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Short story based on Bayonet Charge

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I fell asleep, sound in peace. My head rested on a white feather filled pillow, which was as soft as the cotton plants that grew in the fields. A beautiful quilted blanket covered me, as the snow covered the very tops of the highest mountains. Abruptly, a cold breeze fell upon me. I wanted to dive deeper and deeper into my blanket, but found it was no longer there. I twisted and turned, trying to find warmth. All I found was isolation.

I heard noises in the distance. Harsh cries echoed in the air. The slashing of swords made me cringe and the firing of bullets was deafening. Progressively, the sounds grew louder and louder. My eardrums were throbbing from the all the commotion. My hands spontaneously covered my ears, hoping to prevent any sound from entering. It didn’t work.

“Peter!” someone called my name. I couldn’t focus on the voice because I was being shaken by someone or something. “Peter!” There it was again. Who was calling me? I shoved the source of the voice away and groaned, my body aching and every sound echoing in my ears. Unexpectedly, there was the sound of a canon going off. I woke up, startled by what I saw.

Then I was running, suddenly realising where I was. Through the thick cloud of brown dust, I saw bodies drown into the grasping mud. There was blood everywhere, weeping into the grass and bullets were smacking the belly out of the air. Death lingered in every corner of the landscape. Just then, I had a sudden realisation, that the peaceful experience I had was just a dream. None of it was real bar the sound effects in the dream.

I stumbled across a field towards a green hedge. The patriotic tear that had brimmed in my eye was for both my country and myself. This kept me running. I pushed past the bullets, whilst other soldiers crashed to the ground. I had to fight. But then a small part of my mind asked “why? I stopped in bewilderment.

Everything around me blurred and the harsh cries became silent. For a moment, I was the only one left in this destroyed place. The tear that had welled in my eye, now strolled slowly down my cheek. The stars and the nations feel nothing compared to what I feel now. Confusion gathered inside me, but my conscience took over and gave me strength. I had to succeed and survive. Abruptly, I was pulled back to reality.

I ran like a man who jumped up in the dark and ran. I ran listening to my own footfalls, which were the reason I was still running. When I strode, my foot hung in mid statuary. Only then I saw, that before me, was a yellow hare. It rolled like a flame, and crawled in a threshing circle. Its mouth wide open. Silent. Its eyes were standing out.

What I saw was beyond any nightmare. It was so terrifying, that I should have been scarred for life. My heart stopped for a brief second, hoping it would disappear when I blinked. No matter how hard I tried, it remained. I stood still for a moment, gathering all of the courage that was left inside me.

I plunged past with my bayonet, toward the green hedge. On my way, I killed people who now whimpered and cried until death got them. I’d killed people I didn’t even know. Strangers. I’d forgotten all about king, honour and human dignity. I forgot everything in a moment of uncertainty, the need to survive overpowering my compassion. To get out of that blue crackling air. Out of my terror’s touchy dynamite.

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