Thursday, August 31, 2017

An Unexpected Union

Bartholomew melted into the muddy ground, eyes the size of dinner plates. He clutched at his rifle as if it were to be his salvation. Even if he had ammunition, the bent weapon in his hands would likely not live up to this hope.

As the artillery blasted around him, he tried to calm himself. He counted as high as he could manage. He recited the alphabet forward and backward. He prayed everything he could remember from the book of common prayers as he scrunched down, a human potato in the dirt.

The battle raged around him, the two sides playing a deadly game of tug-of-war over the bridge. The explosions eventually slowed, the gunshots turned to an occasional "pop". Bartholomew stayed buried; frozen for a full day.

He knew his side had lost. He felt it in his soul. When he heard someone approaching, he braced himself, hoping to be passed over as dead.

"Hey! You alive?" FUCK. The man continued.

"We won! We beat those Rebs! You doing okay there brother? I got a sandwich here if you're hungry."

Bartholomew was hungry. Hoping it wasn't a ruse, he unstuck his arm in acknowledgement. He was rewarded with food and water. He was punished with a return to the front lines, where he would die in a Union uniform not even a week later.

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