Wilfred's War

This is short story about Wilfred -- a fifteen-year-old Australian kid -- and has been cropped and edited to enter into a contest in a few days time.

So constructive criticism would be very, very, very, much appreciated! Thank you, Guys!

Chapter 5

Dulce Et Decorum Est

by: Skyling
France: July 1, 1916

“C’mon. You’ll be right, Wilfy,”

“Of course I will,” Wilfred retorted, roughly wiping at his burning eyes, “We both will.”

“Right,” Neal mumbled back. He finished loading his rifle and waited for the sharp whistle to signal their attack, “We’ll be fine. Just keep your eyes ‘head, Wilf, and don’t stop runnin’. I’ll race you to the other side, right?”

“Mate,” Wilfred sniffed, blinking hard, “I’m the fastest runner in all o’ Brisbane.”

“Bet my whole town could run faster’n you,” Neal teased, tensing for the call.

“Hah! That’s a lark. What town are you from anyway?” His friend asked, giving a watery smile.

“Gympie,” Neal replied, “You ever been there?”

“Never heard of it,” Wilfred gave his mate a half-hearted laugh, but it felt so forced that he dropped it, and lowered his voice to a hoarse whisper, “Is this your first time over the top, Bluey? It is for me.”

“Nah,” Neal glanced at Wilf; his throat catching as he saw the tears still flowing from the younger boy’s wet, blue eyes. “But, best of luck to you then, old mate, let’s hope you make a good job of it.”

It seemed as if the the entire line fell into a tense silence. Neal could hear his own blood pounding harshly in his ears. Wilfred’s breath was shallow and quick. The boys gripped onto their Rifles with moist, quivering fingers.

Then the Whistle blew; a desperate, piercing scream ringing out through the early morning air. All along the trenches – men leapt up over the sandbags and flew, like red-breasted sparrows, into frightening blindness of the dawning mist.

And they fell like grey autumn leaves, beneath an oppressive, foreign sky.

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