Wartime ruins by clair wannell

I lay on my back, army uniform still on, tears streaming down my stricken face, memories flashing before me. Climbing out of the safety of the trenches, shooting wildly, throwing hand grenades, the shell landing. All the men killed, my own Pa and brothers lying dead before me. How I wished I was dead too, it was so unfair. Poor Ma, learning from the telegram that most of her family had been wiped out. Poor Pa, poor Wilhelm, Zac and Felix, all of them killed, I should be with them, but I'm safe, still on the battlefield, but safe. I never wanted to enlist, but it was this or death. And now both my legs were hanging off. Two men bustled out of the great green ambulance, their dull grey eyes widened as they caught sight of me, a stretcher carried between them. They whistled and shouted, glanced at each other grimly. They slid that stretcher underneath me and told me of my fatal injuries, fed me rum to brighten my moods, though it only made me worse. There was one man at each end as they hauled me into the back of the truck then slammed the doors behind them. We drove at speed as the Germans raced after us, firing bullets at the door, though only one hit me, hard in the arm it did, a pain so piercing I could not even let out a scream. Finally we arrived at the hospital, a huge brick building, bleak and ugly. I was rushed in to the operating theatre where they injected me with a large amount of liquid. My glassy eyes glazed over, then every thing turned black.


Soon I woke from my sleep and was in a large metal bed, secure and comfy at last. I felt for my legs. They weren't there. Instead were artificial wooden legs stiff and new. I loathed them. A fake arm too! I groaned as I remembered what the ambulance drivers had told me. My back was broken, I would never walk again. I sobbed into my hands, a sob that wrenched at my heart and shook my body. I howled and threw my smart hat across the room in rage, I ripped open my waistcoat and untucked my crisp white shirt. I tore my trousers and threw away my tie, Shook the metal helmet from my downy blonde hair and pulled the strong harsh boots away from my feet. I had ruined my soldiers outfit, well, I wouldn't wear it again now I was so weak and broken. Still seething I glared at the girl beside me. She had the exact same injuries as me, exact same uniform, exact same angry, melancholy face. Finally I broke the silence, like a knife to the skin. "Why are you in army uniform, you're a girl?!" I spat, staring, perplexed, at her long auburn hair spread about her shoulders. Her bright, alert green eyes bore through me, so I had to look away, defeated. She smirked triumphantly. Now I saw her real face, radiant and pretty, a line of freckles over her nose. "I cut my hair so short I looked like a boy. I said my name was George Jones. It was easy after that, I just didn't let people see me change, I clipped my hair every week, though now it's grown back." She grinned, proud of her little scheme. I smiled back, and I meant it. From that moment on we were firm friends.