So much pain
It flows all around me, all-encompassing
Like a thick, viscous syrup
The dust hangs heavy in the air, no wind to blow it away
The flies, they swarm in clouds
Surrounding and enhancing the stink of death
Their incessant buzzing fills my ears
I look to my left and see a soldier boy’s broken body lying in the dirt, his face marred with scars
Can hear his ragged, sharp intakes as he fights for his life
Slowly trailing off into wet, ****** gurgles.
I’ve never seen death before, but somehow I know that this,
This is it
And I realize he’s close to it
I’ve never felt grief before
But I know its stabbing ache now,
Harsher with every crippled body I see
Growing gradually into an unnatural stillness
I beg for the soldier boy to hold out, I plead silently for him to live
But I know in my heart that he won’t.
Suddenly he chokes out a single word-
“Water!” He gasps
I startle and he falls back again, into the blood-soaked mud
I shift, starting toward him, when liquid fire shoots up my arm
I can hardly see
Can barely breathe
Nearly immobilized by anguish, I move once more to help him
Water trickles into his open mouth,
And then, for the first time, I see the light of life leave someone’s eyes
I slump onto the hard, unforgiving soil
Down, down, my eyes travel
Roaming over what’s left of my arm
Flesh and shards of bone
My gaze swivels around to the ****** landscape
Shredded bodies, torn horses kicking at the air
Death, so much death.
For long hours I lay baking in the sun, surrounded by devastation
At last, long last, far beyond the point of hope,
The Giver brings me back.
I turn my sunken stare to him, and he hides his stricken face
For showing all that I now know
“Forgive me,” he whispers
I nod absently
That was War.
This was written as an assignment for English class, and is about Jonas' first interaction with war and tragedy, from the book The Giver.