Auther Note: I wrote this my first year of NaNoWriMo. And honestly, it hasn't seen the light of day since then. Basically, it's a war story. How 17-year-old me could write a war story without ever having been to a physical you-might-die war, is beyond me. Anyway, enjoy.
I watched her silently as she dug through her medic bag. Sure, it would be easier to dump out and find what she was looking for, but sanitation was a more important issue than just merely treating a patient with all this sand billowing about. As she steadily treated him, another missile flew over head. Its target was much farther down the block, but none the less she lay over her patient to protect him.
The explosion knocked down the corner of a building—it crumbling so easily from all the battering it must have taken from earlier hits. Returning to her task, I could see the expression on her face was blank. Her lips moved as if she said a silent prayer or maybe it was to keep the patient awake. Each time she finished a quick procedure her lips would move the slightest; her eyes glancing around, watching for that aid vehicle.
It never surprised me to see that she was dedicated to each patient, no matter how bleak the cause. That look never left her façade. Every time I saw this situation replay, it was always the same. The same way she looked at me. This never ending circle of life and death.
As if she were running out of ideas, I finally see the truck drive towards them. It skidded to a stop and a man got out of the back, stretcher in hand, to help her put the injured inside. Once inside, the truck pulls away and she is left standing, bloodied hands and uniform. Already she knew he wasn’t going to make it. Reaching down she grabs the medic bag and moves on, hearing a call of help from another. I stretch out my arm to catch her, to warn her of the dangers ahead. But it’s already too late. She has gone to the next patient.
He’s screaming for help as he lay maimed and leg bleeding on the sand. Trying to numb the pain on a man such as this looked dangerous. Each time she tried to help, he thrashed. A few times she was hit with his leg or arms. The blood continued to stain the originally crisp blue uniform, turning it a muddy purple. Slowly his movements become sluggish as he is dying—his energy dwindling. Grasping his hand, I watch as she prays for his soul, hoping he’ll be forgiven of the mess that has been caused in this war. After a few moments, she gets up, lifting her bag. There is nothing more to do than take his dog tags and return to the task at hand. The solitary chain swings loosely as she walks away, it quickly being stowed in her pocket.
I wish to say something comforting, if not anything. But she won’t hear me because I can’t hear her. My voice will not reach her ears, even in the quiet of the night when the shells cease. Her emotions break through, if not by a little as her eyes fill with tears. She quickly inhales and exhales to calm her nerves before returning to her duties as a field medic. I’ve seen that look many a time in these five years of observation. Only twice has she actually shed tears. It pains me to know before she arrives at the next patient who will die and who will survive that day’s battles.
A truck, different than earlier, approaches her as the sun is setting. Some words are exchanged between her and the driver before she finally gets in the back. At first they sit in silence—she and the soldiers—until conversation is struck. It doesn’t take long before they are all laughing, merely at their own sick jokes. None of them will bring up the day’s battles. The blood spilt by their own hands are stories not to be told. Each horrid memory will bring back awful details. This is more than a tragedy, it is a massacre.