The Voice of the Past

By Caroline 

This is a 500 word companion piece to Voice of the Future. 


How long has it been?  Itís hard to remember now that each day merges into the next with no hope of reprieve.  We were all convinced when we were first captured that the war would be over soon and we would be released.  When did that hope die? 

February.  Yes, thatís what one of the guards said a few days ago.  That would make it Ė ten months.  Iíve been locked away from the world for ten months and it feels more like ten years.  I donít know where the strength has come from to last this long.  I do know itís been more difficult since that dreadful night.  So many men lost, shot down without a shred of pity.  And, in a cruel turn of fate, I survived to bear the burden alone.  There are scars on my back, which are nothing compared to the scars on my conscience. 

Was it my fault?  I thought about nothing else for a long time and I still donít know how the guards found out about our plan.  Sometimes I wish Dan was here so that I could talk to him.  Heíd understand.  He could be dead too for all I know.  I havenít seen him since he was carried out of here weak with fever and rambling incoherently.

Itís cold.  The windís howling through the broken windows again.  I never expected to face hardship like this.  Why did I listen to that insistent little voice in my head taunting me that my life had been too easy?  Iíd never known a momentís hunger or discomfort, yet I didnít have to think twice about enlisting and risking my life.  It was the right thing to do.  Some days it isnít easy to hang on to that thought.  I could be enjoying myself with my friends instead of shivering in my threadbare uniform, my stomach cramping from lack of food. 

I donít know how much longer I can keep fighting this battle for survival.  So many men have given up and, right now, I think they might be the lucky ones.  Their suffering is over and ours goes on day after day, week after miserable week.  I sometimes think it is only sheer Lancer stubbornness that keeps me alive, and thatís a joke in itself.  I remember Grandfather used to say that when I was a child and I never really understood the edge in his voice.  Maybe, when I get home, I should ask him.  That might finally silence the nagging voice that keeps insisting that the past isnít dead and gone; that there are answers that deserve to be spoken. 

Damn, I canít stop shivering.  Iíd get up and walk around to try and warm myself if I had the energy.  Everything is too much effort now.  Whatís the point in dwelling on the past when I donít know if I have a future?  Iíll think about it tomorrow Ė if there is a tomorrow.



February 08


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