Inner peace

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic

After 9 days of travel,war songs and insults,during which he managed to make everyone hate him,
John found himself heading to the front.After all he was a mathematician and a pacifist.In army`s words a coward.In the sergeant`s words a faggot. 

John was small and thin.With his round glasses he looked like a mathematician.His sharp crooked nose was always in a book.And had almost no facial hair. 
yet he was smart .And had a lot of potential,a job as a teacher and his neighbor`s daughter Ginny waiting for him.
Until he got the letter of recruitment.

For the past couple of days and as they drew closer to the battlefront,John used every technique in the book inner peace.That he always kept with him 
to distract himself from the fear that paralyzed him,when he thought,how they must be losing the war that even he got drafted.

2 hours away from his death,as he was constantly reminded;

It was a cold morning with almost no sunlight.Just the weather he preferred to be reading at home.Or for his early stroll with Ginny.But he was not home nor was he with Ginny.This time was different.

Miles stretched endlessly ahead.The cold winds hissed penetrating his oversized coat,made his legs heavy and weak and unable to support him.
He tried to avoid the sight of torn limbs and disemboweled corpses that turned black dirt red.Producing a sickening scent in the air.

In the temporary safety of his squad,John finally reached the battleground.On their left stood a high mountain with icy summit.
On their right remnants of a village.And before them laid a half burnt valley ending with a thick forest.The valley seemed to have seen war.

John was lifeless,being pushed and dragged by soldiers taking their battle formation,sergeants yelling the orders officers gave.
Tanks stirred the ground as they moved.war cries echoed high.Finally silence fell,at the sight of;thousands of men in black uniform emerging from the forest across.
John realized that his brave comrades were quivering.All those drunk stories of war and glory,confronted with the harsh reality,as enemy forces approached.
No book could`ve prepared him for this.

Thousands of black tanks came rushing.Behind them infinite numbers of soldiers.John and his comrades stood bewitched.As a roaring cry tore through the lines behind them;
"HERE THEY COME! ......"MEN TAKE AIM ...PREPARE TO FIRE!".It was the colonel.
The troops livened up with a fearless cry as if resurrected,the platoon sergeant with his muscular body erect,veins protruding from his neck as he shouted,
The multitudes loud cheers rocked John`s body.As he stared at the enemy.Around him men growling,a man beside him spat and said;
 "Come closer you sons of bitches". 

"Still out of tank`s reach .." replied another.

John`s body was shaking and his heart was beating vigorously,trying to flee his chest.He`s stomach rumbling.His legs betrayed him.As he fell to his knees,Fragments of images flashed through his head:
His old room,the day of his graduation,his plans for the future shared with his beloved Ginny,how brave he promised her he would be,he tried to remember anything he had read about bravery, 
but His mind was blank.
He felt an urge to run away if it weren`t for his powerless legs.Tears came pouring from his eyes,he thought of death,then mumbled "I don`t want to die.. "
John didn`t make sense of the noise around him,until a cold deep voice echoed  "On your feet private!".
John screamed" I don`t want to die!".

The sergeant quickly grabbed him from his coat "I SAID ON YOUR FEET,YOU FUCKING COWARD ",

"Please I want to go home ..." John wept.

As the enemy closed in,men looked around nervously, 

"sarg!..they`re coming!"whimpered a man.

"WHAT IN GOD`S NAME ARE DOING?!"exclaimed the platoon`s officer as he approached from the front lines.

The sergeant quickly glanced at the advancing troops ahead,the coming officer,then fixed his cold blue eyes into John`s,with his teeth grinding;

"Get on your feet or die on your knees".. John was silent.

"I won`t have you make a frenzy "he decided ,as he drew his pistol in John`s face...

"LEAVE HIM".... commanded the officer as he got closer," THERE`S NO TIM______!!" a shot fired at the enemy interrupted.
More shots followed, 


Chaos struck amidst the ranks,soldiers were leaving their posts,
"THEY`LL KILL US ALL!"yelled someone.fearful noises arose,as the officers and sergreants tried to regain control.

The platoon officer went back running to the front,pushing whoever stood in his way,shouting "to your stations!... Reload!".

suddenly the enemy stopped midway.Everyone froze.

"what the .." murmured the platoon officer. 

The sergeant lowered his gun.squinted at the enemy troops,then whispered

"still out of reach "...he went on "this cannot be..." a man sighed "they stopped .. thank God ...thank G___". 

"INCOMING!"screamed the sergeant,hundreds of tanks came raining fire from behind the mountain.




Mud splattered around.As the shots came exploding from above like hot lava.
Soldiers were pushing one another,each man running for his life.
Some taking cover others were shooting randomly,"STAND YOUR GROUND YOU FUCKING COWARDs .... RETURN FIRE!" yelled the sergeant as he reached his commanding officer.
"They`re attacking the front also,sir!" continued the sergeant "We`re getting hammered from both sides"...
"How the fuck did this happen?" replied the officer.

John compressed his knees into his chest.His eyes were shut tightly,as he sobbed on the ground,he recited whatever came to his mind,
"DELIVER US FROM EVI__",a heavy body fell on top of him,as a splash of blood covered his face.with it`s taste on his lips,he slowly opened his eyes,
to a blown faced corpse.John screamed as he pushed it over and  vomited violently.

John crawled through pools of blood,the stench of flesh filled the battlefield,thick smoke blurred his vision and choked him,as gunpowder burnt his nostrils,throat and chest. 
Men`s screams echoed loud.louder were the explosions that quaked the earth.random shapes of soldiers clashing as they ran away.

