I laugh wildly

And yet ever so privately

Memories tumbling over my already

Bemused and tired mind

Briefly are they interrupted

By roars of cannon

Smoke clouding the memory

Laughter tinkles through the gray

And a young girl skips through

The mist is abruptly blown away

Revealing a meadow

She pauses

Smiling up at me

Beckoning she dances away

Grasses swaying

Her voice echoes among the flowers

I can't move to follow

But am rooted

Like a tree

A shadow moves over

And a shell explodes in the scenery

Cries crowd my brain

Muskets rattle and burn

Flowers melt into burning tree stumps

Grass crumbling into ash

Deep clouds quench the light

Fear bathes my heart

My soul shudders

The soil becomes blood

The clouds rain the red liquid

Someone tugs my hand

The girl again

Come on she giggles

She is the younger sister

I have yet to remember

Pulling me down to eye level

She kisses my brow

Playfulness glinting in pale eyes

A scurrying figure is the girl moving behind me

The shadow approaches again

Blurred shapes and echoing voices

Swim through my memories

A girl in black

Steps out of the guns' mist

Black wings spread high

Hands outstretched

I move over

Unconsciously wanting to protect

The Utopian child

Fire licks bloodied dirt

Flames spilling from Death's child

Utopia's child takes my hand

Instructing me forward

Take Death's hand

I hear her say

Amidst the crashing canister and shell

My hand goes out

Shaking steadied by fear

Of not going forward

Utopia's child follows smiling

Death's child grins cynically

Evil knotting her face

Surroundings are surreal and blurry

Yet clear and distinct

Greens, greys, reds

Mixing like pastel paint

I hold the position

Between Utopia and Death

While Death's fingers reach hungrily

For mine

The touch is cold

Then a branding hot

Utopia nods her head

As my courage falters

The golden child

Squeezes my hand

A blinding light surges through me

A scream echoes from Death

One of rage and anguish

Blown backwards into blackening depths

Flies Death's child

Utopia's child melts away

The blurry surrealism trickles into reality

"Son, battle's over"

A sergeant in a blue uniform

Says at my elbow

Soldiers are trickling past me

Tired and dazed

I can't feel my arm

The one touched

By Death

I am in shock

What now

My face is a bemused frown

As I try to make sense

Of what has happened

Blood is on my arm

There soaking the cloth

Red

My mind registers disbelief

Why here now

Gentle hands guide me

I remain mute silent

As the light grows in the eastern sky

I am going home