Pairings/Characters: Diana (Memories of Steve/Diana and various other characters)
Continuity: Wonder Woman (2017)
Genres: Angst, Drama
Warnings: Major character deaths.
Spoilers: For Wonder Woman (2017)
Summary: Diana revisits Veld, Belgium on the 100th anniversary of its demise.
Date Of Completion: May 27, 2018
Date Of Posting: November 4, 2018
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 607
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Around the square.
“The Land Of War”
One hundred years.
Diana stood at the edge of the Belgian town of Veld, the bombed-out buildings surrounded by weeds and mustard-yellow dirt in the town square. The clock tower was still sheared off and the bullet holes and bomb craters pocked walls of crumbling brick. It was as if no time had passed in a century. The only change was the bodies gathered and laid to rest long ago.
Diana could still smell the acrid, peculiar odor of the poison gas. Imagination? Perhaps not. The fields surrounding the town were strangely devoid of flowers. Only the dusty weeds choked the town.
She moved into the square. Belgium had decreed Veld to be forever untouched, a stark memorial to human cruelty and folly. While flowers and trees blossomed several yards away, only the weeds flourished here. Even the rats steered clear of this benighted place.
She could ‘see’ Sam, Chief, Charlie, and of course, Steve. They moved quickly, experienced soldiers backing her up. They grabbed an old door and Steve shouted, “Shield, Diana!” and she saw herself leap atop the door, springing to the tower. Explosion!
She remembered music, dancing, and her first snowfall. Her first time making love with a man. Her first heartbreak as she lost Steve. She had known him less than a week, and she mourned him still.
As Diana picked her way through discarded wagons that were nearly rotted away, she remembered the long, lonely years. What was a hundred years to an Amazon? A blink of an eye, or an endless eon. It all depended on your losses.
There was an eerie quiet in this town. The dead slept, and the birds sang so far away, their joyful warbles could not be heard.
Diana’s shoes crunched on old, dead leaves blown in from green woods miles away. Here, 1918 had never vanished.
She watched a field mouse approach the square, twitch its whiskers, and run away to disappear into underbrush across a No-Man’s-Land fifty yards away.
Wind sprang up, mournfully whistling down disintegrating alleys and around sharp corners. One building tilted at a crazy angle, its foundation crumbling.
Diana took a deep breath. She was not even sure that this place was haunted by ghosts. Even the dead seemed unwilling to venture here.
Etta had left her in 1963, still sweet and amusing. Of the band of brothers, Charlie had been the first to go, killed in London by a bomb dropped by the Nazis during the Blitz in 1940. Sam had gone back on the stage, achieved minor fame in British and American films, and had died peacefully in his sleep in 1953. The Chief still lived, of indeterminate age, though well over a hundred, she suspected.
She continued her pilgrimage, the silence nearly suffocating.
How have I survived this long without you, Steve?
One hundred years of empty days and nights.
One hundred years of memories, a little faded like a bolt of cloth beginning to thin in spots, the colors starting to look washed out.
One hundred years of fresh pain growing dull, brought back to a stabbing pierce by a smell or sight or taste.
One hundred years of friends, lovers, and battles, but the time spent in Veld, brief and sweet, would always remain as her most treasured memory.
Diana feared the forgetting.
That was why she was here, on this 100th anniversary, and she would come on the 200th, and 300th, and so on, ‘til the stars turned to dust
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