He opened his blue eyes, hearing the soft whispers of gunfire far, far away. He was greeted with the fiery sky, orange -speckled against the hues of yellows and reds. The sun was setting far into the distance, and it seemed to calm this war torn place, which was far from reality, and close to the nightmares of the night.
His hand gripped his rifle with as much determination as he could muster. He was scared, he wouldn’t deny it, but on seeing his fragile mother’s face, he promised he would fight for his father with as much bravery as was possible for a boy of eighteen years.
Boy seemed right, when he thought about it. He was a boy, only a child, when he was faced with this. War was not something anyone could take lightly, but now he was here, he had best make the most of it, andtrynot to get himself killed. If he managed to make it through the next few weeks, he promised himself he would go find her. Hopefully,maybe, she would be real.
And if she was?
What would he tell her then?
That he dreamt about her,and only her, for the past few months of his life?
He listened to the gunfire again, and reminded himself that the truck was not far away from the battlefield. He needed to be ready for the split second he marched into the fray with these men, his comrades. He looked down from the haven-filled sky, to the hunched backed men who were carelessly bundled in here with him only ten minutes ago. Newbies, just like him, all just as equally scared. No-one spoke. And he knew half of them wouldn’t make it out of here in the next few hours.
Just how many men were going to be visited by Death tonight?
"Heh," the boy beside him chuckled, and he didn’t know if it was from sheer madness that he uttered that one syllable, or from sheer terror. He cast a sideways glance from the corner of his eye, and saw a boy the same age as him, with hair the colour of wavy night under the standard green helmet, and eyes the colour of the chestnuts in spring. He was looking right at him, his cheek lazily resting on the large rifle he held in his arms, a domineering grin on his otherwise glittering face. He looked away fast: the boy beside him was clearly nuts, and he did not want to push any form of conversation. But of course the boy beside him had to be pushy. "So, we’re five minutes away from our deaths," he lazily grinned again, "Might as well go knowing your name, right?"
He cocked an eyebrow, suddenly tense, "What makes you think we’re all going to die within the next five minutes? Wouldn’t you think some of us might want to get out of here alive?"
Black hair rolled his eyes, "I’m Jabez, by the way, ever so nice to meet you, Mr. Depressed and Cocky," he chuckled. He was too cheerful to be human at this stage. He held out a gloved hand, fingers outstretched, leaving his other hand to rest idly on the crook of his gun.
Poised, ready for battle at a second’s notice- Jabez had been on the field before.
His eyes narrowed at this welcome hand, and he looked back up into this stranger’s eyes, before he sighed, and thought‘Well, there goes the wanting-to-remain-anonymous.’
"It’s Luke," he replied, reaching out for Jabez’s hand, and taking it in his firm grip. All he could think of was one simple sentence, and he read it as simply in the opposite boy’s suddenly stern, chocolate brown eyes-
"Don’t die on me in the next twenty-four hours."