[Short Story #32] - Dog's breath

in #writing3 years ago (edited)

The writing prompt was:

"Dog's breath"

Provided by @felt.buzz

Image by @rocking-dave

I was finally granted time to rest and I just curled under the blanket of my bed with tears rolling down my cheeks and reached for the rugged leather book under the pillow. I tore out a piece of paper from the book and wrote a letter to my wife that I knew I would never send.

17th of May, 1917.

A lot has happened today, Sarah, so much so I don’t even know where to begin.

I lost a good friend out in the field today. He was controlling the machine gun, I was in charge of the ammo, when a sniper took him clean out. A shot straight between his eyes, right under the rim of the helmet.

I yelled at the top of my lungs when I saw him lifelessly falling, his eyes blank and staring into nothingness. It felt as if the few seconds of watching him fall were turned into not minutes, but hours, as I witnessed his body surrender to the pull of gravity and ultimately fall into the mud, slightly bouncing back up before coming to a complete still. The image of his face, covered in mud and completely expressionless, eyes wide open and a drop of blood slowly making its way from the wound to the mud below, is there every time I close my eyes, even if only for a fraction of a second when I blink.

Still crouching next to his body, for god knows how long already, the Sergeant in charge shouted to me that I need to take control of the machine gun.

Knowing full well that the sniper who took out my friend was still out there, I looked at Pablo again and with the anger that had built up in me, stood up, grabbed the handle and started firing at everything that appeared to be moving. Knowing my friend laid dead beside my feet was heartbreaking, but it filled me up with uncontrollable rage and courage; both of which I needed to expose myself to the enemy the way Pablo did and got himself killed. I yelled whatever came to mind at the top of my lungs with each pull of the trigger as if it would help my aim to shoot the enemy dead.

When I finally ran out of ammo, I collapsed on the floor, crying. I hugged the body of Pablo, my battle cries now replaced by loud uncontrollable wailing. My best friend, still laughing not 30 minutes ago, now dead in the trench amidst thousands of sand bags.

For all I know I could’ve been down in the mud next to him for hours, when suddenly loud whistling pierced the sky.

Poison gas bombs.

Not seconds later the alarm sounded from our headquarters and all the flickering red lights came to life.

With all I had seen happen in my time here, I contemplated whether to run for the gas mask or not.

Dog’s breath, we called them, because the stench of air coming through the filters was exactly like that of a dog after a hearty meal of dry dog food. I wouldn’t be surprised if they took all our old and dirty socks, stuffed them inside the cans unwashed, then called that the filter. Each time I had to put one on I questioned if it was worth it over dying. And each time so far I willingly chose to put it on.

Sarah, I don’t know if I am going to make it. I don't know if I can take this any longer.

I hope you are well.

I folded the tear-stained letter in two, placed it on the night stand, took a large sip of whiskey and cried myself to sleep.

The war was, after all, not over yet.

The End

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constrained writing contest.jpg

If you enjoy writing yourself, I am hosting a constrained writing contest, where each week I limit your writing with various rules and force you to be creative in brand new ways! If you're not a writer yourself, check it out and see what others have come up with! :D

I turn your writing prompts into stories.

Previous writing prompts I have fulfilled:

Happy ending
#1 - Living off the grid
#3 - A young thief
#8 - A traitor from hell
#9 - Not alone
#10 - Millitary testing grounds
#13 - Bigfoot
#14 - And angel in love with a whore
#15 - Down the rabbit hole
#18 - Reborn as a 10 year old
#19 - A struggling door to door salesman
#24 - Rebellious talking food
#26 - Ssssnails!
#28 - Mission Erased
#32 - Dog's breath
#2 - A dolphin tea party
#4 - Stained hands
#7 - The giant depressed onion
#21 - The red star
#25 - Long-distance Relationship
#27 - A dream
#30 - Potato
#31 - Dragons
#5 - The homeless man
#6 - A blind date
#11 - The wealthy man
#12 - Happy ending
#16 - Asshole soulmate
#17 - My bunny Fluffy
#20 - War veteran
#22 - Wishing to meet a villain
#23 - School trip
#29 - Green Chewing Gum

Next writing prompt to be fulfilled:

by @snook

Gif by @rocking-dave


You are reciving this upvote from the @Echowhale team

It's a sad tale, pity we don't appreciate our soldiers well enough.

It broke my heart as I typed it... And then shredded it further into pieces when I edited.

And yes, we don't. Nor could we ever. The horrid stuff they witness in the field... I can only imagine how mentally scarred they all are.

I have an uncle in the army, and believe me when I say their families have it worse. Most never return to the way they were...leaving a ghost of themselves. It's so sad.

Most times, we forget how lucky we are, at least we can try to fathom it, whereas the soldiers, they live it.

I'm not sure if I can agree to anyone having it worse. After all, there's a reason why there's only a shadow of their initial selves left after they return home. I can only imagine what all they see when they close their eyes at night.

I am happy to have never been to war, and hope I never need go.

Fair enough. To lighter notes, Happy new year to you :)

heeeeeeeeey! And to you also! :D Hope you have a great one!

You are receiving this upvote from the @echwhale team

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Powerful story. The numbers of men that were scared for life by what the experienced in the trenches. Some never spoke about their experiences but their relationships suffered. Families suffered. I hope that we will never see another war like it. But with crazy leaders who knows what may come.

Yes. I cannot even begin to wrap my head around what all they witnessed. What all goes on in their heads. How very hard it all is on them, even if they try to act tough on the outside.

Hopefully; not a war. :3

Great story, very dramatic and sad. And realistic.

(I like your link table at the bottom; you have quite the library alrady)

Thank you very much for reading it. ^^ And yes... too realistic..

It was a pain in the A55 to make! haha :D Actually since another person asked me how it was done this way, and you pointing it out also.. I will have a post about how to do it like this done by the end of today. ^^

Thanks again for the comment ^^

@svashta this post was presented at the most recent Pimp Your Post Thursday on the Steemit Ramble Discord. I have written a post to share your featured post. Just stopping back to let you know that you can see your name in lights right here. (Just kidding about the lights :)