• Lyla Bollag

Dragon Flies

We trudged through the mud as though it were grabbing onto us, pulling at us, attempting to drown us in its entirety. We moved through it endlessly, it seemed like it was ever going, seeming like we're never going to make it through the horrific madness of this war. As we trudged, we went so slow a snail could pass us in a minute. As we trudged, the only noises to accompany us were the big cackling bursts of bombs–BOOM!--BOOM!--BOOM!--CLACKETY-CLACKLE-CLACK!--. As we trudged, we could hear the wailing demented screams of air shells crackling and roaring in the distance–SCREEEECH!--but not so distant from our base–BOOM!--BOOM!--BOOM!--another one went off, destroying our base for good; metal and wood and brick flew clumsily into the air. Though the bomb wasn’t next to us, I could feel the vibration of it ringing through my ears. I plugged them with my fingers, hugged my rib cage with my elbows and signaled to the other boys to get down–BOOM!--BAM!--BAM!--SCREEEEEEECH!--another atom bomb exploded fifty feet away from us.

Finally, after a minute's rest, one of the boys spotted a trench, we all ran for it, but I stopped instantly, remembering a familiar culprit, a silent invisible killer that lurked in these empty places, collecting itself at the bottom, waiting for a naive soldier. I got most of the other boys to stop, but the young one jumped in before I could save him. We took out our gas masks, tightened them, securing them, and pulled him out. He came out, arms down at his side straight, trembling from the internal assault from the gas. His eyes were bloodied red, making the blue pop brightly. He gurgled, gurgling red maroon foamy cud from his burning lungs–AHGK!--AHGGK!--HAAUGHK!--he began choking, endlessly choking on the bloodied lung and foam. It dripped down his beautiful charcoal face, making its way into his ears. He writhed as he choked from the gas. We all scrambled to look for a gun, a knife, anything to kill him fast but all our weapons had been engulfed by the glutinous mud, the insidious mud which tried to drag us down with our other fallen comrades. We didn’t find the weapon in time.

The shuddering sun rose before us, lighting the hill tops and gruesome horrors among us. We sat and watched our friend gurgle once more but less vigorously; the gas had consumed his ability to sound. We sat there and watched as our friend passed slowly from us, painfully with the sunrise. Before we stood up to leave, two beautifully blue dragon flies flew amongst us, inspecting us out of curiosity and were strangely not opposed to our grotesque state. They landed on our fallen comrade, skittering on top of him, seeming as if they were dancing as the sunlight glittered upon their pearlescent armor. Tears streamed down my face as I realized those dragonflies were the only innocence I would bear to see in this fight.