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Adventure Creative Nonfiction Historical Fiction

All of us soldiers were packed into a van, like cows in a pen. I saw the battlefield, with falling and fallen soldiers, with blood and rain carpeting the once-green field. Bullets were flying everywhere as the sound of firing and explosions rang through the battlefield. The soldiers in the front line dropped dead one after another like trees being uprooted in a massive tornado. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion. The smell of blood and gunpowder was fresh in the air. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn't think. 

My mind was in overdrive, thinking of every possible outcome, with none of them good. How would I die? Bullet to the head or blown to smithereens by a shell? Or would I simply die of fright? I didn’t know. I wouldn’t know until I died. And when was that? 10 minutes or 10 seconds? Or would I survive this battle and live for 10 days instead? 

Shouts and screams surround me as we evacuate the van, our safety. Within seconds, men start falling, all the while my brain saying “you could be next. You might be the next to fall.” But I wasn’t. I made it to the barbed wire. I was alone. Where was everyone? Looking behind, I saw there were only 10 of us left, 10 out of the 50 that were deployed. I am lucky. Or am I? Alone. Scared. Paralyzed with fear. 

 Terror sears through my body, adrenaline pounded, and my reflexes kicked in. I grabbed my gun harder, like it was my lifeline. I pushed through the fence, scraping my face, my arms, my legs. I’m past and then… I see him. 

I don’t know what to do. 

A German, with a gun in his hand and his finger on the trigger.

Our eyes lock.

My eyes are wide with fear. I expect to see hate, death, maybe even vengeance in his eyes, but the sad reality of it is so very different. Doubt. Despair. Dread. Endless black holes of panic. 

He didn’t want to kill me and I didn’t want to kill him. 

I stumble, and realise my leg was hurt so much more than I originally thought. A bloody gash was sliced across it with blood running freely down it. I couldn’t walk, let alone run. Even if this soldier didn’t shoot me, I would likely starve to death out here.

“Help,” I choke. I don’t know if I can trust him. Don’t know if he would just shoot me in the back. I don’t know anything. It is just a hunch, just a shout into the void, just a sliver of hope in this unforgiving world.

He looks at me, grasping his gun tighter and tighter. 

Fear floods through my body, coursing through every vein, bone and organ. It beats and pumps like it is trying to escape. I think my heart’s going to explode and my eyes widen with anticipation.

He looks over his shoulder. Maybe he thinks he can run. Maybe he thinks someone is watching, but regardless, he holds his hand out. And smiled.

Smiled.

Like we’re not in some war field.

Like we’re meeting for the first time in a park on a summer’s day.

I smile in return and gladly take his hand. 

I.

Take,

The.

Enemy’s.

Hand.

He lifts me up, pulling me across the land, his shoulder wrapped around mine. We walk towards his base, but I don’t care. I don’t care. Anything to relieve myself of my leg and escape the fighting.

I haven’t thanked him. I barely know how in German. I wish I could thank him, but my mouth seems to be jelly and I can’t move it and form a coherent sound. I try again then

BANG

a n d  

 t h e 

 w o r l d  

s  l   o   w    s.

I don’t know what’s happened.

I don’t know what’s happened.

What has happened?

A gun.

Shot at us.

At me?

No.

Him. 

The man who risked everything to save me.

Is dead.

Shot by us.

The Allies.

I hope not

but

I don’t know.

I can’t concentrate.

Someone picks me up and I’m in the back of a truck.

Who’s truck?

I don’t know.

I don’t care.

I have water and painkillers.

That’s all I care about. I feel myself drifting off, but I can’t sleep. I can’t get his face out of my head. It exploding, with his blood spattering across mine. It’s still there and it’s not going. It’s not going. And everytime I try to sleep, I can’t. My ears are ringing too much from the 

BANG!

***

I wake up with a sheen of cold sweat across my face. My breathing is coming in short gasps. My chest is too tight and my throat is closed up. My arms thrash, flailing around trying to fight off the terrors that don’t exist anymore. There’s a hole in my chest, filled with blood and pain and agony. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. 

I can’t breathe.

