Her back ramrod straight
supporting symbols of faith
sad and resolute
I am holding the tension in my back, using the rigidity to stop me crumpling to the floor. Laid out before me is a scene I know will play through my dreams tonight, or whenever I am able to sleep next.
It is not fair.
It is not just.
But nothing about this war is.
And there must be a reason for it.
Don’t let it all be for nothing…
My little sister’s face swims across the misty coating of my eyes, smiling and innocent. She deserves a world without this evil. She smiles again, encouraging me to act.
“Grab more bandages from the wards. Get that stretcher over here. Move everyone, MOVE!” The orders flowing over me like waves rushing up the beach are suddenly audible again, and comforting. My training kicks in and I hustle to the nearest stretcher.
He is moaning quietly to himself, in a world beyond mine already, but I know I can help him. I have a moment of panic as the light flickers across his face, but no, his nose is the wrong shape. He is not my John.
“Hello… Frank,” I say, looking at his dogtag. “Can you hear me?” he is still not with me. I start to peel back the rags they’ve used to pack his wounds, and a brassy taste slides across my tongue followed by a putrid stench.
That’s not good.
“Frank! Can you squeeze my hand? I’m your nurse, Elsie. Can you hear me?”
His eyes are still closed, but now his head is rolling to the side, lolling grotesquely against the stretcher.
The doctor runs over, but I can tell it’s already too late.