Combat and burnt gunpowder stench clogged the air and fell heavy on tired boys that were taking rest after 83 hour long fight. We all needed time to patch up, sleep, eat, bring in the reinforcements, count the dead and move them from the battlefield. Even the enemy fire turned silent, but few gunshots here and there weren’t enough to provoke a full frontal charge.
The whole company was asleep but me who stands guard at the corner of the trench where we had a bridge made and covered with dirt two feet high. I was hiding my cigarette, bowed every time I wanted to take a whiff, and blew it down so enemy snipers couldn’t find me that fast. My eyes wanted to close, but mind played nasty games, made me see ghosts running in the fog rifles in hand, growl in front of them as their stomps lifted the dry dirt, pounding like a migraine in my lobe. I was frantically looking their movement, eagerly wanted to wake up the trench and point at the incoming line that was breaking among the busted tanks, barbed wire barricades and slow burning dead bodies in bomb craters, but voice refused to exit the throat. It was all in my mind – I spoke to myself and hoped I wasn’t wrong.
– Take five, private. – words hit me like an echo coming from the distance, even when Sargent was just above me, standing on the bridge with a hot steaming cup of joe in his hand.
No time to wash face and shave was the way he looked, although the black dirt could be responsible for that strong jaw appearance.
– Thank you, Sarge. I’m fine Sarge. – I thought that were the words I said, but that was just in my mind, I was being quiet.
– Didn’t you heard me boy? You can take rest na’? They are tired as dogs too. They ain’t coming for the next few hours. – he even smiled now, but my pale and long face haven’t played any emotion nor expression, like I was a corpse, – We stood this one out. Mighty good I’d say. Someday, someone will make a paycheck writing about what we endured yesterday. Nobody can put a price on fighting for the Motherland, nobody. True patriotism is priceless. Do hear me private? Priceless. – he said and his cup broke spilling the steam of hot joe to the ground where a piece of white porcelain fell at my hand, then a red stain started magnifying on the Sergeant’s uniform when a shot sounded out and another bullet took him down inside the trench.
He fell flat on the ground and I didn’t move, like all of that was a mind trick.
Quick turn to the battlefield and there it was, a rustling sound of uncut grass, a stomp of boots, a gear jingling and slow specters rising from the fog – an enemy charge.
– DURIOOONS!!! – I screamed, when a hail of comets began flashing before me and howl of angry soldiers thundered along with their weapons.
Trench was in the move, but some were too tired to wake up. Those that were on their feet haven’t paid attention for what weapon they took, just grabbed what was close to them – one even carried his friend’s blown off limb like a bazooka on his shoulder. Voicferous shouts, rachet noise, cries tried to wake up fighting men followed by slaps on the cheek, angry jerking of the uniforms and unintentional stepping on their legs that didn’t had effect. Total disorder. I haven’t felt when the bullet slashed my helmet, just warmth of it and slowly growing pain on the back of my head.
Like a wave, Durions entered the trench flooding our ranks with fire, smoke and blades. Fistfight ten feet away took my gaze while dozen Durion soldiers used their bayonets to cut open the lads that were in a sleeping coma. Died while dreaming. Gradually the sight gained a dark red shade where motions danced like in an abstract theater, bending, stretching, rolling over one another, strangling the enemy, biting their necks, arms, legs.
Sky blackened in a moment, but when I looked up, there was an enemy soldier staring at me, holding his rifle at my head like he was afraid he would miss from this distance. He slightly elevated my helmet and touched my skin with the cold barrel before he pulled the trigger.
Life is a price of true patriots. Life pays for freedom in advance. Life is price we paid, and life is worthless to some.
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