ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Flash Fiction: A Mountain Man Comes Home - Bill's Challenge

Updated on May 11, 2020
MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers has been a professional writer/editor for all of her adult life. Before that, she was just a little girl storyteller.

Response to Bill Holland's challenge

This piece of flash fiction is my contribution to Bill Holland's challenge to write from photos he provided, including a mountain, barn, old train, and cemetery. He also specified that the word "mountain" be included in the title.

I'm not really good at writing from photos. I took one look at that combination and said, "No Way! I see no association of these photos," but then my muse kicked me in the butt and the idea took on a life of its own.

This mountain is a little taller than the one in my story.
This mountain is a little taller than the one in my story.

The shiny diesel zoomed its way along the tracks through the valleys, and then it made its way more slowly through the winding rails around the mountains. The train passed a series of little towns and wide spots in the road as it cut through the mist that kissed the mountain’s face. Aboard the train was Davy coming home at last to his little community near the top. Davy had been one of the nearly 400 American soldiers who gave their lives to liberate Belgium in 1918 in the Great War.

Davy had lain somewhere in Flanders Fields where the poppies blow beneath the crosses row on row, but he did not lie beneath a cross. He died, a victim of deadly gas, lost somewhere in the muck of war. Location unknown, maybe a poppy marked his spot.

Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

By Lt. Col. John McCrae

Composed at the battlefront on May 3, 1915
during the second battle of Ypres, Belgium

Poppies in Flanders Fields


Before 20-year-old Davy enlisted in the Army, he was the pride of Mountainberg. While not of great stature, he was one of the best guards the Mountainberg Cougars basketball team ever had. And being a mountain man, he was a crack shot with a rifle, a real sharp shooter. When a squirrel was so high in a tree that most people had trouble seeing it, Davy could put a bullet right through its eyes. Many times as he left to go hunting, Mama warned him, “Don’t shoot those squirrels in the head, you know your daddy loves the brains.”

The U.S. Army was glad to get such a skilled marksman. At the train station, he gave his mama and papa a quick hug and kiss, but his lips lingered on those of Betty, his high school sweetheart. “Now, you wait for me, Betty, ya hear. Won’t be long, only a year,” he said, as he boarded the old steam train that would take him down the mountain to the army. They planned to be married as soon as he returned from the war.

Then the bad news came that his whole platoon had been the victim of a German gas attack in Belgium, and that he was listed as MIA. “How cowardly! Mustard gas, what a dishonor to our family!” his grieving father had exclaimed. His mother was never the same, and everyone believed that she died of a broken heart from not knowing where her son was. Betty finally gave him up for dead and married his younger brother, Pete.

A farmer plowing north of his barn

Then one spring day nearly 50 years later outside Salient, a farmer was plowing a field just north of his barn and unearthed some human remains. Around the neck was a chain with an old rusted dog tag, but Davy’s name, rank and serial number were legible. Just barely. The farmer contacted the authorities, and the wheels started turning for Davy’s return to his family in the U.S.A.

By that time, both of Davy’s parents had gone on to their heavenly rewards, but Pete was beside himself with joy that his elder brother had been found. Pete had regretted being too young to go to war and wished that he had been the one to die, but today he was elated to be alive. He was finally going to put Davey to rest in the family cemetery just on the outskirts of the little town. The monument was already in place in anticipation of Davy’s return.

Davy was to be buried next to his Mama and Daddy in the old family cemetery.
Davy was to be buried next to his Mama and Daddy in the old family cemetery.

Nearly every able-bodied person in the little town of 259 persons eagerly awaited the arrival of the 12 noon Rock Island that day. They heard its whistle blowing at the crossing of highway 71, only two miles away. Heads turned in the direction of the noise, then hundreds of eyes watched as the train rumbled up the hill. It slowed as it passed the rusty abandoned old steam train that had carried Davy to war and approached the station. Brakes screeched and it came to a halt.

The old train that carried him away

Davy’s coffin, draped in a United States flag, was unloaded. The mayor spoke a welcome for the town’s long lost son. The local high school band played and a parade stood by to escort Davy to his final resting place in the cemetery. Flags waved and the crowd cheered their hero. Pete and Betty hugged each other and cried.

Davy was home at last.

© 2016 Doris James MizBejabbers


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)