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Bravery

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Author's note: This was originally written for a year nine english assesement, all that was required was to...  Show full author's note »
Author's note: This was originally written for a year nine english assesement, all that was required was to write an account of a soldier going 'over the top' in the first world war. Since creative writing means a lot to me, I thought I'd add a bit more detail and well...this is what happened!  « Hide author's note
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4

My eyes widened and I ventured forward cautiously, crouching beside the shape. ‘Can you stand, do you need help?’ I said, unable to keep the tremor out of my voice. The shape looked up at me from where it lay, and I saw something flicker in those eyes....something like recognition. I felt my heart stop. ‘Davey’ I gasped, staring down at the man who gave me a cigarette the first day I arrived, the man who I ate with, worked with, talked about home to, who sat opposite me every morning with a mug of tea between his hands and told me about his wife and his dog and his shoe shop in London. He smiled weakly up at me and coughed, I felt a wave of nausea rise in the pit of my stomach when I saw the flecks of red dotting his lips. ‘You're hurt’ I mumbled, struck dumb with disbelief. This is not real I told myself, this is not possible, this cannot happen. Davey nodded slowly, and I opened my mouth to reply, a panicked yell filled the air before I could. ‘Christ, CHRIST....it’s jerry, jerry’s coming-The Germans are coming!’
Time seemed to stop. Everything I was seeing was slowed, colourless and blurred. It was as if I was distanced from it all, like watching through a window. Men were standing, running frantically, sprinting to widen the distance between themselves and...Oh. It was them. The enemy I had never seen, the evil I had never met, the demons I had spoke of and heard of that sent the shells and the bullets that took our friends. They were advancing, marching in rhythm to each other, their uniform a pale grey that matched the gloom of the sky. They seemed untouched by the now torrential rain, unhindered by the bullets that some of us were sending their way. My breathing quickened, my heart thundering against my ribcage as I watched them come at us, coming to finish us off. The terror that I had harboured since first arriving at the Trenches, the terror I had been fighting my own losing war against for the best part of six months, finally won out. I clamped my mouth shut in an attempt to stifle the scream, tucking my head between my knees and rocking back and forth as it hit me like a fist to the gut. It was taking the breath from me, blinding me; it was an unearthly howling in my ears, a searing agony that wracked my body as I fought to stop the rising bile in my throat. I was so, so sickeningly afraid. ‘What’s going on?’ Davey said somewhere from quietly beside me, I jerked upright and stared down at him. He was barely conscious, his breathing shallow and his eyelids flickered. I watched his features contort with pain, and something remarkable happened. The Fear began to shrivel and slink away to the back of my mind, overwhelmed by something else entirely, a desire to protect Davey at all costs, to do anything it would take to stop him dying out there alone in No-man’s land. I took a deep breath and swallowed, my dry throat clenching painfully, but the weight of my fear was gone from my body, and that was what mattered. I knew it was time to have courage for Davey, which was what he needed from me.
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