Through the Blood and Mud

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The Path I tread

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My legs ached as I continued further upon the trail. My rifle over my shoulder, helmet strapped tight upon my head, and sweat dripped from my forehead. My boots thumped against the dirt road with every step I took. As I walked forward, I was alone with my thoughts. I thought what I would do after the war, or if I would even see the end of the war. I wondered if the war would last for decades to come, or if I would die trying to reach its end. The cool October wind blew against my face, I felt relief as the wind cooled my cheeks. Breathing in the cool air and exhaling my warm breath, I felt somehow comforted from the feeling of the gentle Autumn breeze against my skin. It however did not last long.

The load roars of propellers filled the sky above me. I looked up and I thought is was one of our dogfighters. But as I looked closer, I saw that on the side of the planes, I saw the distinguished cross of the German Army. They got closer to the ground and started to fire their mounted guns. I started to run as fast as I could. Sprinting with my rifle now in my hand. The bullets hit the road all around me, causing dirt to come flying upwards with every bullet hitting the earth. The fighters took turns firing at me, I then saw a town ahead of me. I felt an instant spark of hope, I sprinted faster towards the town. The planes still taking shots at me. I could see myself getting closer and closer. But before I could reach the town, a felt a sharp pain in the back of my shoulder. The impact was so powerful, it knocked me over. As I tried to get back up I felt another sharp pain in my leg. I screamed in pain as I saw blood coming from my shoulder and leg. It was then when I realized that I was hit by two bullets.

My mind raced as I slowly bled out, I breathed heavily as I started to feel lightheaded. However I then noticed, the pilots must have thought they killed me, and started to fly off. I struggled to get back up, however my leg couldn’t support my weight and I collapsed to the ground. I then grabbed my rifle from the ground and used it to help me walk. I slowly limped my way into the town, passing by houses. I then collapsed in front of a house, my vision slowly turned to black.

When I woke, I was in what seemed to be a bedroom. I was laying on a bed with bandages covering my leg and shoulder. I slowly sat up, I looked around the room. It was dimly lit by a lantern, there was a chair in the corner of the room. As I scanned the room, I noticed that the door of the room was slightly open and there was a small girl behind it, staring at me. I then spoke.

“Hey, what is your name?” She concealed herself behind the door.

“Wait. Here.” I said as I rummaged around my pockets. I picked through my pockets until I found a biscuit packaged in a silver bag. I took the biscuit out of the package and held it out towards the little girl, offering it to her. She revealed to herself from behind the old wooden door. She approached slowly towards me. Looking at me, I smiled at her. She smiled back and grabbed the biscuit out of my hands. She then said,

“ami soldat.” Then a women around the same age as me entered the room. She looked at me and said in a French accent,

“You are awake, good. You have lost much blood, and were hit by two bullets. Yet here you are, awake and well.” I then responded.

“Well I wouldn’t have made it if you hadn’t have helped me.” She chuckled and asked,

“What is your name?” I then replied,

“Well ma’am my name is Arthur, I am part of the British army. It is a pleasure to be your acquaintance.” I said in a welcomed tone. She then replied.

“Well Arthur it is great to meet you. My name is Caroline.”

“That is a very beautiful name.” I said. She then blushed and said,

“It was my mothers. Your things are downstairs waiting for you.” I thanked her as she left through the door. I got up from the neatly made bed. As I walked through the old wooden door, I made my way downstairs. I walked into a room with a table and chairs. Pictures hung on the wall, the glass of the frames covered in a thin layer of dust. I saw my pack neatly made sitting on the table, my trench knife, bayonet, and helmet sitting next to it. My rifle leaned against a chair. As I was going to grab my stuff, I was interrupted by the young girl grabbing and tugging at my sleeve.

“Soldat ami, ne partez pas." She said to me. I couldn't understand fully what she was saying but I could tell she didn't want me to leave. Though before I could go with her, there was a loud knock at the door. Looked over to see the three Germans at the door, I quickly grabbed my equipment and rifle and hid out of sight. Caroline walked up to the door as I hid myself. I heard them walk in with their boots thumping against the wooden floor. The officer then demanded something in German. Caroline responded in French. The Officer then yelled in a demanding voice. Caroline was silent, He then ordered something in German and the two soldiers next to him grabbed Caroline and were attempting to grab the girl. I then came out and shot the soldier trying to grab the girl with my rifle. I then proceeded to grab my trench knife and stab the other soldier three times in the chest before he collapsed to the floor. The Officer then grabbed his Luger and tried to shoot at me. I then rushed at him grabbing his arm and began to struggle with him. We grappled and punched each other as we both tried to get on top the other.

He pushed me to the floor and aimed his luger at me. Before he could fire Caroline got his attention by slapping him across the face. As he looked over in anger, I had my opportunity to grab his gun, bring it to the floor, and stab him in the back. As he fell to the floor, I then looked at Caroline and said,

"The Germans are gonna notice that these three didn't come back. Its no longer safe for any of us. You need to take your girl and get out of here. I need to leave as well. They are gonna be looking for me." I then looked at the girl and said,

"Stay strong, I know this time is scary. But it will be alright." I said smiling. She then hugged me tightly. I hugged her back, for it had been so long since I felt the comforting feeling of a hug. I then grabbed my stuff and left the house with my rifle in hand. Then the silence was broken.

"Arthur!" I turned around to see Caroline.

"Thank you." I nodded to her and went off. I walked onward on the path I tread.

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