The whistle blew shrill and the men stepped forward, one by one they stepped through the barbwire barricades and into the mud of No Man's Land. Four men were down before his group could string themselves out in their offensive line: Chambers, Frost. A, Kilgallon and Condrey were all boys he'd known growing up, played rugger and football with - four more boys not going home to their mothers and sweethearts. There was a shriek to his left and Frost. R dropped to his knees with his intestines unspooling through his fingers, joining so cruelly closely behind his brother on the road to heaven. He didn't even blink at the sight, despite knowing that Mrs. Frost had just lost both sons in the space of a couple of breaths. He walked, rifle set with bayonet fixed as he advanced on the German lines. Men dropped dead or injured to either side like the ninety-nine bottles on the wall in the nursery rhyme, but he just kept on walking and popping off shots at the silhouettes of soldiers which appeared through the mist and smoke of the enemy lines in front of him.
A few yards further and most of his line was gone, so he hunkered down in a bomb crater, blood pooling in the bowl at the bottom. A man lay in that pool, half his face obliterated and his brain spilling from its pan to add more red to the bloody lake that was quickly forming in the hole. He turned away from the sight and lit a cigarette, settling down in his cover. He knew he would not leave his foxhole for some time to come, and would leave the greater part of himself there.