We’ve reached the final section of Comrade! Thank you so much people, for hanging in there and giving me so much encouraging words as I’ve published this. I hope you enjoy this final instalment. I’ll be handing out tissues and hankies at the end for all who need them.
“You are here on charges of treason…”
Simeon held his head high. He did not flinch as the long list of his charges were read out. He wore civilian clothes, but he held himself with a military bearing, shoulders back, eyes front, heels together. Two guards stood on either side of him.
Nurse Carter and Dr Roberts testified against him, though he saw tears on Nurse Carter’s cheeks. And regret in the doctor’s eyes. He glanced once at them, recognised them, and did not look at them again.
“Benjamin Simeon, are you or are you not, guilty of these charges?”
His voice was clear and strong when he answered, though he heard his own voice through a fog. “I am guilty as charged.”
“Benjamin Simeon has pleaded guilty to all charges laid against him. The punishment for treasonous action is death.”
Simeon marched out of his trial, his shoulders still back, eyes front and heels together.
His head still held high.
Twenty years passed before I saw England again. We were on the eve of another War, following in the wake of the War to End All Wars, but I found my way into the country, holding the hand of my wife and daughter.
At the military hospital, I found Dr Roberts—an older, greyer Dr Roberts—still working tirelessly at the bedsides of broken soldiers. Still attempting to heal the hurts wreaked two decades ago.
He told me two things: One, that Elaine Carter had moved on once the war was over and most of the soldiers had been brought home. She had become a regular nurse and had served faithfully until an ex-captain had swept her off her feet and proposed to her. Dr Roberts had not seen her in nearly as many years as I had, but he thought he’d heard that she now had several children and was happy.
The second thing he told me made my heart heavy. Benjamin Simeon, he said, had been put on trial for treason, and sentenced to death. He had gone to his execution with his head held high, refusing a blindfold and looking death in the face with a courage that few had ever seen. The chaplain had prayed for him, Simeon had prayed for himself, and then it had all been over.
I cried as Dr Roberts told me this. All I could think of was his simple words…I owed you fellows one.
But he hadn’t, I had told him that. He hadn’t owed me anything. He had given his life for me simply because he cared. He had cared in a world that had lost the ability to care. He’d had compassion, courage and…hope.
Whatever that suffragette had thought, he was no coward.
He did nothing to earn that white feather.
So how was that? Have a hanky. Would you like to see another serial in the future? Longer or shorter than this? Who was your favourite character? Have I convinced you to be slightly more proud of your old works?