Fictional Narrative : Battlewounds

 
“Incoming!” I heard someone yell, as I was buried deep into my foxhole. German artillery began raining down. The flashes of light from the horrifying fireworks show displayed a battleground full of the unfortunate souls who had lost their lives to this terrible war. The artillery fire abruptly stopped, and all was completely silent, dead silent. The only thing that made sense that you were still alive was the smell of fire and smoke and the yells and cries of those who had been hit screaming “MEDIC!” War is absolute hell, I just wished that this would be all over soon, so I could see my newlywed wife, Karen.

The ground began to rumble and the sound that every infantryman dreads along with it. The roar of a diesel engine, a two treaded beast, a tiger in the jungle. “Tiger tank! fall back!” I hollard, but it was too late, the foxhole next to mine turned into smoke. When the debris settled after the vicious beasts attack, everything in the hole vanished, like some sick magic trick. My adrenaline was pumping and I grasped my gun. My buddy next to me was shouting at me, but I couldn’t understand what he was saying, all I heard were bells ringing in my ears. He pointed and I understood he wanted to bug out. I nodded at him. As soon as he stood up to run, I heard a crack and was showered in a bloody rain. He dropped like a sack of potatoes. I was alone, just me and a corpse in a foxhole, surrounded by tanks. It was all over for me, I believed this is where I would have my last breath. I grasped my rifle like a child’s teddy bear and just prayed, and remembered there are no atheists in foxholes.

As day broke I heard boots outside my foxhole. Five stone faced Krauts heads popped up over the ridge of my foxhole yelling, “Übergabe! Übergabe! Übergabe!” I just looked at them with a confused face as they stared at my rifle and threatening to take my life at the same time. I put my hands up immediately knowing if I didn’t I would buy myself a ticket straight to the afterlife. One of the Krauts took my rifle, my best friend. They walked me to a collection of prisoners. Among them was my best friend Thomas. I offered him a smile to show him that I was glad he was alive. My reward was a rifle butt directly to the face, causing blood to cascade everywhere. My vision began to get narrower and narrower until all I saw was black.

“Gentlemen, welcome to the best of the best re-education camp, ” rang out a voice on the loudspeaker. I looked around and all I could see was barbed wire, and German machine gun nests. There was no escaping this place, at least not right now. A group of boys and men dressed in what seemed to be pajamas was walking past us with about a dozen armed guards. They walked into a building that had a sign that said ‘Shower House’ above the doors. I noticed up on the balcony there was a German with a gas mask. “Why does he need the gas mask?” I asked Thomas. “Trust me friend, you don’t want to know,” Thomas stammered. After around ten minutes they began dragging bodies out of the “Shower House” and bringing them to a “factory” next store. I looked at Thomas in horror.  I had been lied to about this place being a re-education camp. I now knew better. This is a death camp.

Soon it was night, and we were so kindly guided at bayonet point to our bunk houses. The beds were just planks of wood. I knew I would not get any sleep. At least we got to pick the people we laid next to. I chose a spot next to Thomas of course. “We have to get out of here,” Thomas whispered to me. “No shit, but how? The place is surrounded by barbed wire and machine guns. We’ll get shredded the moment we try,” I said regretfully. I turned to the other side and tried to get some sleep.

I was woken up to the sound of a yelling German in my face. I just gave him a confused look, and he socked me one right in the kisser. “What the hell was that for?” I screamed at him. He pointed to the spot where Thomas had been last night, except Thomas was not there. He walked me outside. I saw Thomas on his knees with twenty rifle barrels pointing at him. ‘He tried to escape last night, I should be right there with him,’ I thought to myself. I was shoved behind Thomas and given a Luger with one round in it. The German pointed at Thomas. They were making me kill my best friend. Those sick bastards. I shook my head and was slapped. With tears streaming down I regretfully pointed the gun at my best friend. I closed my eyes and pulled the trigger. Bang! The shot rang out and moments later a thud.

Weeks had past and I had still not forgiven myself for my weakness of pulling the trigger.  I just sulked around the prison and got kicked and beaten by the guards when I refused to pick up a shovel or do a simple task. I was broken, there was no hope for me or the rest of the crew that was here with me. We might as well be dead.

Dawn broke this morning, and I was woken up by the sound of a siren. Twenty German troop escorted us out of our bunks and began to line us up against a wall. “What the hell is happening,” I shouted. The ally next to me pointed to the hill that was swarming with Allied troops. The Germans began tying our hands and putting blindfolds over our heads. I couldn’t see anything except the ground inches away from my feet. I hear the bolt of a rifle and shot fired with a thud coming after it. This happened again and again. I realized that they were killing us when freedom was just a mile away. Tears began streaming down my face. I had counted twenty shots, and I knew I was twenty first in line. As I was making my peace I heard the bolt of the rifle. This was it. This was the end. Moments later I heard a thud, and the blindfold was ripped off my face. “You’re going to need this,” a French rebel smiled and handed me a rifle. Time for justice.

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Tankman of Tiananmen Square

tank man

You stand there carrying your bags
With a straight back.
As iron terror comes treading down the street.
You bring them to a grinding halt with an icy stare;
because you are a freedom fighter.
An agent of justice.

The showdown begins,
Man versus machine.
You refuse to stand down.
The tanks try to detour around you,
yet you move in front of the beasts.
Not allowing even one iron giant to pass.

You know you could be terminated for this civil disobedience,
but you know the terror they will cause if you refuse to act.

As you gaze into the barrels of evil.
You tune out the yells and commands of the engineers.
You refuse to quit
You are a soldier of peace,
A protector of the innocent.

You are the Tankman of Tiananmen Square.