Vision washes a vermilion red. Trembling in the fetal position, you grasp hard clusters of stone and mud. The raw stench of decaying flesh haunts your nasal cavities. You dry wretch, but the tinned sardines consumed hours ago have vanished, nothing but bile, polluted with what seems to be blood, spills out of dry cracked lips. Grasping your stomach in agony, you wait for the gunfire to surpass. Memories of before the war bring you comfort as you fall into a lonely slumber.
Awoken by an explosion, hastily you grab your rifle, then shakily clamber to your feet. This sudden motion of movement sends your head spinning, you fall flat on your back. It takes a lot of energy to sit up, but you somehow manage this strenuous task. A man dressed in the same army green New Zealand military uniform is sprawled out on the ground meters away. After scanning his uniform you realize his pants are missing, and in their place are two jarred white thigh bones, the bones protruding out of dirty infected flesh make your stomach churn and twist. The sun has turned what was left of the soldier’s corpse a swollen navy blue, it wouldn’t be long until the vulturous rats and crows would come to feast on the statue like figure. “Every day you die a little more inside until you reach the point when your body will simply give up” these words of wisdom were told to you when first arriving in the trenches and haunt you every day. Its moments like these, when the rolling waves of depression submerge you in a sea of bleak emotional emptiness. You don’t want to die, but you struggle to find a logical explanation to stay alive.
The crackling ring of gunfire snaps you out of your melancholy thoughts, and once again you cling to the hard clusters of stone and mud on the wall of the trench. “Over the top, over the top”. All other external sounds from the battlefield are disregarded, as the crippling siren to advance mercilessly strips you of any hope of survival. Death is not far away. Once again, thoughts of despair saturate you. Your life and death are nothing on these fields, no more than that swollen legless corpse that haunts your every thought. you are not even a pawn in this war, as your death will not prevent any further wars, or make the world a safer place for your family back home. You feel like a sheep going to the slaughter. Confused and scared you begin to edge closer, and closer to the edge of the trench Ready to advance. Ready to die. “GO, GO, GO”. No time for contemplation, you’re already over the safety of the trench wall, it’s too late to turn back. Fellow Comrades plagued with bullets hit the cold damp ground. Adrenalin pumps through your veins, as weak legs pilot you across the graveyard underfoot. Dropping to your knees, your vision washes a vermilion red, as a cold grey bullet pierces your chest.