Dulce et Decorum Est

HSAR

This too shall pass.


Story is marked as mature.

I saw war as a curiosity. Threw myself gladly into the first one, the Great War, seeing in the grim and determined eyes of young men something that I had once possessed.

That died in the gas and mud of the Western Front. I wondered if this was a preview of the Hell I desired (or, perhaps, deserved) while night and day blended in staccato bursts of white phosphor shells and incendiary tracer.

In northern France alone I wandered through His dark embrace more times than I can clearly recall. Cut down by machine guns, shattered by mortar fire, crushed alive in collapsing trenches. I rose, forced whole again, to take what few steps I could before another death took me.

In some vile way, I felt satisfaction. It was possible that I deserved it. That, somewhere in those blood-drenched, soul-heavy fields I cancelled some part of the punishment that had been decreed upon me for crimes forgotten.

They must have been heinous and many, I thought, while shells dropped and bullets ripped apart my flesh.


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