The man lay in the ditch on Christmas Day. His arm. The mans arm. It was gone, laying beside him in the mud. His leg was broken. Horrid pain. Rain fell. It fell on and on and on. The man did not like the rain. It made his stump sting. The man sobbed. He sobbed for his momma, and for his team, who were all dead beside him. He sobbed for his mamma because he wanted his momma. He wanted to hug and hold his momma, and he wanted her to tell him that everything would be all right. Because, in the midst of all the death, blood, and rain, the man had lost all hope. He knew that he was going to die. He knew that it was going to be long and painful, and the worst experience of his life. So he wanted his mamma. He sobbed for his team because they had all died. He wished he had died. They had been walking, singing "Noel", and then stumbled across a land mine. The land mine had killed them all, and now several limbs were scattered around him, sinking slowly in the mud. The man counted five. Five limbs. Two legs and three arms. One of the arms belonged to him. The man continued sobbing. Five words crossed his mind, over and over again in his head. Five words. I will fear no evil. I will fear no evil. I will fear no evil. He muttered this to himself, his voice cracking with the sobs. He screamed it. He screamed it as loud as he could. But noone heard him yell those 5 words. The man knew that it was not death he feared, but it was evil. He had grown to except death over the last 2 days. But evil. He could not except evil. He could not understand the evil in the world, and why. Why was the question. Why had God placed the evil of war in the world. Why had God not killed him, but left him lying in the ditch, with a broken leg and no arm, sobbing? He was slipping in and out of consciousness. I will fear no evil. Time passed. Minutes felt like hours. And in these minutes, pain. Pain. Now he was thinking of that word. Pain. Pain. Pain. Pain in his leg, twisted under the falling rain. Pain in the stump on his arm. But the worst pain was the pain of hunger. He wanted food. Needed food. He wanted his momma. Needed his momma. He wanted death. Needed death. But he knew that the death would not come. He knew that he would lay in this ditch, experiencing this never-ending pain. I will fear no evil. I will fear no evil. He screamed again, but could only manage a faint moan. He sobbed. Today was Christmas Day. Of all days, it was Christmas. December the 25th. He stopped sobbing. He started to sing, faintly at first, then the sound gradually climbing. "Noel, Noel. Noel, Noel. Born is the king of Israel." He laughed. Of the song, those were the only words he knew. He repeated the lyrics. Again. Again. After the singing, pain, again. Sharp and cruel, the pain struck in his leg, and his stomach. I will fear no evil. I will fear no evil. Pain. I will fear no evil. He moved his head slowly around, his neck popping painfully, and something catched his eye. At the top of the ditch, barely showing in the blood and the mud and the rain, is a gun. He smiled. He wanted the gun. He needed the gun. He wanted his mamma. He needed his momma. He wanted death. He needed death. He started crawling. Pain. Excruciating pain. He cried out in anguish, sobbing harder. I will fear no evil. He cripped his hands, that were caked with blood, in the mud, and crawled. Every tiny movement was a horribly acute pain. Pain the shot through every pore of his body. He crawled and crawled. I will fear no evil. Pain. I will fear no evil. He crawled, and crawled, inches at a time, towards the peak of the ditch, towards the gun. The gun that would end the pain, and the suffering, and the rain, and the mud, and the evil. I will fear no evil. It took hours for the man to drag himself to the top of the ditch. He was sobbing. Sobbing for his momma. Sobbing for his life. Sobbing for his team. Sobbing. Pain. Pain that would not go away. Pain that seared like a thousand needles. It was Christmas. He began to sing Noel again. "Noel, Noel. Noel, Noel. Born is the king of Israel. The rain turned to snow. Snow fell down, little droplets of pain. But it fell gently, like a million angels sending him messages. I will fear no evil. And, the man did not fear evil as he reached the top of the ditch. The man excepted death. He excepted death, and evil, on Christmas Day. The snow continued to fall down, and the man stopped sobbing. He stopped fearing evil. He stopped wanting his momma. He knew he would be in heaven soon. And he wondered what Christmas Day would be like in heaven. The snow fell on the mans lips. It fell on the mans eyelashes. On and on and on.
December 25th, 1944
December 3, 2009