This short story has a special place in my heart because it was a challenge to write. I was invited by the anthology’s two editors, and as much as I adore fairy tales and study them for fun, I couldn’t think of one to adapt. Finally, Rona, three days before the deadline, messaged me, “Hans Christian Anderson’s ‘Steadfast Tin Soldier. Go!'” and I did it… It’s also the first short story where I had that writer’s moment of curling up in the coffee shop while working on a scene with tears pouring down my face saying, “I swear, it’s the scene! I’m fine–I promise!” Feel free to guess which scene that was.
by Trisha J. Wooldridge
I only got here and our camp’s on light discipline, which means that a shambler horde is close. Most of us can’t sleep and are up writing and sharing these tiny LED headlamps.
Dave’s company is at this camp, too. We saw each other at mess, and he looked like crap. Worse when he saw me. No one told him I’d been drafted. He never expected it with my bum leg. He said no one was talking about the front lines, but if they drafted someone like me, things must be really bad.
I told him I was here for more… political reasons. I don’t want him doing something stupid to your dad when we get back because he would. He didn’t think it was possible they could mess with medical records or pay off enough people to get me drafted, but here I am. Both of us are worried about Mom. You’re still checking in on her, right? Are you able to without causing any problems with your dad? I really hope so. Give her our love. She must be a wreck.
I know your performance is coming up, and I wish I were watching you dance rather than being here. But, I don’t regret our kiss. No matter what your dad thinks he can do, I’ll return to you for another. Thinking of that and thinking I am maybe keeping these horrors from getting to you, help me get through.
Peter (Continue Reading…)