Apologies for the delay in posting the final instalment of my short story The Invasion, between working a lot and finishing and re writing the end of the story, it has taken a bit longer than expected. For those of you who have been reading the story as I post it, it might be worth re reading part six as I’ve made a few changes and added a few important bits and pieces that will ensure the end makes sense. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading The Invasion, who knows, I might even post another short story at some stage in the near future.
The Invasion – the end of my short story
On the appointed day everything was in place. Ben and the men from the valley were all in position. Thanks to Carl’s cooperation, they had invaluable information regarding the valley’s ammunition and weapon numbers and they were just waiting for their old signal from Tom, whom he hoped had received his message and followed out his instructions.
Marla was nearby, she always seemed to be these days, ever since she’d found out about him and his involvement and leadership of the resistance in the previous invasion of their valley. He had been a young man then but he remembered it all too clearly and when he had heard her full name the preceding day, he had no doubt that she was the daughter of Johann Berlitz, the mastermind of the last invasion, everything was starting to make sense and fall into place. However, that fact in itself required extra caution but it was too late to warn Tom, they just had to hope it all went according to plan.
Finally, it felt like hours but it must only have been a few minutes, he heard an owl hooting nearby, loud and long. They had come up with the signal during the previous invasion. The valley had no owls, no one knew why, but those not from the valley were unaware of this fact, so it was a perfect signal. Nodding to the men at his side and across the clearing, he drew in a deep breath and stepped forward.
Tom lowered his hands as the signal echoed and slowly faded away. All the valleys men and able bodied fighting people stood in silence and waited. Mat, very aware of his dad’s loaded gun in his hand, looked behind him. He was unable to see anyone but he knew their men were out there, spread out and hidden in the thick undergrowth and trees surrounding the clearing. Elayne was back there somewhere too, she had not been happy about being denied permission to remain in the frontline, however, her mother and Mat had both insisted that she stay well back and out of danger.
Tom had briefed all the ‘new recruits,’ as they had been dubbed, on what to expect and their roles in the upcoming altercation. The minutes following the signal seemed to drag by and the silence was deafening but when the first shot was finally heard it was all action. The next few minutes were complete mayhem with men running everywhere and everything happening very quickly.
Mat raced forward as instructed with the rest of the men towards the clearing where his dad had given the map co-ordinates for in the note. Cresting the hill they were met with a sight; the camp, large and very well organised in its layout, was a full blown combat zone, with a few bodies already littering the ground. Luckily Ben had told them that the men on their side would be wearing red armbands, otherwise it would have been impossible to identify one man from another as they were all dressed in the same black outfit from head to toe.
The invaders were taken aback by the wave of men cresting the hill emitting battle cries as they joined in the fight. As the men continued to spill over the hill they began to realise that they were outnumbered and a panic began to ensue among the invaders.
Perspiration running down his face Ben eagerly searched the newly arrived men. His gaze passed over Tom, whom he acknowledged with a nod, and continued on until he found who he was looking for, Mat. His son had grown into a man in the three years since he had last seen him; he hardly recognised the tall, handsome youth. Breaking away from the main fighting, Ben loped eagerly towards his son. Just before he reached him he saw Marla sprinting past him towards Mat. Cursing Ben sped up, but suddenly time seemed to slow as he saw Marla draw her weapon aiming directly at Mat. The shot deafened him and he shouted at his son to get down. Mat instinctively threw himself on the ground as the bullet grazed his leg and blood gushed from the wound.
Without thinking Ben raised his loaded gun and aimed for Marla, shooting her from behind straight through the heart. As she fell, Mat raised his head and saw his dad standing there gun elevated. He tried to get up but his wounded leg stopped him from standing and he collapsed on the ground moaning. Running to him Ben gently lifted his son up.
All around them the fighting continued, but it was obvious that the men from the valley were winning and slowly the sound of shots being fired slowed and finally stopped. All that could be heard was the moaning of wounded men and the shouting of the victors. The helicopter had been made immobile by the men from the valley, making escape for the invaders near impossible. Those not involved in the fighting were beginning to emerge from the forest, among them Elayne who made a beeline for Mat and his father, who had been joined by Carl and Tom and a number of other men from the valley all clapping Ben on the back and smiling. They had done it; stopped the invasion before their valley was attacked, and aside from a few casualties, they had all their men as well as a few wounded prisoners to take in for questioning.
It felt like a second cycle had come to an end; Ben had killed Johann Berlitz in the first invasion, Marla, following in her father’s footsteps had returned to finish what her father had started and to seek revenge for his death. However, once again the valley and its inhabitants had emerged victorious. They had proven once again that, despite meticulous planning and organisation, the invaders could not win. With Marla’s death the immediate Berlitz family had ended and Ben hoped that now the cycle had truly been broken once and for all. Despite the bandage around his leg, his son’s deathly white face looked beautiful to Ben as he cradled him in his arms, he smiled down at Mat who could not take his eyes from his father.
“You’ll be alright son,” he said his voice gruff with emotion. “I’ll have you home in no time and you can have as much time to rest as you need. You did me proud son, real proud.” And with that he reached an arm around Elayne’s shoulder, squeezing it gently as he smiled down at her, nodding to Carl and Tom who stood nearby, the five of them slowly headed back towards Mat’s family home.