This was the Day of Return, the Day of Reclamation.
Amazing writing as always Jank! I especially like how you are hinting at darker things going on, and the style gives me some parallels to The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas. Always like to see a good Ententewank, beats a boring Syndiewank any day.
Definition from the dictionary of the logical fallacy "Reductio ad Pelley"
The first case is by implying that since Pelley supported a policy, such policy is immoral. Two ideologically opposite examples of the fallacy:
1- Pelley supported a (whites only) welfare state, so all supporters of a welfare state are legionarist and white supremacists;
2- Pelley was a (excomungated) Christian, so all Christians are legionarist and white supremacists.
The second definition of the fallacy is when someone tries to claim that if Pelley supported one policy, the opposite policy is good based only and solely on that. Here two ideologically opposite examples:
1- Pelley hated the Entente, so the Entente is good;
2- Pelley supported isolationism, so diplomatic hawkish against Germany or the Entente is positive.
I remember the hope everyone had when Reed and Long came to negotiate with the president.
Despite all that happened to us, the depression, the riots, we all thought that between these leaders, a compromise could be found.
If the Republicans and Democrats could find common ground, whey couldn't long and reed? they both claim to fight for the common man after all.
Remember seeing that photo of a minuteman sharing a smoke with a red guard militia in the newspaper?
But we were wrong. Dead wrong.
With Long's inability to compromise for all to see, everyone felt like the end is nigh and there is no turning back.
I think that it's a self-fulfilling prophecy, you see the irony? Long being Long, but the people choose to act.
Not just in St. Louis but all across America, in every city, everywhere.