Here’s my entry, which contains mental health issues in a character under military duress. First line plus 200 words.
Bringing a gun into the house changes it.
Edward came home on leave. He was given embraces by Mother, pats on the shoulder by Father, and – foolishly, I now think – a salute by me, his brother. He laid his cap and service revolver, in its holster, on the hall table. A piece of the war, in our house! I, at fourteen, was eager to hear adventures from the western front.
Edward kept the revolver in his bedroom. He had difficulty sleeping. I’d wake to hear him open and close doors, and wander about. His eyes were puffed, his conversation abrupt. Talking more to the air than to us, he said, I shan’t go back. Mother held her mouth slightly open, as if wanting to speak but unsure. Father’s lips were compressed.
For minutes on end, Edward wrung his hands. I won’t go, he shouted.
Father hid the revolver and bullets. He called our doctor. Edward went to hospital and, four months later, there he remained. Father wrote to his regiment, asking to return the firearm and ammunition.
In our front room an officer stood upright and didn’t ask how Edward was getting on. Father handed over the holstered revolver and bullets.
Our taste of war never went away.