Anna crept out of her bedroom, careful not to wake her sleeping sisters. As Anna stepped into the small kitchen, a growling caused her to jump nervously.
"Shh girl," she whispered softly towards the mother collie. The dog fell silent at Anna's soothing voice, before letting out a soft bark at one of the wiggling pups beneath her flank.
Anna, being fully dressed, knew that if anyone was to wake she would not be able to claim she was using the outhouse and sent a small prayer to God.
Once outside, Anna let out a breath she didn't know she was holding. The winter air around her caused her to shiver slightly. Anna quickened her footsteps and followed the familiar path towards the old shearing shed, glad that both the male collies were with the sheep.
Anna stopped at the small wooden cross at the edge of the garden, sadness falling over her at the thought of her brother's death. Remembering the dreaded telegram informing them he'd died at Gallipoli.
"Rest well Pete," she muttered, before hurrying on.
The sound of Anna's footsteps echoed around her and she turned her head wearily, worried about being caught.
Anna stopped just short of the old shed. It had always been her favourite place on the farm. Anna smiled as she remembered climbing up into the loft to play with Jack and to avoid doing her chores as a child.
"Anna," a low voice whispered from the broken doorway of the shed. Anna looked up and smiled when she saw Jack's broad silhouette.
"I didn't think you would come" Anna admitted shyly. She shook her head slightly at her silly behaviour towards Jack before stepping into his strong arms.
"Of course I'd come Anna, you are my best friend," Jack replied, pulling her tightly into his embrace.
The pale moonlight made the rickety shed appear eerie, but neither Anna or Jack seemed to mind.
"Jack do you have to go to war?" Anna asked, breaking the silence. Jack nodded, tears forming in his eyes.
"We have to beat the Germans, for Britain," muttered Jack, repeating the propaganda slogan he had seen only days before.
The wind picked up and the shed swayed slightly, creaking and groaning.
"Anna do you trust me?" Jack asked suddenly. Anna could like of hundreds of reasons why she trusted Jack, but only nodded unable to express how she had complete trust in Jack.
Jack gripped Anna's hand tightly and pulled her into the shed. Anna was delighted to see a small bottle of wine resting on the floor of the shed.
"How did you get it?" she asked, picking the bottle up. Jack bit his lip, hesitant to answer. Anna, having had become impatient with the silence gestured with her hand.
"I borrowed it," Jack replied slowly and Anna raised her eyebrow, realizing that Jack had stolen the bottle. He grinned at her awkwardly, before pulling the cork from the bottle and taking a sip. He handed the bottle to Anna, who giggled softly at his exaggerated movements. Anna took of the wine, screwing her face up at the bitterness.
Jack snatched the bottle from Anna's hand and raised it into the air.
"I'd look to propose a toast to all Australian soldiers fighting away from home and to the victory we will have in 1916," he laughed, taking a large gulp of the sour wine.
"What makes you think we'll win this year?" Anna whispered, taking the bottle from Jack's hand. Jack shrugged in response
"I just hope we win before I leave," he finally admitted, pulling Anna into his chest.
"Why did you enlist then?" Anna questioned, tears staining Jack's shirt.
"I'm young and healthy, Anna. everyone expects it. I can't be ridiculed. We have to win the Great War," he answered. The two friends stood in silence, wrapped in each others arms. The old shed continued to creak in the wind. The sudden barking of a dog, caused them to break apart in panic.
"Anna, where are you?" voices called from the distance.
"Hide," Anna begged Jack keeping her voice low, worried about what would happen if her father found him.
Jack nodded, then whispered, "meet me here tomorrow night." Anna watched Jack as he climbed the rickety ladder to the loft. She then hurried out of the shed. Anna sprinted towards the paddock where the sheep were, adrenaline pumping through her veins.
"I'm here," she called out into the darkness. Her youngest sister, June, reached her first. One by one her sisters reached her. Anna looked up at her father and mother.
"I'm sorry I couldn't sleep. I kept thing about Pete's death and about Thomas fighting on the Western Front," Anna lied. Anna's mother whimpered at the mention of her sons' names.
"Come back to bed, Anna," her father ordered. Anna obeyed, already thinking how to sneak out the next night.
Just like the previous night Anna pulled her covers back and slipped on her shoes.
"What are you doing Anna?' June asked, startling Anna.
"I'm visiting Pete's cross. Go back to sleep June," Anna answered, feeling only slightly guilty for lying. June seemed to accept Anna's answer, as she asked no more questions.
Once outside Anna hurried to the shed. The need to see Jack had consumed her. She stopped briefly at Pete's cross, just as she always did.
Anna had almost made it to the shed door when a hand touched her shoulder. Anna gasped and struggled to free herself from the person's grip.
"Anna, it's just me," Jack said. Anna turned and smiled at Jack, before she could change her mind she stood on tiptoes and brought her lips to Jack's. Jack blinked, surprised at her sudden movement, before kissing her back.
"I leave in three days Anna," Jack muttered, shattering the moment of the kiss.
"I love you Jack, please don't go," Anna whispered.
"I'll come back. I love you too. When I return become my wife Anna."
I wrote this story because I wanted to capture the pain of war and would like to dedicate it to my parents for supporting me.