The lullaby he is singing
Is one his mother used to sing to him.
Good for chasing nighttime demons away
But not much good in a muddy trench where the light is dim.
His fallen comrade rasps, gasps and coughs
The blood is a bright red, a crimson drop of agony.
The wound is deep, the bullet too far in
He watches, helpless, as his only friend bleeds his life away.
He radioed for help an hour ago; none has come.
The stench of death burns his nostrils and stings his eyes
The sound of fear echoes in his ears.
His voice falters. Suddenly he is home again.
Smiling sun, exasperated yet proud mother and strong, silent father
Carefree and caring big brother, giggly and excitable little sister.
Small wooden cabin, breakfast of toast and eggs
Hyperactive dog, uninterested sheep quietly gazing
On grass that is nothing but a dream now.
It was an honor to fight for one's country; now it is pain.
Pain that he should be used to, but he cannot bring himself
To be so inhuman, so cold and removed.
His dying soldier shifts, and says a few words
Silent but resounding.
"Tell my mother I love her."
Tell her yourself, he says. Live for it.
He smiles, a ghost gracing his face. "In my bag
There's a letter to Cynthia. Make sure
She gets it. Tell her her man died like a
The words are quiet but strong. His friend has accepted death.
But he will not, cannot.
Cynthia needs her man alive, he says.
His friend does not smile this time. "You will, won't you?"
He cannot stop himself, for he now knows his friend is serious.
This is not a bluff; this is no childhood game. There is
No bandage that can fix him, no mother calling
Them in for dinner. There is no school, no
Field to run around in. There is no innocence,
No childhood, no laughter and smiles.
And so he cries. He will go insane if he does not.
Again, his friend smiles. "Remember the tree we
Used to climb? Our names are still carved on
The trunk. Bury me there, will you?"
He nods, bites his bottom lip. Tears fall on his friend's face.
Please don't die, he pleads. Please.
"I got no choice, buddy. You won't
Forget me, will you?"
Never, he vows. Not in a thousand years.
His pal smiles, content for the first time in
A million years. "Oh, and by the way,
What for? he asks, surprised.
"For sticking with me."
He wants to scream, to yell how he is the one who
Should be thankful to have had him by his side,
But his only friend in the world has already closed
Those bright green eyes he remembers from his childhood.
Wake up! he screams. Don't die, please don't die -
There is no one around to hear his cries, no one but
The Reaper, who relishes every excruciating moment.
He is exhausted. He hears the helicopter just before
He passes out over his friend's peaceful, wounded body.
Reviews would be nice :3