Romeo Down: A Short Story (Sean's File, #2) by Dale Amidei - Read Online
Romeo Down
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Where does a man's strength originate? In 1991, during the short, brutal air war above Iraq, two men unknowingly discover the same answer during an intense CSAR (Combat Search And Rescue) operation.

A short story, "Romeo Down" is an account of the action resulting in the award of Daniel Sean Ritter's first Silver Star. Alluded to in dialogue within the first novel of "Sean's File," "Operation Naji," this episode stands alone as a spoiler-free companion volume to that title.

Approximately 7,900 words / 30 pp. print length

Published: Single Candle Press on
ISBN: 9781502244857
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    Romeo Down - Dale Amidei

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    Part One: Lines of Convergence

    Little Germany

    Manhattan, New York City

    The worst night of 1977

    "Don’t you clam up on me, Danny Sean, do you hear? You talk to your mother." Her boy had gotten the news in the hoarse voice of his Uncle Ralph. The shock she saw on the face of her son penetrated, in an instant, to the center of her soul. Following her little man into his bedroom, Melba Ritter watched, helpless, as he crawled onto the bed. Grabbing onto his pillow, he began to stream tears. He’s trying to obey. He’s so strong.

    Why’d Daddy die? the nine-year-old managed.

    Why’d Sean die? God, tell me, so I can tell him. Only her motherly duties kept Sean Ritter’s wife from breaking down in turn. She sat and laid her head down against his. "They said an artery busted, one right by his heart. That’s why Daddy’s back hurt so bad. They said no one could have known it was gonna happen, Danny. By the time we were at the hospital it was already too late. The doctors tried, honey."

    I don’t want him to be dead. I don’t want it, he moaned. "I don’t want it!"

    This is going to kill me, too, a fearful voice inside her gasped. The thought collided with Melba Ritter’s spirit. Then what happens to him? My boy? No, she was not going to die. She was going to win.

    Easing Danny up off his bed, she held him close. His arms wrapped around her in the same way they had encircled his pillow a few moments before, and she placed her hand on his thick, black hair to press his head against her shoulder. I don’t want it, either, sonny. I don’t either.

    A minute later, after raising his face from where it rested, she took her own Kleenex and wiped his cheeks and nose. Melba willed her eyes to be strong rather than give in to the crush of emotion she felt. He noticed, she could tell. He was a good boy. Danny Sean listened.

    "This is how life works, Danny. Wanting things, not wanting things, loving someone with everything you got … it doesn’t make things anything else but what they are. It doesn’t keep bad times away." He knows now, too soon. Way too soon. He understands.

    She took his face in