The breeze was sharp and bitter, snapping at my nose, robbing me of my breath and sending chills to my very soul. I shivered vigorously and gripped the cool metal of the gun that hung over my shoulder. Panting, I ploughed onward along the snow covered track, following the grooves of the cart wheels that were ahead of me. I couldn't see anything through my frozen eyelashes but I knew just by the sounds, that the rest of the withering, tired army was around me.
Muted curses and retching filled my ears, making the howls of the wind a welcome distraction. Holding my breath, I forced my eyes open and then immediately squeezed them to slits again, the white blanket of snow reflecting into my eyes like jewels on a necklace.
It had been a long, hard couple of days, hour after hour of screaming, bloodshed, death, hunger, fatigue. You name it – we had experienced it. Now, it was strangely quiet and the group of us trudged onwards, most of us so tired that we couldn't even remember where we were going anymore.
Without a doubt, though, as soon as we reached our next battle front we would all become energized with a deadly kind of adrenalin that would get us through the killing and the screams of the soldiers in agony from gun shot wounds. The worst part was after the initial battle was through. When you had time to breathe, and to look around you, that's when the pain really started to hit.
The lot of us would usually take a few minutes to pray for the lives lost in the battles, both our side and theirs. In God's eyes, the sides didn't matter, and in prayer, it mattered not to us. After all, when it came to the nitty gritty, we were all just people doing what we were told to do.
There came a cry of the people ahead of me. I pried my eyes open and squinted to the front of the progression, sighing in relief when I realized that we were taking a break. Without bothering to look behind me, I plopped down into the snow at my feet and stretched out my back, closing my eyes against the glare of the cool sun above me.
Chest heaving, I rolled onto my side and tried to get a few minutes of sleep, knowing that it might be a while until I get another chance. I regulated my breathing the best I could and let my mind wander, barely acknowledging the fact that I had already fallen asleep.
I awoke to pure chaos. Screams and shooting came from all around me and instantly I was crouching in the snow, gun cocked and resting in my hands as I surveyed the situation with sleepy eyes. Snow was flying everywhere as bullets punctured the surface of it. I ducked lower instinctively and then crept forward towards the front of the party, knowing that whatever danger there was, it would be up there.
Sure enough as I inched closer, men were kneeling on the ground, loading rounds into their guns and shooting them distances away. I couldn't see the enemy, myself, but I did as they did, shooting in the same general direction.
We had been there for some while, still shooting, when the ambush came from behind us. Screams and bullets came from every directions and I fell heavily to the ground as one whizzed just over the top of my head. I gathered my stuff around me and began to run.
* * *
We knew as soon as it collapsed, that we going to die. The army was split into half. One crew, the bigger half, was where I was standing – on one side of the gully. The other, smaller, half stood with Napoleon on the other side, watching in horror and terror as they too realized the horrible fate that we would succumb to. Clouds of snow and dust billowed around us the frame of the bridge landed in the river long below where we stood. No one moved as screams of the opposing team sounded from behind us. We all stood staring at our leader.
With a final salute to us, he turned and led his small army onward, leaving us to cope on our own with the fate that had bestowed itself onto us. With fiery eyes I turned around and took in the small figures of the army running toward us. The other leftover warriors turned too, some of them with tear stricken faces. We knew that it was up to us how we went out. We all knew that we could jump off of the sides and submit ourselves to deaths of the cowards. Or we could put on a brave face and face our deaths like the warriors that we were.
I had already decided what I was going to do, but I waited patiently as the rest of the shrunken army decided what they were going to do. The wait seemed to be endless as they mulled it over in their heads, the figures of the opposing team gradually getting bigger as they got closer to us. I tightened the grip on my rifle and licked my lips as a few of the men screamed and ran over the side of the gully. The first shots were fired and I tensed my muscles, waiting patiently for our time to come.
With the ones that we re left, we leapt into action and with a scream I launched myself into motion, running forward with tears streaming down my cheeks. In the span of my last two seconds, my life flashed before my eyes and I said a silent goodbye to my wife waiting back home, my infant son that I had yet to hear speak, and to my parents and siblings. One of my brothers was here, serving with me – but he had been lucky and ended up on the other side with Napoleon. I shot a quick prayed up for his well being and prayed that he would take care of my wife and child in their time of need. I could only pray.
The army was right on top of us now and I screeched as I felt a bullet rip through my skin, sending me sprawling onto the ground. Gasping for air, I watched the snow become stained red around me and I coughed a few times, everything going blurry. I saw my teammates fall around me and couldn't help but smile. At least we had gone out fighting.
AN: Alright, so I know that this is really dark, but it was just a random idea that I had. I hope you all enjoyed it and let me know what you think!!