they came at dawn

Charles looked down the line, then down at his watch. The hands lit up in the dreek morning light. He allowed himself a moment to remember his last birthday where he received the watch as a gift from his sister, before movement in his peripheral vision snapped him back to reality.

“The boys are ready sir.” His second in command said, returned from his final inspection of the line.

Charles nodded and checked his watch again. 90 more seconds to go.

The time crept by, every time Charles checked his watch he could swear the hands had barely moved. Then, when by his watch there were still five seconds to go, he heard the first whistle blow, then another and another. Without thinking he reached for his own, put the cold metal to his lips and blew.

Its shreek launched himself up and over the trench wall, losing his footing as he collapsed down the other side. A hand grabbed him, pulling him upright.

“I’ve got you sir.”

He didn’t check who it was, just turned and resumed his mad run towards the enemy. Then he heard it, the first crack and wizz of incoming rounds screaming past his head.


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