A War-torn City

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic

This is a descriptive essay of a city which has been torn apart by war. The essay is from a young girl's perspective as she views the destruction.

The smoke hung over the decapitated city as if it were a blanket. A repulsive blanket. It seeped through the nostrils and mouths and resided in the lungs causing its owners to cough in discomfort. I stumbled my way through the dense smoke, covering my nose and mouth with a dirty, torn handkerchief, leaving my eyes to water. I tripped over what I first thought was a tree root or a rather large rock, but in later years I realised it could have been something else.

I reached a part of town which was not obscured in smoke and lowered my handkerchief, experiencing a moment's relief, until I took in my surroundings. Buildings were crumbling and sinking to the ground, covered with bullet holes and smeared with what dreadfully looked like blood. Craters and cracks considered themselves to be the perfect decorative pieces for the road. I glanced at one such crater to my left and peered inside it. It was still emitting smoke, but faintly, as if it had already exhausted its supply of the horrible substance. It contained nothing except ash, which also formed a two inch carpet on the rest of the structures present.

I was about to start walking, having seen enough, when an awful stench radiated towards me. I stopped abruptly, searching for the source of this foul odour. I soon found it. It wouldn't be so difficult to miss the repugnant sight presenting itself before me. A towering pile of the carcasses of unfortunate individuals, who were in the range of the enemy's gunfire and bombs. The ones at the base were completely covered in ash. Their features were unrecognisable and squished due to the crushing weight of the bodies above. They appeared to be nothing more than oddly shaped rocks. The ones at the top had blackened faces, with missing body parts that were still oozing blood and pus. These liquids then intertwined with each other forming a small stream which was flowing down the pyramid, into a large puddle. I turned, feeling as if my stomach was about to omit the canned beans I had for lunch. I resisted the impulse to retch, not wanting to dirty this ruined city, which had once been the most beautiful one, any more.

I continued walking, unable to get the images of the bodies out of my head. It seemed like no one else had been able to either. The wails of distressed wives, children and other family members rang through the air. A small, stray puppy was whimpering as it scampered along the debris, with only three legs. It was black, but had a layer of ash on it so thick, that its fur seemed grey with only tufts of black fur peeping through. I looked down, not wanting to see any more induced deformations, when I saw another one, lying with his mouth lolling open, a few feet in front of me. His face was bloody, with the right half missing a huge chunk. The two eyesockets which adorned the upper part of his face, lay empty. His clothes were dirty and tattered and covered with a fine layer of dirt. The part of his body which was supposed to be present in his right sleeve was nowhere to be seen, leaving a gnawed on stump in its place. Judging by the smell and the layer of grime, he had been dead for about a day. I made a wide circle around him to avoid the stench. My head started spinning.

What had happened to this city which had once been the most extravagant, most visited and most fawned upon one? I could see my confusion mirrored on several other faces as they stood, peeping out of their windows, looking at the destruction with glazed eyes. I couldn't stop the rivers of emotion from seeping out of my eyes and hastily wiped them away, forming swirly patterns on the dirt which covered my face. It was all too much. I crumpled onto my knees, holding my stomach as if I had been punched and let my tears flow freely, fearing what tomorrow would bring. 

Submitted: June 01, 2018

© Copyright 2023 Harnoor C. All rights reserved.

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Ian D. Mooby

A very intense scene that was filled with emotions that you do a great job expressing. I would concur with Simon Clemens this is no essay, this belongs in another category, possibly even part of a larger work. A line from the first paragraph says that this person survives so this could be turned into a story of their survival in this worn torn city, just a suggestion.

Sun, August 12th, 2018 2:34pm


Wow... I did not think of that... I'll try and make a survival story based on this... Thank you so much for the idea :)

Mon, August 13th, 2018 9:42am

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