The Battlefield

By Wendy K. 


Scott wakes with the taste of blood in his mouth and sweat and dirt on his lips. Above him the sky is clear and the moon is bright. There’s no sound but that of his own harsh breathing and the distant pop of gunfire. The bodies of the other men littering this battlefield are silent.

When he was little, he used to think sleeping under the stars would be a marvelous thing but now his whole body aches and the rocks digging into his back are a painful counterpoint to the white hot poker burrowing into his side. He wishes desperately that he could roll over but the weight of another fallen soldier across his legs keeps him from doing so, trapping him like an insect in amber.

He longs for his home a thousand miles away. For his grandfather. Julie. Chums from school. Reading by the fire. Mrs. Abbot’s Sunday pot roast. His bed. Clean clothes.

Those are the things that keep him going during the endless days of fierce and bloody fighting. Those are things that keep him from giving in to the pain of the bullet lodged in his side. Those are things that keep him from giving up. He vows then and there, under a canopy of stars and with the metallic taste of blood pooling in his mouth, to live. His sense of duty and honor demand it.

He will see those people again.

It is then that he hears approaching footsteps and words spoken in a soft drawl like warm molasses. “We got us another Yank survivor here, Sergeant.”

As hands shift the dead weight on his legs and lift him none too gently, despair closes in around him like a shroud.

Yes, he will see those people again…..but not any time soon.




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