Artillery Attack

Written by Matt S


You can hear them. Thundering. Screaming. You feel them too. That screaming, it sucks you in. Almost like it's pulling you towards the sky, when all you want to do is to dig deep into the earth, melt with it, become so engrossed in rock and dirt that the shells can't see you. If they can't see me, they can't find me. They can't hit me. But that screaming, it pulls you up, almost as if you can feel your soul flying away from you it's so scared. I am so scared.

Of course I've thought about it. How to best save myself. Hide from these metal monsters so I make sure it's not my sorry ass that they fall on. Captain used to always say just dig in, stay put, and keep your goddamn head down. But I mean, does it really even matter? Will the shell fall on me anyways? During quiet times, I get to thinking. I imagine the shells. I see them fly high into the sky, above the dead trees and through those black clouds. That dark, soaring, lifeless canister. It goes through the black clouds and up into the blue sky that has escaped us for so long; escaped us down here, but not those shells. Those shells reach so high up into the sky I imagine them kissing the edge of Heaven, entering that ethereal glow before plummeting back down to the gray earth.

And when I see them come down, falling, I imagine that they aren't really falling but that they are gliding. Or flying, rather. They sprout wings. They kiss Heaven and the Lord gives them wings to fly. I see them too, the wings. Big wide white wings, filled with the most full feathers you could ever imagine. Angel's wings. Glowing white, and they smell like clean pillows. Like clean pillows coming right out of clean laundry. But the angels, the angels that gave their wings, or made new ones for the shells, the angels are what guides the shells. They make the shells seek out the sinners, fall upon those who weren't so nice or had sinned and done wrong. And so the sorry bastards get what was coming to them. It's clear to me that they just get what they deserved; those angels guide those shells right into the sinner's foxhole and deliver him.

But other times, I see those wings still, but I look closer. And the white I saw, the feathers, well all that wasn't really there. I mean the wings were there, but they weren't white or made of feathers, and they sure as hell don't smell like clean pillows. They are black. Black and red, and look like they are made of leather. Like a bat's


wings. Devil's wings. Demon wings sprout out of the shells, and I realize that the shells don't seek out the sinners; no, they get the ones who pray. Those who believe in God and try to do good. The shells seek them out and this pleases Satan, and he looks up at us, broken free from his frozen spell, and he points to the righteous and guides the shells to their holes.

Or I don't know. I get confused sometimes. Maybe some of the shells have angels' wings and some of them have demons' wings. A great big battle goes on for each shell. Each time one is sent up, the angels and the demons prepare to do battle and fight for control of the shell. And the winner will decide if it is the righteous or the sinners that will meet that shell. How else can you make sense of how both saints and sonsofbitches alike meet that same fate?

But that's wrong too. It's way fucking off- hell, it doesn't even make sense. You start looking for some meaning or sense in all this bullshit and you'll get lost. Lost in the mud. Lost in that stench in the ground. Lost in the black hole where my Captain's eye used to be, surrounded by all the maggots and bugs and you can't find your way out. Blind and lost. Suffocated and blind and trapped and confused and just plain lost, caught in the gas cloud and the mud and the dark and ground and the metal and there's no escape.

I'm sorry if this is long and boring - voluntarily or not, these thoughts dominate my mind.

But I guess there's only one more thing I want to say before I let you go. I think about something else too, about the shells. I imagine a split frame, there's a left and a right. And in both frames you see a beautiful young baby, born fresh and free and clean; why, there's not a speck of mud on him, on either of them.

And these two boys, they grow older. You see each grow up, in each frame; crawling, giggling. Watching his parents smile as he takes his first steps, his first words. And slowly the focus changes, and the viewpoint gets closer and closer, and all you can see are the boys' hands. And you watch these hands as he continues to grow. They pick up a bat, or throw a soccer ball. They play with toys and eat food. They grasp pencils and write school papers, hold girls' hands and give red roses.

But those hands, they no longer hold hands or toys; it is steel and lead and iron and all those metallic instruments of death. And those hands. All you can see is


still the hands. And on the left, on one side, you see them digging. Franticly. They are digging through the mud, and you see how frantic and scared those hands are. And the mud seeps through their fingers with each terrified scoop, trying to go deeper and deeper into the earth. The other set of hands, nervously but surely, fires off a shell. And at that instant, both those sets of hands, both those lives, have ended.

Thump thump thump.

Shh, did you hear that? It is coming. That storm of steel. It is coming for me. Just in case...I will leave you with a proper goodbye. So, goodbye.

Keywords: war

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Man thats realy somthing else. It realy sucks you
into it. Fair play

So real. Thanks for sharing!