Joshua Gorsuch, Grade 11
The sound of a city at war faded away as the Sergeant looked into the soldier’s dull, glassy eyes, his mind dead to everything else in the world. The body was slouched behind a chunk of broken masonry, covered in a fine layer of dust that turned his once bright features a uniform shade of grey.
Bitter irony stung his heart as he saw how at peace the soldier looked. The soldier’s head was resting against a battered stand that had somehow survived the barrage, as though some macabre cosmic jester had placed it for its own amusement. One could be forgiven for assuming the soldier was asleep if they didn’t notice the pool of red that seeped from his back.
A tear dropped silently, the sound swallowed by a sea of noise that rumbled greedily around him. It was his order that had sent the youth to an early death; he had dug the grave with his own hands. Shards of rock and dirt exploded in pockets around him as the barrage that had taken the soldiers life continued, unabated by the destruction it had wrought.
Blood boiled on the soldier’s lips as his life fluid continued to seek escape from its ruined vessel. The ground was stained crimson with a person’s life. A single bullet had been all it took. He had been seeking a vantage point when a snipers round had ended it all in a single fell move.
The soldier died screaming his emotions, a soul shattering cry that had melded rage, sorrow and fear into a sound that would haunt his dreams until the very ending of the world. The howl had ended in a gurgling cacophony of sound as the soldier finally fell silent. The Sergeant knew in uttermost clarity that he would never forget that sound no matter how long he lived, and that that wasn’t likely to be very long.
The Sergeant screamed out his anger, firing his weapon blindly over the barricade he had found himself hunched behind, revelling in the violence he was causing for its own sake. In a swift movement, he kicked the body away, out into the open ground that was so casually been ripped apart by sustained enemy fire.
The corpse was shredded under a hail of fire, the body rippling spasmodically as it was ripped apart by the impacts. The Sergeant screamed out at the sight of such wanton carnage, shrinking away from the remains of the carcass that had once been a soldier. Now it was carrion for the crows that constantly circled, attracted by the scent of death on the wind and the atmospheric tinge of slaughter.
The Sergeant waited, searching desperately for a pause in firing. His heart pounded in his chest when it came. He leapt the barricade in a single, fluid motion, firing wildly as he charged blindly into the smoke.
He was going to die, but he didn’t care.
After all, you only get one last chance.