Beyond the Lines

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beyond the lines

Sprays of dark blue lap against the side of the boat, as men armed with weapons load down from the rusted metal crate. The brown planks of sickly withered wood, crash against the shore as rain dampens the grain underfoot. The smell of blood shed is still fresh in their memories from that day. A layer of thick mist straps then to the ground, clouding their terror-struck eyes, ever vigilant in the sight of danger. Darks clouds loom over head and the night shrieks a thundering howl. 

 

Despite the danger that lies ahead, heavy boots march forward, knowing well what their fate will be. An expression of dolour hung to their faces, as they trudged on through the sand, their body’s heavy from the down pour. They could taste the salt droplets pouring from above, reminding them of their family’s tears and they waved them last goodbye. 

 

In front of them lay the wreckage of a once a proud tank, with their flags flapping in the air. They still remembered those days, where warm rays of the sunlight and the sound of laughter lit up their faces. Now all they could hear was a sharp gunshot, which could be felt in their chest as it took another soul away from the body. They crumpled their noses when the smell of ash poisoned the air. The only light in the dark came from the sparks of fires as they blazed the sky sending a warning to their foes. 

 

Running away was not an option at this point, as the gunshot signalled their bodies to start moving. From walk, to jog, to run…..  nobody would risk stopping now; nowhere was safe. 

 

Their bodies lunged and the ground was level with their face. Eyes peering over the blood sodden dirt. Their fears and anxiety pulled them down into the trenches, their first instincts told them to curl up in a ball and hide. Instead the greatest weapon on the battlefield isn’t a gun or sword;  it is hope.  And doubt is your only enemy.

 

Corpses of once proud soldiers lie lifeless on the ground, their faces reflected of the pool of blood surrounding them. When looked upon now, red was the only colour that stood out from the ever- engulfing ashen grey in the air. The only colour that reminded them that this wasn’t a black and white movie in which there is always a happy ending. If you had the chance to stare into their grievant eyes at this very moment, all you could see was dark black ditches, which once had an expression of life in them.

 

Two meagre specks of life move across the battle. One older, gripping onto so hard to his brothers’ hand, that his knuckles turn white. Heavy pounding in the ground as well as deep sharp pants. His brown hair black from soot, his eyes stricken with fear. As he glances all around him, gunshots ring in his ears and bodies fall coldly to the ground. His brother in his arms as he crouches in a trench, fearing what awaits him beyond the commotion. 

 

The ground explodes around them as dust and specks rise into the air where the tip of fires dance in the grey sky. Instead of feeling a hurt, the world spins in extravagant colours, making reality seem like a dream. The ground turns into floored wood planks and a concrete room with various artefacts surrounds them. The window outside lets in loud noises of pleasant chattering and a hand rests on their shoulders. 

 

A cold and worn leather bound book rests in the palm of the elder boy’s hands with torn pages brimming with eloquent curls and loops of ink. The hand of their grandmother takes away the diary and places it back on the museum shelf. For a moment, her eyes seem lost in an endless void of pain which she may never break through from; then her lips grow into a smile. But not genuine and happy like when she hands you a warm batch of cookies; but a smile that hides something beneath the edges. 

 

Without a single word, the boys bury themselves into her warm comforting hug, and step out of the door. Nobody speaks of their grandfather, sacrificing himself for their happiness. Silent gratitude is the best kind of feeling in some situations. They just wish they could tell him that he didn’t die in vain.

 

The three step out of the building in complete and utter silence.

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