Oh wow, I'm actually publishing something else. Here's a piece for Blogging For Fun 141, the theme obviously being "Soldier Boy." I heard that the BFF group is pretty cool, maybe I'll be allowed to join after this? :)
As the sun finally began to set over the field, all I could think of was being anywhere but here.
I wanted to be back home in the peaceful greens of Yorkshire, frolicking with my love Eliza in a flowery field, just like any couple as young and innocent as us should have been doing in the middle of summer. Or to be in the garden which overlooked our field, with the same childhood friends who accompanied me here, drinking and eating and merrily joking well into the the late hours. I would even appease my father now; I would give anything to help him on our farm and engage in such mundane tasks such as ploughing the fields.
However, I hadn't listened to my father's orders, or even Eliza's desperate pleas for me to stay. I was determined to make my father and her proud; to set out and seek adventure. Just like all of my friends - who also childishly abandoned their loved ones in search of some kind of illusionary glory - I left home as a boy, and I wanted to return as a man.
We wanted to be heroes. Now, in hell's field, I was the only one left who could regret our mutual decision.
The first day of fighting has come to an end. Slowly and cautiously, I push my weary body up from the Somme's watery mud. On my feet for the first time in hours, and no longer aiming down the long sights of my rifle, I am able to briefly observe the desolation of no man's land in the fading twilight.
Friends and enemies lay amongst each other in the earth, in pools of blood; each other's blood. Hundreds, maybe thousands of stagnant corpses rot for as far as the eye can see, riddled with rifle bullets and machine gun rounds. British, French or German; death is all that awaits for anyone deployed to this theatre.
Under the cover of darkness, I regroup with allied survivors and retreat to my trench, without a yard gain nor lost. I walk back with the knowledge that I am no longer a boy, but not a man either. At the day's end, I realise what I have become – just another soldier on the battlefield.