December 19, 2016
By happypupper, Salt Lick, Kentucky
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happypupper, Salt Lick, Kentucky
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The author's comments:

This is the entire anthology.


      He was dying and he knew it. Lying there in the mud waiting for an embrace colder than the shrill autumn air. The rest of his friends had been torn apart by the same machine gun. He was the last one, but not for long.  Each breath was growing shorter, raspier, harder. Perhaps the stories his mother had told him as a boy were true, that there was a God who was preparing to sweep him away. He felt his grip loosen on his gift from the emperor. He blinked. He felt like not opening his eyes again but he did. Not much longer now. He was freezing in the cold October air. But then he felt a great warmth come upon him. Everything became blinded away by this great light. “Vielleicht sollte es so sein,” he commented.

        He was dying and he knew it. His body was as broken as the plane. He couldn't move and could hardly breath. He managed amongst the pain to stare at Freddy. He sat there by the gun, still in his fighting position. The snow began to melt against the warmth of his cheek. He made a violent cough that stained the snow red with his blood. He could see it now, the letter the king would send to Martha. She would cry and his dear little George would join in the crying too even if he didn’t know why. He felt a hot tear stream down to his scarf. He began to feel warm and everything was blinded by a light. “Perhaps it should be this way,” he commented.


      He was dying and he knew it. The Australian kid had got him as he ran from the village. His very breath was escaping through the hole in his neck. His white uniform was stained red from his persistent bleeding. He thought about his mother and her kindness. He thought about his father who’s rank of general had given him the role of an officer. Then he thought about the beautiful girl back in Constantinople who he would marry. Death was near. He felt his throat begin to clog. He could no longer breath at all. It felt like he was drowning. Then he felt warm, as if he were in a blanket. Then the light took over. “Belki de bu sekilde olmali,” he commented.

       He was dying and he knew it. In fact everyone in the machine gun nest had been done in by that grenade. Several pieces of the shrapnel were sticking out of his coat. There was no life in this place but those who were fighting was one of the many things he had learned during the war, but he was proven wrong. The robin landed on the barrel of the captains rifle that was still pointed at the ready.  He called his young sister a robin many times, for she would always sit up on the branch of his family's willow, singing a           nd humming in her beautiful voice. His breathing slowed. It was almost over. The warmth and the light felt so inviting. “Il faudrait peut-être de cette façon.” He commented.


          He was dying and he knew it. These soft alpine flowers would be his deathbed. All he remembered was hearing that snipers gunshot. He had failed his mama by getting killed. She told him the day he left that if he died in this war like his father and brothers before him that she would have nothing left. He moved his hand to grab his crucifix, and began to pray. Each time he breathed it felt like fire in his lungs. His hands were shaking as he held on to his rifle, because he was simply afraid to die. It is time he thought. I cannot be afraid. Then he fet the crisp air warm up and a light as bright as the sun itself. “Forse dovrebbe essere così.” He commented.

       He was dying and he knew it. The bomber flew overhead. He couldn't feel his legs, simply because they weren't there. He shouldn't be dying like this. He should be at the farm he had promised Alaina. He had told his new wife that the money from the army would get them on their feet, and with a farm that they would never go hungry. He felt tired. Oddly so. Who was going to raise the daughter he had never seen? Then he felt warm. There was a light. “Vozmozhno, ono dolzhno byt’ takim obrazom.” He commented.

        He was dying and he knew it. But he shouldn't be dying. He was hardly a man for God’s sake, he hadn't left the university for this. All he heard were the gunshots, an Italian machine gun squad probably, then the ambulance swerved off the road. Now here he was lying just outside the ambulance in the snow. It felt like every bone in his body was broken, hell, maybe they were. Then he heard it someone crunching through the snow towards him. Then he saw it. The Italian. He just stared at him. Then another. The older one began to cry, and quickly punched the other. Then they began to talk. He understood their accented Italian. Something about shooting an ambulance. Then it all went disappeared into the light. Warmth.  “Vielleicht sollte es so sein.” he commented.

            He was dying and he knew it. He had survived the war, and was now dying the death he had fought for. His wife. His daughter. His sons. All of his grandchildren. Then it all flashed before his eyes. Playing in the snowy brooklyn streets. His mother singing him songs in polish. The girl with curly hair in school. Then the war. The barbed wire. The blood. The artillery. The gas that took his sight. Then he remembered seeing again. His wife at the side of the hospital bed. Then his family. Then there was alight and once again, he could not see. But not in darkness, but light. Warmth. “Perhaps it should be this way” he commented. 

Karl Heiser, German Imperial Army, 12th jaeger division, 1893-1917
Henry Dud, Royal Flying Corps, No.7 Squadron, 1891-1918
Tarkon Harraba, 1st Ottoman Cavalry, 1887-1915
Daniel Bosque, French army, 126e régiment d'infanterie, 1896-1916
Mario Pastoiva, Italian Army, 52nd infantry unit, 1900-1918
Aleixi Harkov, Russian Imperial Army, 33rd army corps,1897-1916
Lukas Maximilian, Austro Hungarian Imperial Army, 5th Medical Corps, 1895-1918
Phillip White, United States Army, 2nd Rifle Division, 1897-1982
         All these characters are fictional. But the war they fought in was real though. World war one was the first ever global war, being fought from the trenches of France to the dry deserts of Mesopotamia. It was the first war to see the extensive use of chemical warfare, machine guns, planes, tanks, and trench warfare. It marked the end of old ways of warfare such as the calvary, colorful uniforms, and firing volleys. It also carved the map of Europe, ended European aristocracy, and for the first time war was viewed not as an honorable thing, but as a horrible, hellish thing. These men all died. Maybe they went to Heaven. Maybe the went Jannah. Maybe they went to Nirvana. Maybe the were reincarnated. I don’t know where they went, but I imagine it’s nice there.

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