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Showing posts from December, 2021

A Few Final Moments

The artillery barrage came on like a storm. One shell exploding in the dirt was followed by a few more. Barely a moment had passed before the steel rain became a torrential downpour. Plumes of pulverized earth burst all around, accompanied by a ceaseless thunder. Once the air was saturated with smoke and dirt, the guns petered out. That's when the Corporal turned to us and shouted, "Go! Now!" I shook off the fear-born paralysis in my legs. The crowd of bearded old men and some boys who looked younger than me, pretending to be a unit, ran headlong into the thick shroud of smoke blanketing the field.  We were herded into a pit where men adorned with the grinning face of death and splattered with blood were shouting at us to "be ready!" We jumped into the mass grave, and one of the black-clad troopers loomed over me.  "He's small," he said to his comrades as if I weren't there.  Finally, he acknowledged me directly. "You!" He shouted in