Stagnation

In the quiet between rounds of shelling, I heard a scream just outside.  I shook my head – nothing I could do for the poor sot in the poison crater.  It would just get me killed.

Craters spotted what used to be a lovely field.  From my trench, across no man’s land, and all the way to Jerry were holes filled with stagnant water, chlorine gas, and corpses. And one of those holes contained a screaming British soldier. “Water!” he cried, certainly afraid of the filth he lay in.

I scratched my stubbly face with dirty nails.  How could we just leave him there?  I couldn’t take the wailing any longer!

Dirt from the sandbags fell onto my helmet as I scrambled up the side of the trench.  Men grabbed at my shoes, shouted, “Basil!  God, Basil, what are you doing!?”

Flames.  Smoke.  Blood.  I trudged through shelling.  Bullets whizzed by.  At last I fell in the screaming man’s crater.

I removed the lid from my canteen and poured my water onto dead lips.

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***

This was written for the inaugural Wacky Weekend Challenge by Dark Netizen.  If you don’t already follow him, DO IT.  He comes up with so much material that is absolute gold. 

In addition, as we commemorate 100 years after the end of the war that shaped our current global landscape, I hope to remember – albeit in a very removed fashion – what suffering real people had to endure to bring us the world we know today.  Our global community can all grieve for what could have been and what has been lost as a result of the tragic World Wars.  Never forget on this Veteran’s Day. 

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