Maybe I’m too harsh on Erik. I’m not sure that I could do what he does. Take the battle, for instance. He mapped out a strategy by piecing together bits of intel. He’s able to do that because he devoted his life to studying battle strategies. Erik never asked for this--it was thrown at him when my father was killed. I know that Erik would do everything the same if he had to do it over again, because that’s the type of person he is; he stands up when no one else will. But I can’t help wondering if he wishes that he could have a normal life, if there is such a thing anymore. Does he regret not having his own family? Does he miss spending time with me and Vince?
Watching him now, I know he’s happy. He frowns as he throws out the black contents of a frying pan and starts to make sandwiches instead. He is a meticulous sandwich maker, from the way he spreads the mayonnaise to how he cuts the bread diagonally—just the way I like it. Next he pours milk and chocolate syrup into two tall glass, something he hasn't done since I was little.
That’s when it hits me. Erik may be my cousin, but he’s the best father I’ve ever had.


A sour mix of sweaty men and cologne burn my nose when I push open the barracks door. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve smelled it—this is one smell you never get used to. I walk down a long hall lined with doors on either side. Each room has three bunks beds in it; to wash, the men have to share the bathroom at the end of the hall. For once, I’m glad that I can live in my own home—no matter how empty it is. At the end of the hall is a stairway leading to the second floor. My feet don’t make a sound on the cold concrete, but I feel like I’m disturbing the quiet atmosphere.
The second and third floors are laid out exactly like the first floor. Only the second floor is important to me. I pass one, two, three doors then stop at the fourth and knock. Seth’s groggy face appears in the small crack that he opens.
“It’s way too early in the morning for visitors,” he says before shutting the door again.
I fold my arms and count to three. Right on time, I think as Seth opens the door. This time, he looks like he has been awake for hours. He steps aside and motions for me to come in. The room is a mess, with clothes and who knows what else thrown everywhere. It seems too small a space for the Kearney to be living.
“We need a woman to take care of us, don’t we?” Aaron asks.
I raise an eyebrow. “You need something.”
The boys laugh. Seth—who I now notice is the only one wearing a shirt—puts his arm around my shoulder. “You need to come help us,” he says wistfully.
“You guys are old enough to know not to live like this,” I say, glancing around the room. “I’m scared to think what’s living in this place.” Riley catches my eye. He leans against his bunk and shakes his wet hair into a towel. “You can’t tell me you aren’t bothered by this—you’re such a neat freak.”
He finishes drying his hair and smirks. “Sure, but I can’t change that these guys are pigs. I gave up on them long ago.”
Vince pulls on a shirt. “This is the way guys live, Brynn.” He pats my head. “The sooner you get used to it, the better.”
I pull away and shake my head. “I’m sorry, but I refuse to get used to it.”

This week was a rainy week filled with coffee, tea, and writing. It was a good week indeed. How is your week going? And for my fellow writers, how is the writing?

Emily xoxo


  1. I...want to read this. o.o Your writing is really descriptive and lovely!

    1. Aw, thank you so very much! I shall try and post more excerpts soon :D


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