All The World's A Stage- Part one of anoter war story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Another dissected war story. Please enjoy...

Submitted: August 15, 2012

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Submitted: August 15, 2012

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All The World’s A Stage

Dawn breaks; with it comes the harsh, unforgiving sound of gunfire and the feeling of terror and utter dread that accompanies every daybreak.

Our Commanding Officer, one Officer Redmount, comes to ensure that we are all awake. As if any of us could sleep with German machine-guns booming just a few hundred feet away.

I look across at my fellow soldiers and see the mix of fear, horror and an acceptance of certain death in their eyes. This war is beginning to kill us all, emotionally as well as physically. We all know that we will die in this war. It is simply a matter of time.

Our trench is mercifully dry, thanks to some well-placed corrugated iron, but quite cramped and dingy. Attached to the wall are three bunks, which we each use in turns. There is one telephone and one water tap on the far side of the room. The telephone is never much use because of the recent bout of crossed wires. We have little to no contact with Base, unless they send a messenger with a telegram.

Everyone jumps slightly as a bomb goes off in No-Man’s-Land. A single cry, surprisingly high-pitched, can be heard. More people killed, more lives lost in an idiotically futile attempt to gain a few feet of land. We have no hope whatsoever. We have clumsy rifles; they have super-efficient machine-guns. We will be slaughtered like so many of our brethren.

As the cold light of early morning spreads across the sky, showing the grey lethargy of our new shortened lives and living quarters, I reflect on how I came to be part of this wretched war.

The posters were part of the main reason, the largest part being that I need to provide for my wife, Elizabeth and daughter, Emily. The posters drew me in, printed images of our country’s men leading the English army to victory.

The propaganda really amazes me. It is the one thing that shows us how stupid they think we are. They glorify the death by telling us that it is the only way to win this war. It is disgusting and inglorious. How do they justify mindless slaughter? How do they encourage it? False glory is what the thousands of young men signing war application forms believe in. they are as lambs to the slaughter, ready to be culled and flung aside like meat.

Nobody has moved or spoken in what seems to be an hour. The gunfire, as always, has not ceased since dawn, and will, as always, continue until the dark of night. Occasionally, another scream can be heard as one more life is claimed by our enemies.

Suddenly, the sound of gunfire vanishes. There is no greater shock than that of the absence of a noise that has always been there, and this became evident on the faces of my fellow trench men. A silence fell on the trench, an awkward stressed silence. We are all listening with bated breath. A minute goes by. Two. It is now that I dare to hope, even think it…ceasefire? Maybe they have run out of ammunition?

Our Commanding Officer stands and clears his throat.

"There appears to be a ceasefire. We should hear from Base, soon," he says, voice showing absolutely no emotion. What seems unusual, however, is the amount of emotion that his face is showing. His facial expression is usually that of a wall; stony and impassive. Now, you can see hope etched onto the face that you could normally iron on. Hope, and uncertainty.

Ten minutes have gone by, now, and there has been no message from Base. The phone lies idle and silent in its cradle. We hear a knock, a messenger must be on the other side, telegram clasped in his fist. Our Commanding Officer strides across the room and opens the door in one smooth, yet eager motion.

A messenger stands on the other side, uniform spotless, zealous in his work. The complete opposite of us soldiers. Officer Redmount holds out his hand to receive the telegram that undoubtedly awaits us.

"A telegram from Base, Officer." Even speaking, he sounds keen and full of life. The telegram is produced and handed over. Our Commanding Officer unfolds it whilst closing the door in the messenger’s face. As he reads it, his face takes on a different hue, paler. He looks slightly afraid and shocked. He finishes reading it and turns to us with agony in his eyes.

……………………………….........................


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