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War Story

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War Story We painfully await our fate. Looking to my left I see men heaped over each other bent double, like old beggars, they're coughing like hags. Many of them sleep; their expressionless faces haunt my once peaceful mind. They look as though they had been wiped of any feelings of security and comfort that they had ever had. Even if they survived, would it be worth it? As I look to my right I see men who are similar to me, they find it impossible to rest in such a calamitous situation. Some busy themselves by cleaning themselves up or they just stare into the sky, they will be asking themselves; is that where I will be soon? Soon they will find out as our providence awaits us just over the hill. ...read more.


I used to associate sleep as a natural, peaceful time but now sleep is where all my worst nightmares seem to become reality. Sleep is unfeasible so I jolt upright. I'm at my most vulnerable when I'm at rest. The time is near; it's not ceremonial in any sense of the word. It's painful just to wait and watch the sunrise; I watch the slight glint of orange in the purple sky increase into rays of light filtering into the sky turning it blue. I watch the buttercups unfold to the rising sun and I know what's imminent. Usually we look forward to sunrise, but the sun is now an unwelcome, at sunrise we charge. Over the hill we will face our worst fears. We charge to our deaths as we grimace against the sun. ...read more.


God is on my side; he catches me before I hit the ground. As he lays me down, I fall again, this time into deep, dark unconsciousness, hot flesh searing into my memory. I awake, convinced that hell is a wet, cold mud- caked existence and I wish that it were the flaming, hot place of my imagination. But just as soon as the thought occurs the realisation dawns that I have survived, because the smell of heat pervades. Bleeding, weak and exhausted, but I'm alive. I learn that my comrade has pulled me back to a safe place, ultimately sacrificing himself; it is his seared body that I can smell. Oh God, the guilt; my life owed to his. My torture will continue. His is over. Oh, how I wish I had been the hero. The purgatory of survival is his bequeath. My family will share my award, only they will not understand why, and I hope they never will. My sense of shame pervades my livelong life. ...read more.

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