The Truth About War
Benjamin Cullen, Grade 6, St Agatha's Primary School
1st in the 'Top Secret 2016' competition
I never thought the order would be given. So when the sergeant gave the command the men surged forward itching for blood. The soldiers were excited, charging keenly at the enemy! Until they realized bullets hurt.
Then the gunfire came, streaming from the hills. The men’s hearts were pounding against their chests as the enemy continued fire. As they ran through the rocky terrain they saw them die, allies and enemies alike. Then suddenly lightning crackled from afar and the pungent smell of moisture and mud filled the nostrils of the eager soldiers. The freezing mud and wet dirt underfoot chilled the men to the bone, making the biting cold feel more sinister. As they ran up the first hill they were met with a barrel of cries and snarls as the bayonets did their work on the terrified men. The aching legs and tired muscles were just some of the things that composed an atmosphere of terror.
Shadowy clouds covered the mottled, murky sky and the audible sound of screaming and crying struck the air ferociously. Chaos covered the grey fields, dead were littered amongst the damp grass. But worst of all their ears were ringing with a forevermore muffled sound of orders and commands.
At last, the men caught sight of a dense forest with thick foliage surrounding the vegetation, creating an invaluable vantage point. Now the men fought and ran with a renewed vigour, a renewed purpose! Kicking up particles of dust in their wake. Until they realized too late that it was a trap. That was when the bombs fell. They saw their comrades’ fall; each one’s face a mash of petrified emotion. No heroes bathed in victorious glory that night, they were just poor, terrified, conscripted men.
Diving for cover, soldiers were digging furiously, desperate for a second chance as the wrenching gut feeling of absolute despair overcame them. The sheer anguish and pain was relived continuously as their arms began to ache from the constant struggle of digging their makeshift shelters. Even from the temporary safety of the trenches, bullets rained down like the fires of hell as the soldiers battled to withstand the harsh demanding conditions. All through the night the shots continued, ostentatious cries of insults cut at the night like a whip! Until at dawn all was silent. As the sun slowly crept over the horizon a lone soldier peered up over the trenches, filled with hope. Sadly that one spark of hope that had been ignited by the serene silence was yet to be replaced with a bottomless pit of dread and never ending fear. Hundreds of thousands of reinforcements, fresh and itching for blood had arrived. As they murdered everyone, the soldier’s last thoughts were ‘is life really so cheap?’
That night the enemy celebrated a grand victory with those left, but the truth was they hadn’t won; they had suffered a great loss. After all, the only true victor in war is death.