The doorbell rang.
Carter slowly made his way down the hallway to a white door. Each of his labored breaths echoed in the house. Each creak of the old floorboards reminded him of children running to wake him up. He shook his head to keep from dwelling on memories better suited to a time when he could cry on his wife's shoulder.
His wife couldn't take anymore of this uncertainty. Her hair was graying and she was going numb. He feared she was about to go into permanent shock. The one he had married all those years ago in a damp tunnel seemed to have disappeared. His Mary Jane had left him with this worry and grief.
His little boy might not come back.
In his head he kept up the mantra that had kept him hoping this past year.
'The Coronel said he was alright. He trusted the boy, Coronel, General, whatever he was. He hadn't let him down when he was in front of a firing squad. He wouldn't let him down now.'
The doorbell kept ringing insistently.
"Andrew, who's there?" Mary Jane looked at him from around the corner. She didn't smile as she used to. She simply asked.
"I'm getting the door; I don't know who it could be." Carter said, lying. He knew perfectly well who it could be.
His hand trembled on the brass knob. He closed his eyes in prayer, and opened the door. And on his front step was a general and a private; both in dress uniform.
He smiled and held opened his arms to the visitors.
"Welcome home, son. "