The Mud Warrior

March 13, 2011
The smell of incinerated flesh and fresh soil augmented the fiery, dusky atmosphere. Everything that was anything at all remained silent. The tempo of gunfire and artillery in the far off distance masked the silence with a lovers embrace. The barbed wired fences littered the battle field. Nothing stirred in these muddy hills and trenches. Nothing dared awake the slumbering demons of combat. I felt that my throbbing heart would entice the sleeping devil to perforate my very soul.
My goal was to remain in the mud until it was all over. I didn’t want any part of this war. The horrifying stench of death made the loneliness unbearable. I was not trained in the British service to invite death with a smile. They could never prepare me for the loneliness that these trenches brought. I had no idea where my company was and I sure as hell was not going to find them. With my scoped No. 4 (T) rifle, I was prepared to answer the lonely lands with my own anguished outbursts.
A blaring white noise filled the air. The muddy earth below me began to quake. The rumbles disturbed the dangerous rapture that swallowed up no-man’s-land like molasses. All of a sudden the epiphany hit me. The lonely battlefield turned into a turmoiled tide of British Expeditionaries. I was soon caught in the under-tow of soldiers. They ran past me in droves. Even with all these comrades around me, the loneliness pursued within my heart. Being surrounded by unfamiliar, uniformed faces was no different than hunkering down in the mud awaiting death. A rupturing crack split the night. The sound of heavy machine gun fire burst the stale silence. It was soon followed by screams and aching cries of anguish. My feet took flight in the opposite direction as the stench of blood filled my nostrils. Fear took hold over my mind for I did not want to die alone. I ran and ran for what seemed like hours. I collapsed full force into the mud. The bullet went straight through my shoulder above my heart. This feeling of loneliness triumphed over the pain as the eternal sleep crept into my eyes. How could death be so lonely.

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