How are you my love? I miss you dearly. I have some bad news I feel I must share. Two months ago, when you were home on leave, your friend Matthew stayed with me. While he was here we became quite attached. We had a very lovely affair. I am so sorry I did not tell you sooner. I deeply regret it now, and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.
Simon was still a long time. Thinking. Begging. Begging for it not to be true, for it all not to be true. He cried out to the darkness; short, stifled sobs. He cried for a long time, rocking back and forth on his cot. He didn't even hear the gunshot.
"Medic! Medic! Get a goddamn medic over here!" screamed the corporal. "The captain's been hit. Medic!"
The medic ducked and weaved through the tangled mass of bodies in the trench. He reached the captain just as Matthew pocked his out of the dugout. When Matthew saw the captain's face, he turned away. The medic leaned over the body and began to work. He moved rapidly, pushing in a needle of morphine and wrapping the head in gauze. The litter arrived moments later. Matthew reappeared as soon as they turned the corner.
"Will he be all right?" Matthew asked.
"No way to tell. That head wound was pretty bad. I've never seen a man lose that much of his skull in one shot. I did what I could to keep his brain in his head, but he'll still have some serious damage if he survives," the medic replied. "So who's in charge now?"
"I think that would be Simon, he's the only other officer in the unit."
"Ok, do you want me to tell him he's in command now?"
"No, I'll do it. I'm going that way anyway."
"Yes sir." The medic turned to collect his kit. Matthew stalked off, not relishing the next conversation. But when he duck down into Simon's dugout, he didn't see anyone. He struck a match against the wall and looked around. There wasn't much in the room to look at. A regulation table was pushed up against the wall under a not-so-regulation picture. Matthew had to admit, it was a good picture of Amanda, a very good picture. The only other place he could be was under his cot. Matthew pulled back the covers to reveal a shrunken version of Simon laying there. A letter in hand.
"What are you doing in there Simon?" Matthew asked, nervous.
"Nothing you bastard!" he spat back.
"What's with you Simon? Why are you so... odd today?"
"Why don't you tell me, woman stealer." Matthew froze. How had he found out? Amanda had assured him that no one would ever find out. But of course she would tell him. She might not think about things before she did them, but she always felt bad after.
"Listen, Simon, I'm sorry about what happened. It wasn't my fault! She cornered me. I didn't want to do it, but she was very persuasive."
"The hell you didn't! Just get out! Leave! Now!"
"Fine. But you have gotta come too. The captain’s hurt and you're in charge." As Matthew stormed out Simon sat up. The captain, hurt. That meant he was in command of the whole company. And he could finally make Matthew pay for what he did. Yes, this might just work out. He kept repeating this as he dressed for the day.