Copyright © 2015 by Adam Mortimer. All rights reserved.
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WORLD WAR I CONTINUES TO COMMENCE. CASUALTIES RISE. DAMAGES INCUR. FAMILIES TEAR APART.
Allison DeWitt is a trained nurse who decides to volunteer at Southern Hospital in Dartford, Kent to contribute to the war efforts. Her mother disproves when she learns that Allison will be taking care of German prisoners of war, but Allison’s decision is not going to be swayed. She rides the train to Dartford and meets an unusual man who tells her that the war is cruel – and he will not forget her name.
Kasamir von Achterberg is a German spy and killer who is sent on a mission to kill the caught German spy. He must blow up the train to Dartford to fulfill his mission, but then he meets a beautiful nurse who stole his full attention.
Allison’s principles and war allegiance are put to the test when the man on the train arrives at Southern Hospital with the intent to seduce her. Can she stand on her ground if her enemy’s touch is all she ever yearns?
“Two armies that fight each other is like one large army that commits suicide.”
-French soldier Henri Barbusse, in his novel “Le Feu”, 1915
England, 5 February, 1917
Allison DeWitt stood on the wooden platform of the North train station at Abbey Wood. She, along with the many passengers, was waiting for the train to arrive. Allison looked around and saw an assortment of people, mostly English peasants and businessmen. What she noticed, though, was that there was an increase of military men in this area in England, and that was because they too, were heading to where she was about to go.
“Long live the Allied Forces!” a little boy suddenly told Allison. The boy’s mother quickly pulled her son back.
“I am sorry; my husband is enlisted in the army and we are waiting for news. Are you going to the military hospital in Dartford?” the mother asked. Allison nodded.
“I still do not see the point why the Allied Forces must keep the prisoners of war alive. My two brothers were killed in the last German invasion. I’d say execute them!” She shared and then broke to tears. Allison held the mother’s hand.
“People in the medical field will help either allies or enemies. Remember that, madam, if in the worst-case scenario, your husband finds himself in an unfriendly land and in the mercy of our enemies. I am sure that they will tend to him even if he might have killed an enemy – who might also have a family waiting for him in his homeland like you.” Allison explained. The woman cried even harder.
“I wish!” she said and then walked away with her son. Allison took a deep breath. The war had wounded not only the men in line but also their families. Her own mother even disapproved when she decided to use her knowledge in nursing to serve army hospitals – more so when she discovered that her only daughter will work in a hospital for German prisoners of war.
“Those animals murdered your brother, or have you forgotten already?” Her mother shouted at her on the night before she went to Abbey Wood for her journey. Allison’s heart was broken when Alfred, her brother, had been one of the many casualties in this war, but the call of duty is much stronger than her grief.
If nurses hold resentment like her mother, every injured man in the field will die.
The train finally arrived. People hurried to get in the compartments, and Allison was lucky to find a vacant spot in the farthest corner of the train. Holding her long skirt up so she can walk faster, Allison finally took the seat. It was really cramped and she had to cross her legs for all of them to fit, but she did not mind. Allison held her first aid kit on one hand and her light suitcase. When the train started to move, a tall man stood near her. There was no other seat available.
“Good morning, madam. May I know where you are heading?” The man asked. Allison looked around to make sure that she was the one that the man was talking to before answering.
“Dartford, sir.” She replied and then added, “And you?”
“Way past Dartford. You are tending to the injured? I heard there are German prisoners of war at Southern Hospital. By any chance, will you be tending to them too?” he asked. Allison did not see any reason to lie.
“Yes. I suppose every nurse’s obligation is to tend to the sick and injured, regardless of their race or allegiance.” She answered. The man looked out from the window as if he was deep in thinking.
“This war is a cruel and unfortunate measure.” He remarked. Allison heard him amidst the rumbling of the train’s engine.
“I’d say unnecessary.” Allison snapped. Why does this man talk about war like it was some business? The man looked at her straight in the eyes and it suddenly gave her the chills.
“May I know your name, madam?” he abruptly asked.
“Allison DeWitt.” She answered. The politest thing to do is to ask for the man’s name also, but for some reason, Allison was just staring at him. The man was quite tall, maybe 6’3, with black hair, strong jaws and piercing gray-green eyes. Allison did not know what he was wearing under his black tweed coat.
“I shall remember your name, Nurse DeWitt.” He replied. He then picked up a leather satchel that was not there before and then walked into the next compartment until he was out of sight. For some reason, the man was odd to her. The journey is a few minutes away still so Allison tried to grab some sleep, thinking that she will not be sleeping much when she arrives at the hospital.
Allison arrived at the Southern Hospital in Dartford later that day. The situation is graver than how she heard it to be: German prisoners of war come in batches day and night, as if the killing never stops. There are also sick and injured soldiers of the allied forces, but they were housed in separate buildings. The only consolation that Allison has when the injured arrive is that she is not anxiously checking if a family member is one of them.
Alfred died last year in an explosion.
“Nurse DeWitt!” a younger nurse named Carolyn called out. The woman was rushing to get to her that she almost stepped on a wounded German with his lower limb missing. Allison heard that the man had stepped on a landmine.
“Carolyn, why are you rushing? You could injure the patients-”
“Isn’t it that you were on the last train to leave the capital and which had already passed here at Dartford?” Carolyn asked. Allison nodded.
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WORLD WAR I CONTINUES TO COMMENCE. CASUALTIES RISE. DAMAGES INCUR. FAMILIES TEAR APART. Allison DeWitt is a trained nurse who decides to volunteer at Southern Hospital in Dartford, Kent to contribute to the war efforts. Her mother disproves when she learns that Allison will be taking care of German prisoners of war, but Allison's decision is not going to be swayed. She rides the train to Dartford and meets an unusual man who tells her that the war is cruel - and he will not forget her name. Kasamir von Achterberg is a German spy and killer who is sent on a mission to kill the caught German spy. He must blow up the train to Dartford to fulfill his mission, but then he meets a beautiful nurse who stole his full attention. Allison's principles and war allegiance are put to the test when the man on the train arrives at Southern Hospital with the intent to seduce her. Can she stand on her ground if her enemy's touch is all she ever yearns?