They wear their bodies inside-out, some are ashes but few are dust. Vacant orbits, oblivious to the incoming tide and the percussive artillery from the heavily fortified positions on Rue de la Mort, view the world with equanimity. Their bloodied stillness at odds with the surrounding tumult.
It’s at times like these - pinned down behind a burnt-out vehicle, the sand skipping around me with the phut-phut-phut of spent rounds - that I envy them their final freedom. Not that all deaths are as elegant and instantaneous as a well aimed bullet to the head.
It is a fleeting thought, hardly even that, a whispering somewhere in the background of my consciousness, like listening to a low-tuned wireless. And with victory as with defeat - with the ear-ringing silence - the whisperings become louder and more persistent.
Right, left; up, down; stop, wait; walk, run; sink, swim; live, die. Some pray to survive, other’s yearn for the sweetspot, the one shot ****. Regardless, there is no doubt that we who remain will fight on for weeks, for years, for decades and continue to live the uncertainty of the living - sweating bullets until kingdom ****** come.
‘They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war. For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate.‘
- Franklin D. Roosevelt