36 Hours – Part 15

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The earth heaves under the barrage and throws up gouts of rock and dirt in every possible direction. We run, hunched over like animals. In places we are reduced to rodents, scurrying on hands and knees as the trench is destroyed above us. I hear nothing but the booms and cracks of artillery fire. I see nothing but flashes of intense daylight when the star shells explode overhead. In those moments the world is reduced to what is before me. The trench is my home and Shiod and Kat my brothers.

A shell lands behind us. I hear its whistle a moment before impact and fall flat, covering my head. I feel the explosion before I hear it, a deep, angry rumble that turns into a terrible vibration. It tears at me, rips the trench apart on all sides. Mud and dirt and human viscera fall upon me. Continue reading

36 Hours – Part 11

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After, when we leave Shiod behind and make our way back toward the line, I resist the urge to think of home. Kat is looking at me and I wonder if he can see the resignation I feel. Still, he says nothing and we walk on through the lines of men on medical pallets, blood pooling and dripping. Some of them are already dead, others still clinging to a half-life of delirium and hope.

Our batteries open up, creating a cacophony so loud it shakes the ground we walk on and the walls that pen us in. Kat and I have to stop in a dugout to keep from falling over.

“What’s going on?” Kat asks a sergeant, the only man in the dugout. He’s older, a lined and bearded face half hidden behind a helmet and mask. He shrugs his shoulders.

“Does it matter?” Continue reading