Not quiet enough on the Western front.

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The noise

Whew. Thank god that was over. He had a swig of rum that he had found in a hip flask half buried in the mud. He had managed to ignore the hand that still grasped it weakly from underneath, rigor mortis playing its part. The brandy was good for making the pinging go away, and for making him feel warm. But it made him think of Lauren. It was unusual to have a woman delivering the mail, but Jenkins liked it. He was a bit of recluse, and an attractive woman delivering his mail each morning was sometimes the only thing to get him out of bed before 5pm. She had begun to notice that his mail was nearly exclusively Scientific American, with many other newsletters accompanying.

But the day after he introduced himself properly, he had gotten the call. Whatever, something different he supposed, shoot some stuff, get paid, go home.

He now knew that he had shared the same views on battle that many children did. Now he knew the horrors-

That noise again.

Jenkins was all alone in his trench. His comrades had provided him with about 40 days worth of food and water. He often realised that this was the true war of attrition; Food. If they ran out first, then he was basically guaranteed to take that trench, though he wondered at the implications of that. What would he actually gain apart from 100 yards or so?

Right now he didn't want to go anywhere but backwards, and the new noise certainly wasn't helping. He heard screaming, and low moans from over the line. This wasn't unusual, the cries of the wounded punctuated the rank stillness day and night.

But these screams were different.

Usually it would be only one or two making noise intermittently, awoken from dark dreams to an even larger horror. Madness was but a disposition here.

Today the screams sounded a little panicked and stifled. Occasionally one would cry out, and quickly stop, his comrades filling in his silence with panicked commands and instructions. Jenkins was worried that he couldn't see anything happening.

All of a sudden, the yells reached a fever pitch, and some shots followed, and Jenkins couldn't resist. He pulled himself up to stand, steeled himself, then gingerly poked his head out of the trench to get a look at the German lines.

oh Jesus oh God oh Jesus

They were coming!

He frantically unslung his Enfield, hand searching in pockets for the rounds he hadn't had to use for so long. Found them. Loaded, aim fire. Aim fire. Aim fire.

They were shouting at him, in pleading voices. He slowed, but he did not understand, so he kept shooting. He was sure he had hit at least 15 soldiers by the time the torrent dwindled. Some accusing voices, lined with pain shouted at him.

Suddenly, he heard a click behind him. He spun quickly, and before he could raise his own weapon, found himself staring down the barrel of a Mondragón. 'Sie töteten meinen Freunden. Bastard!' Jenkins understood that last bit, and closed his eyes, waiting for the end. 'Click!' Jnkins opened his eyes to see the soldier frantically struggling with his weapon. As soon as he realised he was going to be shot first, he threw it in the mud. 'Swiss Stück Scheiße!' He screamed. Then raised his hands. Jenkins aimed.

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