Literarni natečaj OŠ Narodnega heroja Rajka Hrastnik – angleščina
June 21st, 1:04 pm near Okinawa
“And remember, comrades, your resolution must never falter. No argument must lead you astray. Never listen when they tell you that Man and the animals have a common interest, that the prosperity of one is the prosperity of others. It is all lies. Man serves the interests of no creature except himself…”
General’s last words before getting assassinated.
June 21st, 2:14 pm above Okinawa
The words rang in my head just like the raging motors of the airplane. “What did he mean by that?” I questioned myself, feeling quite lost, not that others were any better. The looks on the soldiers’ faces told me everything about their emotions, they were faces of shock and horror, not that I could resent them. We were in war anyways and their feelings were acceptable, completely. Even I was terrified, even though I didn’t have a wife to come back to or loving children, my squad had it way harsher.
It wasn’t long as the lieutenant entered the small space we were in, telling us some of the last second battle plans that we couldn’t wait for- oh the irony. My mind felt blank after that, the general’s words before we left vanishing into dust. It felt like the submachine gun on my back became heavier as my comrades, no, friends started to jump out of the plane. My heart was beating faster than ever before, taking one last breath as I jumped. There was a small glint of hope that my parachute wouldn’t open, but I remembered all the voices from my family and other Americans, telling me to be proud and do my best. Such simple words, yet so important and deep. I pulled the rope that opened the parachute and hoped for the best. My eyes glanced around the base, immediately taking off my heavy backpack as I rushed towards my group to be sent off to the battlefield. The grip on my submachine gun tightened as I dodged a mine, with the help of James, my fellow comrade. I nodded at him as a thank you and breathed heavily as I stood back up again and started running through the smoke and fast bullets.
The Japanese sure were feisty, I was yet again stuck. How to even attack them? They had machine guns, mines and skilled gunners, and here I was, unable to recognise the terrain. Was I even on the right track? Was I already dead? So many questions flushed through my mind and I was surely starting to get paranoid. Suddenly, I took a hold of myself and started shooting, a strange wave of rage rushing through my veins, we have lost so many soldiers already and it didn’t seem that the numbers of corpses are going to stop. The Kamikaze got the best of us and we were already low on supplies, this surely was the end of it all. Although others gossiped how Japanese were low on soldiers, that didn’t stop me from killing as many as possible and my rage wasn’t against it at all.
After a long couple of minutes, I finally took a break. I was confused, not many soldiers were near me at all, so I wanted to investigate. With a pistol shoved in my belt, I was sure that I was protected enough. I narrowed my eyes as I tried to look around for any humans and much to my surprise, there weren’t any. I shook my head, I was probably imagining things, but… I wasn’t fooled by my brain at all, there weren’t any others here, I was probably alone-
“Ah crap!” I screamed as my hand subconsciously gripped my left shoulder, feeling the pain as my eyes stared at the ground where a piece of crimson red flesh laid. I’ve definitely been shot, it can’t be anything else. Instantly, I heard shouting: “Shit, John has been shot!” Sean. “Sean!” I yelled, hoping that my squad member heard me. I felt weaker by every second that passed, until another bullet shot right next to my right ear, hearing loud ringing and buzzing in my head as I collapsed. My eyes fluttered as I let out my last breath, feeling strong arms pulling at my waist.
That was the last time Sean touched me.
26th June, Austin, Texas at 7:08 pm
Mumbling was heard from the room full of Americans. As I sat up and rubbed my tired brown orbs, others gasped in surprise, before smiling widely and cheering. “Everyone! He woke up!” I heard a voice say cheerfully. I smiled softly as I was embraced by none other than my own mother. “What the hell happened?” I asked, looking up at my mother. “Oh… Well, you… You survived the war… You did it, you made me proud, John”, she smiled, her wrinkles showing slightly and I couldn’t help but to grin as well. I was happy, but the euphoria didn’t last for long as I heard how many of my fellow branch members were killed. I was also haunted by the memories of the screaming injured soldiers, the scenes being quite real and just as grotesque as in real life. Men, already yelling and being aggressive on the airplane, some of them barely suppressing their sobs. My eyes widened in shock, knowing that I must have lost my hearing, and unfortunately, I was right.
I spent many days in the hospital after the incident and many others were in same condition as me. I was severely depressed, not knowing what caused these emotions. Even though I hadn’t explained much, many things happened during the war and those emotions mixed with my injuries. The grief I felt for Sean, whom lost his life while carrying me to the base was major and I couldn’t do anything to save him. I felt utterly useless and the fact that he had the children of his own added to that. I tried and tried to stay positive, to not lose hope, even though many already did. Other civilians didn’t seem to care about the mental state of their country’s troops, but I couldn’t blame them, just like I couldn’t do that with my comrades…Ha… I guess I am weak…
And I only became weaker.
The memories became more and more frequent and I was already losing the battle with my sanity, each and every day was torture, the pleads, screaming and sobs of young children. Yet again, I was crying, pushing the palms of my hands against my ears. “Stop it! Stop!” I begged desperately, but no one came to help. I was alone, the memories destroying my brain with their constant reminders of the pain I felt that time. I finally understood what the general tried to say, at least I thought so. The animals were clearly our enemies, it meant that no matter how much we could trust the Japanese, they would always stab our backs. Or maybe he meant that even though they wanted peace and we wanted peace, we could never agree on some of the rules and the whole situation would turn its way for the worse rather than good.
Just like Men and animals.
So, this is how I spent my days in the hospital, writing my torturous memories in a journal that I kept from pre-war times. It helped me quite a lot, but that didn’t mean I was completely okay. There were many nights when I couldn’t sleep at all and only think about one thing. Suicide…I was on the verge of a mental breakdown and there was a day when I snapped.
And I couldn’t snap out of it.
November 5th, 10:26 pm, 1945
Smoking a cigarette on the apartment building’s rooftop, I sighed. Was this really the end? I questioned myself, smiling softly at the night sky, before letting go of the death stick, letting it fall onto the ground. I threw my head back and closed my eyes, a small tear escaping from them and just like the cigarette, it fell. This was definitely the end of the road, I kept trying for everyone, but it got the best of me. I knew no one would remember me, I was just another one of those soldiers who suffered from mental abuse, nothing major right? This is how I tried to make my death as comedic and positive as possible, but I felt like a complete opposite. As I took my last breath, I felt a whole wave of energy consume me and I felt… Free, happy and overall grateful. Grateful for such a peaceful night, I was by myself and no one could object what I was about to do.
And, that’s how I left this world with a jump over the railing and a smile on my face.
No one knew about the soldier’s tears, life went on.
Brina, 9. a 6