Thursday, February 3, 2011

Old Glory

"Keep alive out there." the grizzled veteran yelled to the shaking recruit.

One could hardly hear over the roaring of the engine,the bouncing of the bed and the screams of his country men. The blast echoed all around, mortars, gunfire, echoed all around, ripping through flesh vibrating deep inside against his pounding heart. The veteran had played the game before, he knew the rules or lack thereof. Point and shoot, run and fall, fight and try not to die. The same game his father had played, his fathers fathers, and his fathers, fathers, fathers.
The recruit shook, from his head down to his feet, shook like a child falling into a winter brook. The brook back at home, shook like that time his brothers and him went to the brook in winter, to run, to play, to venture into the unknown frozen land. He had fallen in, after proceeded farther on a frozen bank that was just not frozen enough. He had fallen in, its freezing waters engulfing him, in a panic he tried to call out, but the call was a silent one under the ice. Only bubbles of air escape the icy current. Thank god his brothers had been there or he would have frozen to death under that river, dying ten miles away from home instead of thousands of miles away today.
The veteran eyed the recruit, with paternal eyes that seemed to affect men once they'd seen to many young faces in the dirt. "God how old is this kid, whats he doing here?" A mortar shell erupts, splaying earth across his faces, the sound of mud thudding against his helmet a wanton reminder of the severity of the situation. An inkling of panic rises up, the personal dialogue had kept him off guard. The off setting push into this ghastly reality has caused a moment of discombobulation. But the animal keeps him calm, the man has fear, but the animal survives. The explosions go off all around them, a fireworks display on a deadly level.

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