ARROWS AND BAYONETS
I cannot hear a sound, only a resonating beep that does not stop. There is a prevailing cloud of gunpowder that hinders my breathing, and the rain disguises a strange odor that I cannot name. My vision is blurry, my body is numb, and my memory is murky.
As my body lies unresponsive on the wet soil, I struggle to organize my thoughts and remember where I am. Had I been crawling away? If so, away from what?
There is blood and mud all over my hands and face, this is the smell I perceived. Trying to smear it off only makes it worse. It's no use.
“Nick!” - a voice shouts from beneath the dust and debris - “can you hear me? Help!”
My comrade cries, waving desperately with his bleeding arm. I am crawling through dried, crumbled leaves as I reach him. I sit up on my knees and grab his right arm in hopes to lift him up. Soon enough, I have become startled by what I see. The blood is pouring out of his arm, for he is missing a hand.
“Nick, your head.” - He states shockingly - “How are you still moving?”
“What?” - I reach for my head, and tap it for the second pain allows me.
“Don't touch it!” - Maurice cries.
It does not hurt, but I figured the severity from my comrade's reaction. I suddenly recall how it happened. I had been shot as close range by a young French man, whose blue eyes pierced right through mine, and in whom I saw just as much fear as in myself. Somebody pulled me away on time, little did I know at that instant, it had been Maurice himself. I am still injured, and part of my skull is missing. However, I feel no pain, but I know shouldn't be alive.
I am now carrying my comrade on my shoulder, dragging him out from where he was buried, pulling his two broken legs from the mud. I roam through the remnants of our camp, the bodies of our fallen brothers and those of the enemy, discreetly searching for Maurice's lost hand. I am not quite sure if he has noticed because he, also, is not agonizing.
“Did nobody else survive?” - He murmurs in dazed and faintly tone.
I turn my head and scan the area quickly, resisting the urge to close my dry and heavy eyes while fighting the smoke and dust in the air. The only sound we hear is the fire burning down our tents, and the only movements are coming from the flames, the clouds of smoke and dirt, and the autumn leaves.
“Seems not...” - I say as I stumble and struggle to keep our weights up.
At this time, he is no longer conscious. I tap him on the shoulder, shouting at him but I can't hear my own voice. I hear a different sound, however. I hear birds singing.