23 August 2010

This War of Mine

The sound of gunshots pounded through my head, shouting and yelling was everywhere. Bodies lay strewn across the battle grounds, and trees blown to pieces. I rolled over into a trench, grasping my wounded arm. I couldn’t stop fighting; I just had to go on. The pain in my arm was like nothing I had ever felt before and blood covered my forearm and hand, but it was no excuse, there was no going back. I slowly wriggled and crawled my way up the side, near the top of the trench, and lay my gun against my shoulder, I knew that pulling the trigger and the recoil was going to give me more agony than I knew how to deal with, but I had to pull it. Seeing an enemy run behind an army tank about 30 feet away, I aimed and fired. The next thing I knew there was a huge explosion, which violently threw me to the other side of the trench; debris flew everywhere, flames and smoke filled the air. The heat from the flames and the smoke around me stung my eyes brutally, like salt water. Suddenly I heard another bang and smoke filled my nostrils, I coughed and moved downwards a little in the trench. I could hear faint and muffled shouting and I could vaguely see men running, pointing at the trench I was in. I couldn’t make it out, my head was spinning and I felt just as sick as I could be. There was another explosion and suddenly I felt an immense pain on the back of my head, I opened my eyes for a moment and then all went black.

I awoke with a horrible sick feeling and a hammering head. My whole body ached, and it took every effort in me to blink and turn my head to see where in the world I was. At first my vision was blurred and all I could see was white and hazy figures. I blinked slowly again and waited for my vision to clear. Gradually it returned and I realized that I must be in some sort of army hospital or ward. I turned my head with every ounce of strength I had and saw more wounded men on beds, on bedding that left a little to be desired. Suddenly I felt something touch my shoulder, it startled me and I turned painfully to see what it was. It was a woman with a grey and white dress on and a cap with the Red Cross on it. I relaxed and thought to myself, thank goodness it’s a nurse—I am in a hospital. She smiled at me and said in a friendly tone, while checking my arm wound, “You had a nasty bang on the head Sergeant, how are you feeling?” I relaxed my tensed muscles and winced while she removed my bandage off my arm, the sight of the blood from the wound made me feel disgustingly sick. I felt as though the description ‘nasty bang’ was a gross understatement, from what it seemed to me and what I could feel was a sight more than a nasty bang. My whole head felt like a lead weight, the back of it throbbing incessantly, and my neck feeling just about as bruised as it ever could be. But I decided that her description wasn’t the most important thing right now, so I directed my thoughts to where I was. Although I could hardly croak out the words, “Where am I?”

I somehow I managed to and she understood what I had said.
“You’re in Paris. I believe that you were found on the battlegrounds near the border, so this hospital was the closest to you. Here, drink this and then get some rest.” She said passing me a glass of water. I looked from the nurse to the cup and then from the cup to the nurse again with a look of pain on my face (it would have been a sight to see I know). She just laughed sympathetically and said,
“Sorry Sergeant, no spirits, just water. Whisky won’t help you feel any better; that I can guarantee. Drink now.” She lifted the glass to my mouth and assisted me in drinking it. Although it wasn’t whisky, it tasted heavenly. She finished redressing my wound and then left with a tired smile. I closed my eyes and listened to the sounds of the hospital ward. Unfortunately they were not very soothing. Groans and whimpering could be heard throughout the ward, some soldiers were trying to hold back yells and cries of agony from the pain they were experiencing, while other slept oblivious to everything going on about them. I was exhausted, but pictures kept dragging—not flying through my head, like they say in all the books—but slowly dragging themselves through my mind, not even attempting to leave. Explosions blowing everywhere and nowhere to escape, friends and comrades lying on the battlefield, their eyes frozen in permanent shock and blood staining their army uniforms that were once worn with dignity and honour. My eyes snapped open. Closing my eyes seemed more exhausting than keeping them open. But in my ignorance I shut them again, trying hard to keep my mind off it all. But try as I might, I could not push out the bangs, yelling, and screaming, the enemies marching in in droves, never seeming to stop coming. It just didn’t stop. I opened my eyes again and found myself brutally biting my lip, and I could taste the blood---these pictures and memories weren’t going to stop. I shifted uneasily and stiffly in my bed, pulling my cover over my shoulders with my good arm. When war had first started I was eager to enlist, war was for heroes and brave men who won medals and who lived to tell tales of bravery and duty. But never of killing and pain, scars and hurt or loss and tears. I had experienced all those things, and I was never going to forget. Never. If there was a God out there, why didn’t He stop this cursed war? I was still aching all over, my head, my eyes, my shoulder, everywhere. My body was screaming for sleep and rest, but my mind could not and would not. I struggled with my thoughts and memories until I physically could not stay awake any longer. I fell into a listless sleep.

1 comment:

  1. Did this person die, if not please wright more... I love you stories!!!