Through the Blood and Mud

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I walked down the empty road, my uniform covered with blood and dirt, my muddy boots thumped against the ground, rifle held tightly in my hands. I scanned the horizon, alert with my finger on the trigger. My legs ached more and more with each cautious step I took. I then saw smoke in the distance, it was the trench I was originally going to be sent to. I never thought I would be ever so happy to see those god awful trenches. I ran as fast as my legs could allow me to. As I entered the trench, the soldiers were not expecting one man. An officer came out and said,

“Where is the rest of your platoon?” I then replied.

“Sir I am afraid to say that I am the only one left. Our transport was attacked by a German platoon and killed everyone, I however was able to kill them with the help of three other men. But they were then killed by a German trooper, afterwards I was wounded by German fighters and held my own in a German occupied town with the help of a lovely women named Caroline. And I walked until I made it here.” I explained. The officer then replied in a surprised tone,

“Christ boy, you did all of that!”

“Yes, sir.” I said. He then later told me that I was to help with an assault of the opposing German trench. I knew I would have to endure another trip into No Mans Land, I just never knew it were to become a reality so soon. As we positioned ourselves, the sounds of artillery hitting the earth could already be heard. The officer then got into position, he raised the metal whistle to his lips and blew into it. As the ear piercing whistle stabbed through the air, I quickly climbed out of the trench and started to make my way around the barbed wire. Men around me and behind me fell in collapsed to the mud, some even falling in the barbed wire.

Bullets flew by as I continued forth. However I could hear something behind me. It was the officers whistle, I could then here the officers ordering for us to return to the trench. I stopped right in the middle of running and started to run in the opposite direction, to only see a few men behind me. Most of our men were gunned down by German machine guns. As we made our way back to the trench, I slammed my body against the inside of the trench. Our officers then yelled for us to get ready. Mud and Blood covered my face and uniform, I got up and cocked my rifle and stood from the dirt floor of the trench. When I looked over the trench, I could see a thick green cloud approaching the trench.

“Gas!!” men were yelling. I then proceeded to grab my gas mask from my pouch and strap it upon my face. Some men couldn’t fit their gas masks or didn’t have one and suffocated while pleading with the men who did have their masks. The thick gas clouded my already limited vision with the mask on. However when I looked upon No Mans Land, I saw the silhouettes of two men. They had masks and what seemed to be tanks and some sort of object in their hands. I could then see flames erupt from the object. I ducked down as flames went over my head setting fire to some of the wooden structure of the trench. I aimed my gun and fired at one of them. They looked over and shot more flames in my direction. I ran as some flames got on my clothes. Once I was far enough away, I patted down the fires on my clothes and cocked my rifle sending a bullet shell to the dirt. I then saw a German trooper jump in front of me from the top of the trench, as he punched me in the face I grabbed his collar and brought him to the ground with me. We struggled as we rolled in the dirt. I finally grabbed his mask and ripped it from his face, as he gasped for air I took the opportunity to grab my trench knife and shove it in his neck.

I quickly got up from the ground as more fire spread across the trench. I could see some of my men erupt in flames and fell in the bloody mud. I watched the chaos spread throughout the trench, I could then hear something behind the trench. Their were our tanks coming in and firing their cannons while running over the remaining Germans. However I felt someone grasp my shoulder, out of panic I shoved him onto the ground and shot the person on the ground. However when I finally got a good look at the person, it was an officer who I had shot. My mind raced, as I looked up I could see four soldiers staring at me. They then pointed their rifles at me and ordered me to drop my weapon. I quickly released my rifle from my grip, as the rifle collided with the ground they took me and had me transported to a POW camp. I sat in a cell and wrote my last letter to my mother.

"Arthur, its time." I sighed as I gave the letter to the guard and said,

"Please...give this to my mother. That is my final request." He nodded and took the note and put it in his pockets. As they guided me to an open field, to a wooden post. soldiers saluted as I walked past, I could even see Fergus looking somberly at me. I looked away at the post as they tied me the post. They then tied me to the post and wrapped a blindfold around my eyes. I could hear the sounds of the officer barking orders as soldiers cocked their rifles. I could then hear the officer.

"Ready! Aim!....Fire!" It was there, when I finally saw the end of the Great War. I was free.

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