Author's note: This was originally written for a year nine english assesement, all that was required was to... Show full author's note »
5I could hear the Enemy approaching still, footsteps squelching in the soaked surface of the ground. There were shouts cut short and the rattle of bullets as they begin to finish us. I hauled Davey up, throwing his left arm round my neck and holding onto his shoulder, letting him lean against me for support. Then I began to walk. His feet dangled uselessly, and I was forced to resort to half-carrying him as we went onwards. Our clothes were soaked, weighing us down with each agonising step, and every second a sharp jab of pain pierced my bad arm. I flinched but did not stop. My heart was ablaze with determination. My senses seemed to sharpen, everything intensified as my pulse raced. The bitter cold of the strengthening gusts of wind nipping at my skin, the drizzle of raindrops dripping from the locks of hair that hung over my face in damp strands, the slight stinging at the side of face where the wound to my head still bled, the stench of sweat and gunpowder mixed with the sickly sweet smell of blood. I grimaced as Davey’s head lolled against my shoulder, a sheen of perspiration glistened on his forehead and his chalk white complexion was tinged a deathly grey. ‘Hold on Davey, we’ll soon get you fixed up’ I managed to say through clenched teeth, my muscles straining with his weight. ‘M’ afraid’ he mumbled, and I shook him slightly. ‘Don’t be’ I forced a brightness into my voice, ‘Don’t be afraid Davey, think of home, think of that lovely wife of yours’ He nodded but I wasn’t certain he had fully comprehended my words. I heard the rasp of his breath by my ear and desperately tried to think of anything else as a flutter of Fear for his decreasing health entered my mind, I couldn’t give into fear, not now. I closed my eyes; let myself drift away from the present, away from the whistle of bullets shooting past my ear, away from the screams of others like us and the steady, ever nearing thud thud of the Enemies footsteps. I tried to take myself back home, back to a simpler time.
The incoherent shouts of fear from our allies became the din of cheers and laughter in my school playground, the lost bayonets protruding from the misshapen ground became sticks littering the floor of the wood I had visited frequently as a child with father, the corpses of friends became the hand-stitched dollies that my dear little sister would constantly leave around the polished floors of our house- Davey slipped from my grip, snapping me back into reality as I stumbled, arms flailing desperately to catch him. My damned boots sunk deeper into the mud and I lurched forward, clutching Davey’s arm like I would a life raft if drowning. But it was too late. Davey, unable to hold his own weight, dropped and I let out a cry of despair as my knees buckled and I went down after him. My wrist jarred painfully as I fell and my eyes smarted with tears, they were upon us. There was no time to move, to escape. We, like all the others, had gone over the top, and now it was time to face the consequences. I looked to Davey, making sure to keep my palm beneath his head so his hair did not get more dirty as I felt an Enemies bayonet prod the back of my neck. The rain had stopped.
I shifted on my knees so I could look this Enemy in the eyes, and I was surprised at what I saw. Not a monster, not the devil, just a tall man clad in grey with hair the colour of wheat. I met his eyes, and saw in them no maliciousness, no desire to kill, just a reluctant certainty that there is no choice in the matter, we had all been weaved into a dark game where you must kill to live. ‘Thanks for trying mate, you’re a brave lad’ I heard the words whispered from behind me, and I turned to reply to Davey, but he was already gone. He was gone. I suddenly found it intriguing that the World could keep turning when something so soul shatteringly devastating happened, how odd that life kept moving on when you feel it should just..stop. I heard the man with hair the colour of wheat move his finger to the trigger, and watched the mouth of gun that was aimed at my heart stiffen. I thought of Davey’s last words to me-his last words, ‘You’re a brave lad’. I smiled as the tears escaped out of my half open eyes, warming my cheeks. I knew it would be the last thing I did, perhaps the most important. So I raised a steady fist to my chest and looked up at my end, making sure to meet his eyes. I was not afraid, and held my head high. I would show him, I would show him I had won the war against my fear; I would show him my Bravery.