Sunday, 16 March 2014


Was it once whole?  Tommy couldn’t remember concrete facts anymore.  He carefully focused on the strange crucifix, clutching it tightly, so tightly his fingers blanched white, deathlike.  Remembered the cascade of bullets spilling like rain from their crate, a metallic rainbow arcing into the trench mud. Remembered his commander screaming to PICK THEM UP NOW! I said NOW! I won’t have slovenly behaviour from MY MEN so help me GOD!!  Was this odd thing once whole? He wavered, breath ragged. Who crafted it?  Was it me?  Inside his head, a small spark, a memory snapshot of a rare warm evening, laughing with his mates under the stars, all of them a bit tight on a bottle of whiskey from someone’s care parcel.  There was a joke but all Tommy could remember now was the punch line…’well if he’s solid gold, he must be too heavy to fly!’  which had been followed by hysterical laughter, muscles weak from mirth.  HE didn’t trust his memory much now.  It could all be a figment, like the imagined high tea at the Ritz with his girlfriend, her smiling and sublime in something lilac and floaty.  He looked again at the bullet crucifix and saw it for what it was, something to keep your mind occupied in the endless hours of waiting for the next onslaught; a way to beat the battlefield boredom.  Still, it was nicely made- should he mend it?  Or should he sleep?  Yes, sleep. That was the better choice.

The copyright of this post belongs to Lynn Hillston

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