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Victory Red: Project

During WWII, will a studious farmgirl risk her heart on an idealistic bomber pilot?

Published March 2017 in Mindgames Anthology by LDS Beta Readers.

     Betty Mendenhall wanted to slump down on the porch steps and cry like a child, but since she graduated with the class of ’43 this morning, she supposed she ought to behave like an adult. She worried her bottom lip as she regarded the home of her childhood best friend. The blue Victorian house looked the same as always, nestled by shade trees planted after the Dust Bowl. The only difference was the sight of bombers training from the Great Bend Army Air Field, one of more than a dozen airfields to crop up in Kansas since the war began. Today she wanted to turn from the sight.

     I could feign illness and skip the graduation dance. Betty wrestled the deserter’s thoughts. She wished she hadn’t overheard the conversation in the drugstore, hadn’t eavesdropped when the minister’s wife whispered with another chinwagger.

     “Don’t breath a word, Cecelia doesn’t know her brother, Joseph . . .”

     “. . . the Allies victory in North Africa?”

     And finally, the burning words, “Seriously injured.”

     Betty swiped away a tear. Why keep the news from Cecelia? Was Joseph’s condition critical? She had to keep the secret now, since it wasn’t her place to share what she overheard about Joseph’s injury. How could she possibly go to a dance when her heart ached?

     A deafening rumble rent the air, scattering her thoughts like a flock of crows. Betty searched the sky and caught sight of a bomber in a steep nosedive, hurtling towards the earth. Her breath hitched, her body froze, but she was riveted to the coming disaster. She had seen hundreds of pilots training since the beginning of the war, but never a crash. Blinded by the sun as the plane fell, Betty squeezed her eyes shut, braced for the impact.

   . . . . .

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