I don’t know where I am, but I was back there, back where I vowed I never would again, with friends and family dying around me.

Julliette!

She can’t be hurt. The bullets of my dreams can’t reach her, because I couldn’t live without her. She can’t be hurt because I’d be nothing without her. 

I calm down. 

I can breathe.

So can Julliette.

Everything will be okay.

She is fine.

I’ve woken her up, like I do on so many other nights. She smiles, and puts a reassuring hand on my chest, like she does on so many other nights, but it never fails to calm me, because I know I can do anything with one hand as long as she holds the other.

I love her. I can’t lose her.

I’m so lucky to have her.

I’m so unlucky to have those dreams.

They’ll never go. 

But she can’t know that. She can’t share my pain, because she was never there. And I thank the stars everyday for that.

I slow my breathing, in, out, in, out. My face resumes a casual neutral, with just a glint of a smile. She can’t know. I won’t let her.

“Just a nightmare, Ju, just a nightmare.” 

February 07, 2021 19:29

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38 comments

Cassandra Durnin
21:47 Feb 10, 2021

Wow. I loved the format and the drama in this one, and it was really well done, almost like you were showing it to me play-by-play. Great work! And as for book suggestions, I HIGHLY recommend Melissa Albert's 'The Hazel Wood'. I'm such a huge bookworm, so I thought it would be hard for me to choose a favorite, but that book is hands-down a winner.

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Cookie Carla🍪
21:39 Feb 10, 2021

Are we talking about metaphorical tea... or actually tea?? (from your bio) Cause I like both😂😂

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21:50 Feb 10, 2021

i particularly enjoy drinking tea while watching the tea 😂😂

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Cookie Carla🍪
21:53 Feb 10, 2021

Right! Eating my popcorn and sipping my tea😂

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Hallie Blatz
15:59 Feb 10, 2021

This story was incredible! I was on the age of my seat the whole time. Your imagery was amazing and I loved the way you wrote it. The short sentences and paragraphs really drove the intensity! There was one time where you switched from present tense to past tense but other than that I think it was great. You said you wanted book suggestions... have your read the wingfeather saga (Andrew Peterson) or the ascendance series (Jennifer Nielsen)? I love tea too! And Marcus Zusac! I also wanted to thank you for liking my stories! Sincerely, Hall...

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KED KED
02:58 Feb 10, 2021

Woah. What a vivid flashback! This was beautifully woven. Thank you for sharing!

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Rayhan Hidayat
03:16 Feb 09, 2021

I would have loved to see some sort of realization that the Allies and the enemy aren’t so different, but otherwise I liked the intensity and the reveal of everything being a dream really speaks of how severe PTSD can be. Good stuff! 😙

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Aubrey Maria ✌
19:18 Feb 08, 2021

You're a good writer! Also, I saw you wanted book recommendations. I've read a lot so I might as well share a few! The first one is Ashes in the Snow which is based on WW2 (there's a movie too!) and it's basically relationships within that time and survival. Another book ( I never finished but I plan on starting it again) is the Great Gatsby. I've heard once you read past chapter 3 or 4, it's a great plot/story. Also, I read this a few years ago, more on the side of fiction and fantasy from a girls perspective is Keeper of the Lost Citi...

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14:45 Feb 08, 2021

Your story got me, completely... its vocabulary, your way to narrate it, its structure, but, mainly, the story itself. Sometimes, I start to read a story and I finish it just because... I have to (I started to read it!) but this one (of yours) really caught me! Thanks for your work... very neat!

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Alya Kaikuahine
01:39 Feb 08, 2021

Awesome story! I lived the separate lines for each word when he took the German's hand and when the German was killed. So good! Also, thanks for liking my story!

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Sunny 🌼
14:51 Feb 19, 2021

Off-topic but I read the random question in your bio and asked my online friend Muku who is also British what he thought about it. And he was like "that's illegal it's common practice to reheat an old cuppa in the microwave but making one in there is against the law here the queen will personally come and execute you if you do that" So yeah lol

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17:01 Feb 19, 2021

your friend is amazing and i greatly respect him

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Sunny 🌼
17:08 Feb 19, 2021

lmao

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