Hello, Everyone! I have something I want to share with you.
Being a part of a writing group, Generation Rising Authors, I was challenged to a writing contest. Though I pulled out of the contest, I still wanted to complete the short story. It is my first work of Historical Fiction, taking place before and during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. I hope you enjoy it and please leave a comment if you like it.
Disclaimer: The Historical facts of this story may not be perfect, I did my best to get them right, but I’m only human.
I am descendent of a great man. His name was Thomas, Thomas Wilkins. His story is short but reminds my family of our heritage. Because he was there on December seventh, 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
He was stationed on the U.S.S Arizona during WW2. Due to his station, him and his wife, my great-great-grandmother Penelope, moved to Hawaii only two weeks before the attack. They had only been married three months by the time of his station.
December 6th, 1941, 1800 hours.
My Grandfather, Thomas, was preparing to leave for his twelve-hour shift upon the USS Arizona, where he was the lieutenant for the U.S. Navy. Which was standard periodical for him.
As his wife helped him prepare his uniform, she asked, “Tom, do you think we’ll be safe from the war here?”
He tightened his collar as he thought about her question. So far America had little to do in the War. However, just in October, the USS Reuben James was sunk by a German U-boat. Penelope had been slightly relieved when he has stationed away from the danger in Europe, but she still worried for her husband.
Thomas responded to his wife, “I think we’ll be fine, not much ever happens here in Hawaii.” He then kissed her and left the home, off to take his post.
Penelope watched her husband walk to the drive way with his bike. He jumped on and rode past their car, a Chevy Styleline. She didn’t think buying the vehicle was wise, especially since they could almost walk everywhere in Hawaii.
She sighed as Thomas disappeared around the corner. She hadn’t told Thomas about the one thing on her mind, the child growing inside her. She had found out about her pregnancy a few days ago and had been experiencing brief morning sickness. She desperately wanted to tell Thomas, but she didn’t want to worry him with everything going on with the war.
As the sun was disappearing over the horizon, Penelope began washing the dishes from Thomas’ and hers dinner. While doing these dishes, she felt cold inside, and a dark feeling came over her. She felt like that something bad was going to happen soon. She began to worry and fear for her husband, but she knew he was fine. There was no threat from Germany way out here in the Pacific ocean, on a tiny island. Though she didn’t know all the details, Penelope knew that relations between Japan and America weren’t in the best place. However, she doubted Japan would dare attack the U.S. Her fears still tormented her while she did dishes. She couldn’t shake the fear away.
She hadn’t always been like this. When Thomas and her first got married, they were living with Penelope’s parents, she had been an only child and they wanted her near. One day while Thomas and parents were home and she was getting groceries, the house somehow caught fire. When she had got home and saw that the house had burnt down, she thought for certain everyone was dead, but Thomas was safe with the firemen. Her two elderly parents, however, had died from the smoke. Ever since then, Penelope had been afraid she would make another mistake and she would lose the only person she had left in this world.
Though she still mourned the death of her parents, the Christian faith Thomas and her shared helped her cope. She knew God was in control and was “working all things together for the good of those who love Him.”
She placed her hands on both sides of the sink and prayed, “Lord Jesus, please calm my heart. I know you are in control of everything and your Will can not be thwarted. Please keep Thomas safe, and bless this child you’ve given us. Amen.”
She finished the dishes at 1900 hours and went to sit on the porch. She read a psalm or two to help calm her fearful spirit. Psalms 46:10 stood out, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
December 7th, 1941, 0100 hours
Thomas awoke abruptly. He had fallen asleep standing up on deck. He wasn’t sure what his punishment would have been if he had been caught, but he knew it wouldn’t have been good. He was tired because he had been up most of the day with Penelope. They rarely spent any time together with his schedule. He wanted so much to be with his wife, especially since she was still recovering from her parent’s deaths.
He wasn’t sure what it was, but he felt like she wasn’t telling him something. He didn’t like the idea that Penelope was keeping secrets from him. Sometime around 0200 hours, someone came by and relieved Thomas of his post. He then went to his new station facing the eastward-facing side of the Arizona.
Penelope had awoken early that fateful morning, due to the sense of worry she had felt since the previous day. She was preparing to go to the Arizona to greet Thomas as his shift ended.
She traveled to Ford Island Naval Air Station and with the help of some of Thomas’ friends, was waiting on the dock for her husband. But seven o’clock rolled around and he hadn’t been relieved. This fact only caused more worry for Penelope, who had barely had any sleep the previous night. She found a hard bench to sit and wait on.
