A Soldier's Thoughts

Three months. Three months I've been fighting. My fellow comrades think I'm lucky to be alive. A miracle they say. I just think I've been cursed to have been fighting for so long.

I miss my family. I miss being normal and free to do what I want, when I want. Here I can't do anything but shoot guns. My wings have been clipped.

Someone next to me lets out a hiss. I turn my head slightly and find a rat crawling up his leg. I turn back again. Rats are not uncommon down in the trenches. They're the only wildlife we see and they do no harm; I leave them be.

Soldiers are all around me. Men are moving forward on their stomachs for as far as I can see. Heavy mist surrounds us, restricting our vision. It's been raining a lot lately so the trenches are wet through, leaving my stomach drenched as I slide along the Earth like a snail on garden soil.

After just a few weeks here I found myself not noticing the smell. The rancid odour of dead soldiers' rotting bodies, old blood and sweat fill my nostrils every time I breathe in. But I don't pay any attention to it. I can hear men screaming. I don't pay any attention to that either. Instead I focus on moving forward. Moving is the key to survival here. If anyone stops-they get shot; it's as simple as that. Tragic.

There's still hope left in me though. The General called on me today, in my tent. He said there is a chance I could be going home soon. He's a funny man the General. Him, with his big moustache and cold, beady eyes. Shouldn't a General be on the front line fighting with his men? My General doesn't. He sits in his spacious tent with his feet propped up while his men run off to their deaths into 'no-mans land'.

I can't wait to see them again. My family, that is. They're all waiting for me back home in London. My lovely wife, Katherine; and my angelic daughter, Mary. We haven't been given the chance to send as many letters as we should, given the fact a lot of them get lost on the way back home. I want to be a part of a real family again. To love and be loved back. It seems like another world to this place. Another life entirely.

A soldier catches my eye and taps his watch. The next barrage is soon due. I can only thank God I'm not one of the damned going over. It just seems a waste to me. A vast number of lives lost for no reason. Fighting for king and country? More like invading susceptible lands and stealing all its riches. It's all about politics and power with no thought spared for those who sacrifice themselves for it.

I shake my head soundlessly.

Keep moving forward-moving is the key to survival.

Survival is essential.

I want to see my family again.

I want to feel human.