As I saw the family climb up the hill, towards the billowing smoke, a feeling ricocheted inside of me. Telling me, screaming at me to save them. A feeling so passionate that they must not die. They haven't freely opted for this war, they did not choose to be a part of it, so why must they die in vain for something they did not want? The mother held a small childs hand, while the father scouted ahead, they could not and would never have anticipated what was hidden in that smoke, the fate that lay before them if I didn't do something.
I scrambled to the trench wall, the mud below my grubby boots oozed and squelched as I made my way to the edge of the field. An open plain where enemy forces lay in wait, hiding disguised for a sign of anyone that opposed them. A field where mines lay buried in the dirt, anticipating the wrong step of an unthinking soldier. A field that mist lay thickly upon, making it almost impossible to see in front of you.
I felt the warm breeze drift across my face, cradling it, saying goodbye to me. I knew saving this family would mean being a martyr. My friends have been killed my family massacred, my life was my own, to do with it what I will. Crouching, I checked over my shoulder, at the carcasses that lay in peaceful pain. I checked to my left, then my right, the mist fogging my vision. I took a deep intake of musty air, possibly my last. And I ran.
No thoughts. No distractions. The sound of blood pumping hard in my ears, my boots hitting the ground. I ran to the left slightly, then the right. Avoiding bumps in the grass, in fear of mines. A sudden shout to my right, one hundred guns armed, ready. No time to panic. No time to stop, to duck, just keep running. My pace increased. I knew that I couldn't take any longer. The family would have advanced closer to the peak of the hill. If I took any longer, my efforts would have been in vain.
I felt sweat run from under my helmet. Drops rolling down my face, almost like the tears I haven't shed. I saw the base of the hill, looking up in the thinned mist i saw the family of three. My efforts doubled. I knew that the last act had to be saving the family, had to be. The grass was longer here. But free, free from mines, untouched by soldiers or vehicles alike. No man's land. Shouting at the top of my breathless lungs I called out. Screamed out. The mother looked down at me in horror and shouted up to the father. Scooping the child up they ran beyond the hill.