Thursday, September 30, 2010


The tattered blinds, barely fending off the unyielding morning sun, cast slatted shadows across my desk like forlorn trenches. My imagination wanders from the well worn keys to view embattled soldiers clambering over the breastwork into the shadowed trenches-a window to a war all but forgotten in the midst of horrorfare. The captain of this invisible squad allows his men a moment of rest, his thoughts wandering as always to his wife home in London, and his promise to return home to her. Yet here he was, putting his life on the line for the safety of his men, peering warily over the ridge of the trench. Only two shadows lie between the squad and the safety of the windowsill, the captain let himself begin to hope.

A crack rang out like the first thunderclap of a storm echoing across a lonesome valley. The captain whipped his head around, searching desperately for the telltale spray of blood, another man down. Instead he saw his newest private staring in disbelief at the greased rag still touching his rifle. Before the young soldier could choke out an apology, before even the captain could begin to register his mounting fury, a clod of dirt puffed past the captain's face. In the next few moments time seemed to be suspended in an impossible world of light and sound and the sickeningly sweet smell of blood now coating the trench, bodies half tossed through the air, the screaming banshees of mortars adding to the confusion. In a single moment of clarity amid the chaos, the captain watched in slow motion as a grenade swung heavily over the edge of the trench, landing at his feet like an unwanted gift.

Ding! Alarm goes off, time for class!

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