382. Home guard
© Bruce Goodman 27 October 2014
During the Second World War Tom volunteered for the Home Guard. They did the briefest of training. There wasn’t time to turn the Home Guard into top notch soldiers; not when the security of the country was at stake.
Rumour had it that submarine periscopes had been seen briefly popping up in the city’s harbour waters. The enemy landing was nigh.
Tom patrolled at night. They had been instructed to say “Halt! Who goes there?” three times before firing. Tom heard something. It was behind a hedge. The enemy had landed.
“Halt! Who goes there?” cried Tom. He was more nervous than the enemy.
“Halt! Who goes there?” cried Tom a second time. Still there was no answer. Just a quiet noise of occasional breaking sticks underfoot.
“Halt! Who goes there?” cried Tom for the third and final time.
Tom fired his gun. The peace of the evening was shattered.
On the other side of the hedge the grazing cow dropped dead.