Thomas had been on post for an extra fifty or so minutes. The sun had risen over the horizon and blinded him. He caught a glimpse of something in the sun’s glare, and then he heard the sound of aircrafts overhead. The sirens went off as he realized they were under attack. Almost forgetting his training in the panic, Thomas rushed to his defensive post, but then he heard a woman scream his name.
When Penelope had heard the planes and sirens, her nightmares had manifested around her. As bombs fell from the sky destroying ships all over the Harbor, she rushed onto the ship, past the guards who were preoccupied with the mayhem. She rushed across the deck looking for her beloved Thomas, but couldn’t find him. Finally, she saw him take position near the bow and she yelled, “Thomas!”
Thomas spun around and saw her. He raced over to her and said, “Penelope! What are you doing here!”
She grasped at his uniform and said frantically, “Please Thomas, we have to get out of here! I can’t lose you too!”
He looked around. He didn’t want to abandon his post, but he had to get his wife out of danger. He turned her around and they began to run. They had reached mid-ship when bombs hit their mark on the bow. Thomas covered his wife as the bombs detonated, shaking the entire ship and throwing them off their feet. Thomas felt thousands of small pieces of shrapnel enter his body. He barely could get up, but then he heard the distress cries of Penelope. He forced himself up, careful not to let Penelope see his back. She was holding her abdomen, which was bleeding, she had also been hit with shrapnel.
Thomas said, “Come on, we have to move!”
Penelope started to cry and prayed aloud, “Oh God, please keep the baby safe!”
Thomas froze, “The baby!” He realized his wife was pregnant and now their child was in danger. Despite the increasing pain and blood loss, Thomas picked up his injured wife and carried her off the Arizona as another wave of Nakajima B5N came and bombed the boat again.
He got her away from the ship and found two other Naval men who were terrified by the attack. Thomas shouted for them to help him. The men came over and without a word, helped him get Penelope to the shelter of the Hangars on the island.
Penelope’s head was pouring out sweat. She was terrified that her panic would kill her unborn child. If she wouldn’t have been so worried about Thomas, the baby wouldn’t be in danger right now. Thomas and the other men laid her down and Thomas collapsed beside her. She then saw it, his back had been shredded by the explosion. The building shook as the bombs came by for another pass, and explosions could be heard as more ships were attacked. Thomas, weakened by blood loss, whispered, “Penelope? You’re Pregnant?”
She smiled weakly and nodded.
Thomas smiled and winced in pain as he slowly began to fade. Penelope yelled, “No! Thomas you can’t die, please stay with me!” She grasped his hand, but he lacked the strength to grasp back. Tears began to flood her face, “Please Thomas, you have to stay awake!”
The building shook again and Thomas coughed. Weaker than before, he spoke to one of the able Naval officers, “Get her out of here, it’s not safe.”
Still silent, he nodded and grabbed Penelope, who started to scream and resist. “No! Leave me with him! No!”
The man’s strength was greater than hers and he took Penelope off to a safer place. Thomas began to tear as his vision darkened and his wife’s voice disappeared from his ears. The other stayed with him as he smiled and prayed that God would take care of his child. The officer said he never finished his prayer, but passed before he could say, “Amen”.
In the attack on Pearl Harbor, 366 military vessels, including ships and aircraft, were either destroyed or damaged. Six ships had sunk, including the USS Arizona. On that day, 2403 people were killed, and 1178 were injured. It was the event that threw America into World War Two, which they entered the following day. Penelope Wilkins survived her injuries, as well as the unborn child.
She would eventually come to terms with God’s Will for Thomas and give birth to their daughter Mercy six months later on June 15th, 1942. Mercy Wilkins would grow up serving the Lord, and she would marry a man name, Jeffrey Fredrick. Mercy would mother a son named Thomas, named after her father, who would have a son he named Stephen. Stephen would become a Creation scientist and my father. I am Thomas Wilkins great-great-grandson, Arphaxad Fredrick, and that is my Heritage!
Thanks for reading that short story! Yes, I did tie it into The Blue Blur. That was a last minute addition. If you enjoyed that, even with its rather sad ending, you can check out the other Historical Fiction stories offered by Generation Rising Authors. There are currently three Historical Fiction tales on the website. There is The Star Under the City by Maggie Joy, His Father’s Command by Justus Platt, and Twin Arrows by Kate Willis. There are all kinds of books there ranging from Children Books to Dystopian to Mystery! Be sure to check them out!
Thanks and God’s Speed!