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The Trench

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The Trench. I awoke to the harsh wail of the sirens. I rolled over and swallowed a vile mouthful of muddy liquid. Bombs echoed deafeningly through the cold morning dawn, battered shells zooming overhead. I struggled to my feet, coughing as I forced air through my corrupted lungs. I walked slowly to the front line, savouring what I suspected would be the last hour of my life. Stretcher-bearers flashed past, men roughly flung on blood-stained canvass lengths between them, broken bodies lying limp from the ravages of war. The thought that I may soon be joining them sent a sharp chill down my spine. I was nearing the secondary trench, when, through the melee, I realised it had taken a direct hit from a shell, the trench's walls had virtually melted, its occupants were hardly distinguishable as their bodies, rather what was left of their bodies, lay bloodied and broken. A few were still alive, their groans puncturing the deathly silence like a knife. How they must have wished for a quick death rather than endure such cruel pain, as they waited for their bodies to give up the fight for life. Suddenly three single gunshots awoke me from my thoughts, the groans stopped and the once writhing bodies now lay still. ...read more.


I picked up a packet of Camel cigarettes, lit one, and smoked. The sweet escape of the smoke helped to stiffen my resolve and I decided I would buy as many packets as I could afford if by some miracle I survived this dreadful war. I stubbed out my cigarette, winked at one of my terrified companions and leapt over the top filled with my refreshed resolve, adrenaline pumping furiously through my body. Clutching my rifle tight by my side I crouched down low and began to edge gingerly forward. I looked to my left and right. The soldiers' expressions mirror images of my own, a mixture of excitement, nerves and pure unadulterated terror. Soon after I'd gone over the top there was a break in the firing. I looked around puzzled, had the Germans surrendered? But I dismissed this notion as wishful thinking; the Nazis did not surrender merely on a whim. There was serious plotting going on here. Seconds after this ominous thought my captain ordered us forward, suddenly I realised what was going on. The ground in front of us was not sludge and muck, but freshly turned and oddly lumpy, the Germans had set up a secret minefield! ...read more.


I dropped one finger the men's fingers tensed on the pins. I dropped another, the men's arms tensed with the strain. I dropped my last finger and we all pulled the pins and lobbed our grenades into the German trench. Four grenades hit the target exploding inside the trench but the last one had flown way off target. As soon as the grenades exploded we ran forward rifles cocked and ready. But unfortunately from the section of trench missed by a grenade, a lone surviving German manned a machine gun and fired on us. Luckily for me I had fallen behind my men on the slippy terrain, this shielded me from the brunt of the bullets. So while my men were torn to shreds, I only took two bullets, one to my shoulder and the other my chest, however, I was still spun to the ground with the force of the blow and the wounds seared with pain. The pasty faced German who had fired on us grinned victoriously. The thought of being killed by this man repulsed me and so summoning the remains of my strength I raised my rifle and fired my only bullet, hitting him full in the face. My task finished I dropped my rifle and closed my eyes, to rest peacefully in an eternal slumber. Knowing that revenge was mine. Jack Swindlehurst 4MSF ...read more.

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