Finally he was able to stand to his feet.Everything moved much faster than it was,except for him.His legs barely took a step.
Bullets whistled as they passed his lowered head.He bent his body as he firmly placed his hands across his face,while his shoulders shrugged in an instinctive manner.

John escaped from the ambush and to the middle.And so did the entire left flank.The remaining troops were fleeing.Behind them waves of enemy`s fire.
The front lines suffered heavy casualties.Hardly any tank survived.The enemy was now attacking from both sides.Forcing them to retreat to the heart of the battlefield.

John was out of breath,and his body was pushed to it`s limit.Black fog crept around him,through it came shots hailing in every direction,
He jumped over corpses and wounded soldiers.Burning men looked possessed as they screamed and shook,John did not turn no matter how many people called for help.
Dead or dying it made no difference.He only saw the village over the hill.



John had passed the right flank.When a voice called" Professor ".John turned to see a familiar looking boy on the ground.With a wound to his chest.
It took him a moment to recognize the boy.He had been one of his college students.John froze.

"Please help me ...."said the boy.

"I will get help " lied John as he turned,thinking it was too late for the boy anyway.
"No please don`t .. don`t leave me here "begged the boy. 

"I am sorry ..." replied john.took a few steps,then quickly went back to the boy.

"It`ll be okay"said John,as he attempted to carry the boy but failed.He then lifted the boy`s upper body and dragged him.

As he moved the boy slowly through the battlefield.Every instinct he had urged him to leave the boy and save himself,except for chapter 6 _Courage_ of his book inner peace.
He had memorized every word of the book.Afterall it had been his true companion these past 9 days.He quickly glimpsed at his left chest pocket where the book was,perhaps acknowledging its existence.

The boy`s groans interrupted John`s thoughts.

"We`re nearly there,just hold on a bit longer " said John while struggling to hold the boy.He could hear the trumpets declaring their retreat.


They arrived at the hill,to find hunderds of men retreating from the battlefield.As their garrisoned comrades above exchanged fire with the pushing enemy.
The hill became the last line of defense. 

John finally stopped pulling the boy.His back cracked as he straightened it.His ribs were sore.His exhausted hands were trembling.Before him laid the steep rocky hill.
He knew he couldn`t drag the body up.Until that point,he had wished for the boy`s death,to free him from the burden.
But at that moment he felt the urge to save him.Even John didn`t know why.

The boy looked pale and dead,his eyes were closed and he had stopped making noises.

"Hey!.. hey,you hear me? " John asked.

The boy moaned in reply.John`s face lightened up.
"Alright just hang in there. I`ll get you up there, I promise!"..

HE then arched his spine as he slightly groaned in pain,then carried the boy on his back.he immediately fell to his knee.he murmured"oh god".the boy weighed like an entire squad.


John tried to firmly plunge his unsteady legs up the slope.His heavy boots sunk in the slipping dirt beneath him.Veins pumped up around his neck and through his red face,squeezing his eyes out.
Sweat rained down from his boiling head.As he had to remind himself to breathe.

A tank`s shot flew up the hill,sent a whole squad up in a fountain of blood and dirt.John barely observed the damage above,
When a second rifle shot passed his head,and pierced the hill.John turned to a man down,taking eye shut.Breath held and ready to fire.
A third shot from atop the hill,drilled the man`s eye,awakening John.

John looked up in surprise,to a bald man with big moustache yelling."What are you waiting for kid?!"the man continued .. " Get your ass up here! ".

A few steps away.John had almost made it to the top,when his spine snapped.He shrieked loudly.As his feet let go from the ground,and his back thrown in the air.A sudden grip seized John`s coat.
"Come on kid" grunted the bald man,while struggling to lift John and the boy,the man then took the boy.John sighed in relief.He knew he finally made it. 


John felt a firey spear piercing through his left shoulder.He knew he had been shot.This time the man couldn`t catch him.He rolled down the slope,twirling and twisting as he hit the sharp rocks,then with a loud thud he collapsed to the ground,surrounded by enemies.

John`s body was ruptured.It`s heat exceeded that of his shoulder`s wound,blood came flowing out.With his fractured spine he barely raised his head,to notice his smashed left knee and the bone protruding from his thigh.

Rifles cocked aiming at came running towards him,he reached for his belt but didn`t find his pistol,he grabbed what he found instead.threw it up above.then quickly touched his chest pocket while his left hand shielded his face.

A man screamed; 



Black clouds erupted in its core an orange spark flashed.A rumbling thud blasted...Everything blackened as a high pitched noise rang in John`s ear.




"Looks like the piece of shit is waking up" ...a cold voice alerted John.he woke up in a dark place only lit by a few lanterns.around him laid other wounded men.The blurry figure to whom the voice belonged stood above him.
Beside him another who seemed to be a medic.

 "Sergeant?" asked John hardly.

 "You`ve come a long way private " replied the sergreant.
 "What time is it ?" John wondered.
"Time for you to head home...I mean,if any of us gets to,we`re surrounded.Ass spread wide and come tomorrow we`ll get rammed".
He paused for a second,then continued while holding John`s book;

"That last chapter is a powerful read.. Acceptance,it`s something to think about" Then tossed the book to John`s side,and left. 
John observed his book now torn and reddish.the word peace burnt.It read inner...


John sighed deeply.His body ached.Suddenly he glimpsed his bloody blanket,removed it in haste.
To realize,his left leg was gone,and so was his left arm....



Submitted: October 26, 2016

© Copyright 2021 mohamedmoustafa. All rights reserved.

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