A Waltons Story

(The Waltons Fan Fiction)

By: Kristi N. Zanker

 

Disclaimer: All publicly recognized characters, settings, etc. are the property of Lorimar Productions and Warner Bros. Television. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. I, in no way am associated with the owners, creators, or producers of The Waltons. No copyright infringement is intended.

 

18.

The Truth

 

John-Boy pulled back from hugging his father. He held onto his arms, just for a moment to make sure this wasn’t a dream. His Daddy was really here. He opened the door wider for his father step inside. John-Boy asked if he wanted anything to drink and his father replied that he wanted coffee.

“Daddy, how did you get here? I just spoke to you last night,” said John-Boy as he prepared the coffee.

“Well, son, I knew something was bothering you. So, I took the next train up here. You look terrible.”

“I just woke up; I don’t even know what time it is.”

John-Boy poured him and his father a cup of coffee. They sat on the couch and drank silently.

“Why don’t you get dressed and then we’ll talk about things,” asked John.

“That sounds like a good idea,” replied John-Boy.

After showering, John-Boy got dressed and headed back into the living room. He remembered to shut the bedroom door. John-Boy did not want his father to see the ransack he created yesterday. He could not believe all of the damage he had done. Slowly, he walked into the living room and stood in the middle of the room.

“Daddy, I don’t know where to start. My insides feel like they’re going to explode at times. I can’t control those feelings. They arise out of nowhere,” John-Boy stated.

“I don’t quite understand what you’re trying to say, son,” answered John.

John-Boy sighed. “Daddy, the war’s over. But something inside of me is telling it’s not. I see guys I knew over there.” His voice choked up. He could not go on.

“I know, son. I think I’m beginning to understand. When I came back from the war, I felt about the same as you. More edgy, looked over my shoulder often, just waiting for something bad to happen. But it faded with time.”

“Do you mind not telling anyone about this? I feel bad enough as it is. I—I wasn’t like those other guys over there. I was just a reporter—a war correspondent. I don’t know why I’m feeling this way. I didn’t exactly experience what they had to go through.”

“I’m not sure if I know either, but war is hell. When I went off to fight in France during the Great War, everyone was proud and they had big parades to wish everyone off and a safe return. But, we really didn’t know what war was. I used alcohol to get through it—all the killing and waiting to be killed, hiding in the trenches, just waiting. Well, I made it home and everyone was glad. You were there, waiting for me. But over the years, I learned that all wars start with a parade, but always in end with a funeral.”

“I think I’m realizing that now. There were guys who were so adamant on getting the enemy; they couldn’t wait to take a shot at him. But it was them who ended up getting shot first.”

John-Boy began to tense up.

“Daddy, I don’t want to talk about this right now anymore. It’s too much.”

“Alright, son…but if you ever want to talk about the war again, you can with me. I may not have been in the same war as you, but I experienced combat—it’s all the same really,” replied John, pausing for a moment and then changing the subject. “Where’s Daisy?”

John-Boy sighed again. “I don’t want to talk about that either.”

“What’s going on?”

“I don’t want to talk about her or see her right now. I just want to get out of here.”

“If you want, we could take the next train out. But you should leave a note and give her a call when you arrive.”

He nodded to his father, although he knew he did not want to leave any notes and make any calls to Daisy, John-Boy was also aware that in doing so, he’d be the courteous one..

When John-Boy got up to pack, he was in such a daze; he didn’t know that his father was following him. When he opened the bedroom door, his father said, “What happened in here?” He used that tone that said he meant business.
John-Boy tensed up again. “Daddy, I—I can’t tell you right now.”

“You better start explaining. Did you do all of this? I want to know what went on here.”

John-Boy began to pick up some of the debris.

“John-Boy, what happened? Answer me!” His father asked again, only in a more stern manner this time.

John-Boy folded up the blanket he used to wrap himself in the night before.

“Daddy, I don’t mean to say this, but you always told us not to meddle in other people’s business.”

“Yes, I did say that. But you are my son and I demand to know what went on here!”

“Well, I—I didn’t want to—yesterday, I heard Grandpa’s voice.”

“What?”

“I heard him. He stopped me.”

“Stopped you from what?”

“Remember those people from New York came to Waltons Mountain a few years back?”

“Yes, I remember. But what does that have to do with this?” His hand fanned across the room.

“Well, I got so angry at that girl who told me I had to write a certain way or else I was never going to make it as a writer. Well, it was Grandpa told me that if I ever felt like throttling a woman, I should go chop wood.”

