The warm inviting smell of roasting pig wafted through the air, tantalizing the nose and making the mouth salivate in anticipation. Felix Perce licked his lips and pushed forward for the last time towards his little cottage. It was small, but it was home.
Trees shaded him and seemed to split apart to herald his approach. It was pleasant and cool under the shade, unlike the terribly hot and feculent conditions on the front. Felix shivered at the thought. But no, the war was over.
With a broad smile on his face and shivering in excitement, Felix threw open the door.
"I'm home," he called out in glee.
His wife, his beautiful, beautiful Ana looked up from where she had been bent over and working in the kitchen.
Ana rushed to greet him, throwing herself into her arms and kissing him and hugging him vivaciously. Felix had stayed chaste all those nights on the front, no matter how often he had been tempted his thoughts strayed back here. The woman he loved, the most beautiful woman in the world. How he had ached to be back here.
He tried subtly to slip his tongue into her mouth, but she pushed it back out with her own. He tried again, and again she stopped him. She broke their embrace for a moment.
"Not, now, love," she whispered, "The children are here," then she called out loudly, "Children, your father is home from the war!"
There was the rushing of little feet down the steps and four whirlwinds of energy burst into the room. Felix's two boys and two girls came charging at him. He bent down and took all four of them in one strong hug.
"Father! Father! Father's home!" they were all saying.
"Madre de Dios," he exclaimed, "You little ones are so much bigger now. I can hardly believe it."
"You've been away a long time, Felix," Ana reminded him, "And I almost forgot, your parents came here to see you the moment they heard you were coming home."
Felix quickly ran through the house and found his parents, both tired and weak with age, in the living room. His father was dozing in a chair and his mother was gently rocking and watching the television.
"Felix?" his mother exclaimed, "My little Felix?"
"It is I, mother."
"Oh, how we missed you, my little boy. But we knew Brazil needed you."
Felix's father was up by now. He grabbed his son's hand in a warm paternal handshake.
"Welcome home, my boy," he said, then finally broke down and hugged him stiffly.
"I knew you'd be home today, I just knew it," Felix's mother was going on, "I told Ana, 'Ana, my Felix will come home today. We should kill one of the pigs and cook it, just do he can have a good warm meal.' And we did. Did you eat well enough on the front."
"Oh, we hardly ate at all," Felix said with a grin, "And I'm famished."
"Well, then, let's stop talking and go eat," said his father gruffly.
They walked into the dining room, where the children were already washed and seated. Ana set out one extra place for Felix. There was a sumptuous feast laid out, a roasted pig at the center of it.
Suddenly, Felix's oldest boy opened up and yelled out, "Perce!"
Felix was taken aback. It was not his son's voice. It did sound familiar, but...
This time Ana and his parents had joined in.
"Perce! Perce! Perce! Perce!"
The images of his home began to swirl away into a rainbow of colors.
"No, stop, come back!" he called out.
And that voice kept on chanting out, "Perce! Perce! Perce!"
"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov
Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."
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