Thursday, June 15, 2006

You are a Soldier

It is morning again. The sun hasn't risen but the watch on your wrist tells you it's six am. You try to think when the sun will appear, you realise it hasn't yet and it probably never will. You peek over a mound, only wire, sharp devil wire that will cut and rip awaits you. You look to your left, a few boys are huddled together, their brown fatigues covered in mud, blood and excrement. You plug your nose as a wind travels down the trenches, a whiff of rotten flesh both dead and alive passes by.

You wait for the call, your steel bayonet in one hand, and a rifle in the other. You start to shake, and then tell yourself if you pissed in your pants you'd be warmer. You piss in your pants, the urine drips down your leg and into your worn leather boots. Warmth only hits you for a second and then all that is left is a terrible smell. You remind yourself that there are worse smells then that, the kind of smells that are so sickening that it grips the stomach and makes it churn. Most of the time there is nothing to come up, no bits of red, juicy meat or mushy, orange carrot, just air. You choke on air, you plug your nose, hold onto your bayonet with your life. You stand trying to vomit over some mother’s dead son, all black and rotten, rats burrowing trenches inside the guts of Mrs. Sexton’s son. The child that she once held in her womb.

A little short rat-tat-tat of a bugle is heard and you wildly leap up over the slippery mud trench. A field of barbed wire awaits, you tear through, its sharp teeth and claws bite you, eating a piece of your leg. You soldier on, wildly dogging the whine of a flying bullet; you swing your bayonet into the thick, grey, smoggy air.

You are almost there, a downpour of liver, heart and soldier cover you. You see the son of Mrs. King running towards enemy lines and then explode in a lovely little fountain of leftovers. You see the enemy now, glaring from their trenches. They have eyes like you, a nose, a mouth, a heart no doubt different from yours. You charge with everything that’s in you, over a twisted corpse, who owns no head, over Private Owen, the gaunt yellow fellow who tried to make a run for it in the night. He was a feast for black, beady eyed rats and gnarly, flea ridden dogs.

A bullet rips through the air, and bites into your neck, another one follows and then another one. You fall to the floor still holding your rifle with your silver bayonet attached— no blood. You clutch your neck with one hand as you watch your green jacket soak the blood. You shake as you listen to the pop and crack of rifles, the screams of dying men surrounded in blood and dirt. You hear a man being savagely ripped alive by a pack of wild dogs. He screams a horrific wail.

Then you listen to nothing. You should be given a proper burial, a medal for dying for your country, but in no mans land you are motherless, you mean nothing, you exist only in the dead.

1 comment:

J.M said...

i could almost see the leftovers of mrs. king's son splash over the muddy fields. the scent of blood and death was never more real to me.