“You mean to tell me—“

“I shook her. I was so angry at her. Daddy, she was unfaithful to me. She carried another man’s child and then lost it. When I noticed something different, she’d cover it up with lies.”

His father shook his head. “Are you sure about all of this?”

“I found the hospital bill in the drawer over there.” He pointed to the dresser.

He located the bill and showed it to his father. John-Boy could feel the tension rising in the room.

“I felt so bad for what I’d done, but I was so angry, I destroyed the room. I can’t understand why she would do this to me!”

A heavy silence filled the air. “Let’s get out of here,” was all his father could say.

*~*~*

After departing the train, the two men got on the bus to Charlottesville. On the way there, both fell asleep. They jolted awake when the driver called their destination. Before they had left for the train station in New York, John had phoned Olivia to tell her that John-Boy was coming home for awhile. Now, as they waited to get off the bus, John-Boy saw his mother and Jason waiting for him.

His mother threw her arms around him just as he stepped off the bus.

“You look too skinny. You need some of my home cooking,” said Olivia.

“I could sure use some of that,” replied John-Boy.

While Jason drove, Olivia told John-Boy about everyone as they rode home in their 1940 Woody. This was the first time John-Boy had seen his family’s new car. Olivia explained that Ben was married now to a wonderful girl named Cindy. They had a baby girl named Virginia. Erin still worked for the defense plant and Mary Ellen had fallen in love with a man named Jonesy. Jason was seeing someone named Toni, whom he’d met overseas in France during the war, and Elizabeth was dating Drew.

“Elizabeth told me quite a bit in her letters, Mama. It sounds like everyone is doing just fine,” said John-Boy.

When they arrived home, the rest of the family was there to greet him. However, John-Boy did notice that someone was missing.

“Where’s Grandma?” he asked.

“She’s visiting friends in Buckingham County. She’ll be here later this week,” replied Olivia.

They surrounded him and bombarded John-Boy with questions. His mother interrupted the interrogation and shooed everyone away.

“I just don’t feel like talking much right now,” he said.

“Well, you have all the time in the world to talk later. I’ll make you some lunch. Everyone else already ate. Oh, Mary Ellen and John-Curtis moved their things out of your old room. I figured you would want your room back for the time being. Besides, Ben and Cindy have the shed. They fixed it up real nice. You’d never know it was where you printed your newspaper.”

“Thank you, Mama. After I eat, I’m going to go right to sleep.”

John-Boy jolted awake at the sight of those same men in his past nightmares. They were yelling at him to find a medic and to hurry. He tried to run but couldn’t. The men kept appearing, with blood dripping from open wounds and flesh. It was as if they were following him. “I’ll find a medic for you! I’ll find one,” John-Boy would say to them over and over. Soon, another soldier would appear and tell him to get into a foxhole. He’d try to find one and once he did, those same men who yelled at him to find a medic, were pulling him in. A loud explosion appeared and all the men he’d seen in the dream would disappear. John-Boy huddled into the hole as far he could go. He felt the weight fall on him. It kept falling. He was sinking, sinking into their grave. Suddenly, the ground started to shake again.

“John-Boy! John-Boy! Wake up, son!” John Walton called.

He woke up with a start and stared at his father who hovered over him. Sweat cascaded down his face. His clothes were soaked. He peeked out the window. The summer sun still gleamed through the trees. He laid his head on the pillow for a minute.

“John-Boy, are you all right?” asked John.

He turned his head to see his mother standing in the doorway and Elizabeth standing behind her. A look of fear spread across their faces.

“Elizabeth, go outside now. John-Boy needs to be alone,” said Olivia.

He heard his youngest sister obey and leave. John-Boy hoped he didn’t scare her.

“Son, talk to me. What did you dream about?” asked his father.

“I—just want to get into the bathtub.”

“Are you sure you’re alright,” Olivia asked.

“I’m fine…I’ll be fine,” was all he could say.

John-Boy slowly opened his suitcase and took out clean clothes. Then, he walked into the bathroom and shut the door. He leaned against it. He turned the water to cold. When the tub was filled, he slid in until the water was up to his neck. He hoped the cold water would relieve him of the shock he felt. He wanted to know how to stop those dreams. He knew those guys were gone now. He left them over there. They didn’t get a chance to go home to their waiting mothers.

Copyright © 2005 by Kristi N. Zanker

 

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Copyright © 2014 by Kristi N. Zanker

 

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