An extract from "The Last Apple," by Devorah Fox, one of the stories in Chosen, A Fantasy Genre Sampler.
The medal that I received for saving lives ended up saving mine.
I patted the medal in my pocket as I approached War and Peace. A boutique specializing in “militaria”—war memorabilia—it was the reason for my trip to the mall the day of the attack. The shop had run an ad in our daily newspaper about a planned Korean War retrospective. Sure, it was a promotional gambit to draw traffic to the store. But, the owner had the reputation of a veteran with a genuine interest in celebrating the armed forces: every branch, every rank, every mission, squadron, and regiment. “Service isn’t just a duty, it’s a way of life,” was the motto. The shop’s display windows were to serve as a sort of military museum. Locals were invited to contribute memorabilia intended for exhibit only, not for sale.
The ad got me thinking about the Medal of Honor that I had received for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty.” It wasn’t anything that I crowed about. Truth be told, I didn’t even display the medal at home but kept it in a dresser drawer. I didn’t much like the reminder about that day. A world away and so many decades ago, it felt like an episode from someone else’s history. At the time, all I was trying to do was to help my other squad members. One soldier survived, which my C. O. attributed to my heroism, but I couldn’t seem to forget the men whom I didn’t manage to rescue. Decades after my “meritorious” service, I still couldn’t shake the thought that I could have done more had I not tried to save my own skin.
Chosen, A Fantasy Genre Sampler - A bard with the power to bring his tales to life. A Victorian-era protectoress of the Lost Ways to Faerieland. A Korean War vet who becomes Mallworld Gatekeeper after dragons attack. A vision walker who is forced into a portal to another world to save her queen. Four new stories. Four chances to escape to another world by Devorah Fox,