Page 2

It was surreal the way that some things could take new form in an atmosphere of violence, and call to attention unspeakable realisations through senses Pavel was never previously aware existed. The sheer amount of blood that had been shed, whether visible or not, whether in close proximity or otherwise, seemed to creep through the collective mindset and manifest itself in every thought like a cold breeze that didn't dare move the earth but at the same time made itself infinitely known. No amount of introversion, or method of internal escapism, could distract him from the knowledge that the lives of men had been taken here by other men, who even themselves hadn't truly come to terms with the concept of life itself.

Even so, Pavel crushed his eyelids together so tightly that his temples rang and echoed in his eardrums. Sucking in the oxygen he had obtained a new-found appreciation for, he earnestly endeavoured to find solace in his most pleasant of memories. But he was distracted by, of all things, a deafening silence. No distant rattling of rifles, no crunching of boots in gravel, not even the hissed banter of his comrades. It was a haunting ordeal to experience an emptiness that was more terrifying than than roaring gunfire. Pavel had, unknowingly, clung to the predictable and rhythmic soundscape of conflict as though it were some deranged abstraction of his previous mundane routine that he was forced to become accustomed to.

Nobody was moving beyond the rise and fall of heaving chests, and the occasional drag at a sub-standard cigarette. It wasn't that something dire had occurred, an event that shook the men and stole the words from their lips. But rather there was a brief moment where inactivity was excusable. The sorry souls stationed behind mounted machine guns had seized a rare opportunity to recuperate, and so, too, had every other creature in and near to the smouldering battlefield.

Of course the tableaux was short-lived, and nothing could have demonstrated this more dramatically to Pavel than an aggressive projectile launched in his general direction.

"Move, Move, Move!" growled the man beside him, but his own evasive action illustrated his order more gravely than his words.

In an instant, split-seconds before Pavel was able to kick his aching muscles into action, the earth propelled itself in a multitude of directions, tossing shards of rock and soil both to the heavens and into the backside of an indisputably terrified young man.

Adrenalin coursed through his veins, thick and fast like a provoked black mamba, commanding his frail legs to sprint before he consciously knew to. The thoughts airing in Pavel's frightened mind were innumerable and, primarily, nonsensical; a barrage of primitive expletives since drowned out by eons of progressive civilisation. It was like nothing he had never experienced before, a shock to the core so unexpected and instantaneously ruinous that only a fair time after reaching cover was he able to recount to himself the fate he had so narrowly missed. But he did make it to cover, and with no wound greater than a decent cluster of bruises around his upper back. Immediately Pavel collapsed into the dirt at the foot of the man who had saved his life. And with his heart begging to burst through his ribcage, he decided there and then that any attempt to hold onto his innocence would be an exercise in futility.

The End

2 comments about this story Feed