The mailman’s eyes brimmed with excitement as he held an envelope addressed to a Mrs White from the War Office from London. These letters were his favourite. They provided him with material to write his next best-selling novel.
Swaying to the tunes of Beethoven in the radio (a relief from the news about the war though), he felt a sudden flare of joy as he brought his knife to open the letter. He paused for a moment, trying hard to control his joy as he closed his eyes and prayed for Mrs White’s misfortune as crucial information about her son John would be “Lost in the mail.” And no, he didn’t think he was evil and what he did was unethical. It never felt like theft to him.
I am perhaps saving the sweet lady from sorrow. She’s old anyway. All I am doing is reducing a few painful days before the Army showed at her doorstep.
But, this envelope was anything but usual. It was heavier, bulkier. Holding it, he deduced must be a journal of some sort tucked inside with all the mysteries of war and the government. Oh dear heavens!
“Don’t get ahead of yourself”, he said to himself.
The contents of the envelope were as expected. A letter was written on white paper, crisp. It still had the smell of fresh paper. And a brown worn out pocket journal which was dried multiple times. Spoils of war!
He couldn’t contain his excitement and opened the journal. A small note was dropped from the first page requesting the reader to go through the letter before reading the journal. He adjusted his green suspenders and put his smoking pipe on the table to focus on the letter.
23rd July 1944
In reply to your enquiry in the letter ID:
16Y897,I am commanded by the Army Council
to inform that the soldier named Sgt John
White has been reported in a casualty list
which has reached this office as having
This was the best part. The reasons for deaths of about 46 soldiers he had read through stolen mail, sort of played a crucial part in him finding a plot for his story. He could taste the excitement brewing inside him.
He could never forget a mail he had read by a certain Major A Rich which changed everything. That was the weirdest mail he had ever read.
He had always wanted to be a writer, a job his father never approved of and neither did the editors of the publishing houses and newspapers. His content was just “not catchy” or “was too cliche” or “just wasn’t what readers wished to read”, a posh way to ask him to stop.
After his father died, he was offered an honorary job at the post office which he was stuck at, until one day he took a letter back home by mistake. It was midnight and he could no longer hold back his temptation. Until this day he could never understand what came over him to commit the first sin.
The so called Major Rich apparently had visions about attacks and invasions that were to happen in a couple of weeks and his mother was proud of her son to have a god’s gift. He was special. Until, he found ways and means to make those events favourable to him and his country which his mother disapproved of and since the World War began never replied back to her son as all the mail went into the mailman’s pocket.
Three years into the war and many more one-sided mails describing his war stories which his superiors did not censor and photographs of his and the men under his command was enough material needed by the mailman to work on a piece of fiction anonymously. Rich had a way of writing that fooled the censors and yet spoke everything he wished. All the mailman needed was a copy of the Bible by his side to make sense of the letters.
Rich pleaded in every letter of his mother to write back to him and two weeks back that he was ready to give up after the allies’ attempt of using a new powder against the Germans failed a spread a sleeping sickness- A permanent sleep, amongst all the troops on the front lines that day and come back to his mother, the mailman replied telling the young major that his mothers wish was for him to not be a disgrace to god, his gift and the family by coming back home before the war ended.
Coming back to the letter in his hand, he read further. Oddly, He seemed to recognise the handwriting though.
died of wounds on the 21st of June, 1944 at Normandy, France. It is regrettable that no further information is available.
I am to express the sympathy of the Army
Council with the soldier's relatives.
Signed by Col A Rich,
Your obedient Servant
So, you finally did get the promotion you wanted. But, it is such a disgrace that I am the only one who knows how you achieved that. Don’t worry, dear Colonel, the world shall know this feat of yours in my next book.
He sighed, nothing of interest came from the letter and hopefully turned his attention to the journal expecting a lot of stories and in other words, content as the right clip of his suspender gave away. Ignoring it, he opened the journal.
The front page was blank. “Property of John White”, was written in a shabby handwriting. He turned the page to find it completely crossed off, censored with black markers. Nothing could be read. He became anxious with every page he turned to find everything censored, until the penultimate page. Written in a handwriting the mailman recognised having read so many letters that weren’t addressed to him was the following:
Greetings, Dear Sir
It is odd, knowing you would be reading this page with such shock on your face.
The mailman reached over to his pipe to take a puff and calm down. He put the pipe on the table, but it fell to the ground. Nevertheless, he continued to read while scratching his chin.
I am confused and really would never know if you would be surprised or not if I told you that I believe that a self respecting man would clean up the mess on the floor and adjust his suspenders.
The mailman recoiled in shock and fell off his chair, soiling his shirt. Regaining his composure and smelling like the Tobacco he fell over he continued reading.
Please turn over
The room went cold instantly, or perhaps he did; No one seemed to know what exactly happened. Darkness seemed to creep in through all the closed windows of the room and as the lonely mailman turned the page his head began to spin and he felt drowsy. His eyes teared up and became blood red as if his eyes were bathed in blood. His arms began to shiver, but not from the cold. Fear took hold of his being. His head fell onto the table with his eyes wide open and the stool he sat on was balanced precariously on one leg.
The mailman had fallen asleep, a permanent sleep.
I hope you liked this story of mine and I would like to know your thoughts on this as well!