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Publisher & Category:
River Walk Journal

EXCERPT: Deep musty, musky, oily crayons, and noisy, scratchy colored lines scrawled across paper, and heavy black lined pictures filled with swirls of colour... The squeak of scissors, the crunchy cutting of thick construction paper, and the heady school-like scent of thick white glue... Tiny, unsure fingers grasping thin, paper wrapped orange, black, yellow, green, white and red crayons as squinted eyes and a tongue stuck between baby lips aided intense concentration...

“For me?” The childish voice asked as little hands grasped the sweet smelling box of new crayons offered by old calloused fingers...

* * * *

His rough fingers opened a box of new crayons and he closed his eyes as he inhaled the clean scent of innocent memories. From the small combat pack next to his M-4 Carbine, an upgraded M-16 with a shorter barrel and telescoping buttstock, he drew a leather bound sketchbook, flipped it open, and smiled as he saw childish words scrawled on the inside front cover.

“We miss you daddy. Angel, Lewis,” and a tiny ink-black fingerprint next to “Matthew.” He tenderly touched the names, imagining small fingers scribbling the words on the paper that he touched.

The sketchbook and crayons wrapped in yellow ribbon and paper, arrived before the last mission. Their meaning still puzzled him.

Major Jeremy Gray chose blue, his favorite colour, and drew wide swirls across the first page with the thin crayon, and filled the loops with brown, yellow and green. Blue reminded him of the freedom of the sky, while brown, yellow, and green represented the warmth of the Earth that so often eluded him as he grew older.

He no longer stuck his tongue out of the corner of his mouth with concentration, preferring the smoky cigarette that now dangled from his lips.

Jeremy’s brown eyes squinted within a lined face beneath a narrow shock of sandy coloured hair that ran from the top of his forehead to the back of his neck, his head otherwise being completely shaved. The haircut was a recognition of his Mohawk heritage through his grandmother, though he knew little else of those warriors who once fought in the forests of the northeast. He was of medium height and husky with broad shoulders.

He was known for his leadership and combat abilities and the contrasts of being quick tempered and unflappable…

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