I want to go home.
The gunshots, the explosions, they ring throughout the night, driving me absolutely bullocks and tearing me away from sleep. The ground shakes and quivers beneath my body as I lay here, huddled with a blanket, a quill and this paper I write on. My squadron is terrified, scared pantsless thanks to the death that plagues our trench.
I can smell it.
Mother, I can smell the death on me, like the wet mud that stains my boots like lunch sludge. Like the rotting blood of our horses impaled to death by shrapnel, it hovers above in the air and it scares me. I’m shocked I’m still alive.
Among the gas that’s been released my way, among the bullets that have been shot my direction, among the shelling that threatened to blast my entire body into pieces… how much longer must I endure any of this? I don’t want to. I couldn’t get a word in edgeways to my dying friends even if I dreamed of it, which I do.
Oh, Mother, I do.
Every time my eyelids snap shut, the darkness that fills my vision is almost immediately replaced by my friends. My friends no longer, of course, after they’ve got half their face blown off. After they’ve got their guts blasted right out of their chest. After finally, finally he goes silent after hour-long minutes of holding his own intestines and crying for his daddy.
What will it take for me to become another corpse among No Man’s Land?
That’s it. That’s what I’ll be. Just another corpse among No Man’s Land.
Whether it be from being shot down by an Archie or from being reduced to a fine red mist by a trench shotgun, I’ll just be another blighty that was KIA.
But ye God’s, I hope I don’t.