Friday, October 27, 2006

The Rubble of Men.

The men stood apart from each other, languidly and not taking notice of their farewell ration of the rare hot chocolate. A Private Charles Finn leaned against a piece of rubble with his helmet on his knee and the hot chocolate in his left hand. His eyes saw nothing, took in nothing. Another Private, Kent Bramble, sat unsupported and stared at one of the guarding soldiers, one of the men issued to aim the rifle and fire. He was a tall man, with a mustache, and held a look that showed his lack of opinion on his orders. Private Kent Bramble wished this man to be the one with the bullet in his rifle.

One of the issued soldiers was staring at the Private Peter Henley, who was crouched and hugging himself, facing the rubble landscape and muttering to himself of his insanity.

The last Private, Bernard Lindleman watched the landscape, taking in the beauty of destruction. He didn't touch his hot chocolate, but held a clean head, unlike Private Peter Henley or Private Charles Finn or Private Kent Bramble, who were lost to the world. He did not touch his hot chocolate because he tended to feel as though it did not suit him to drink hot chocolate. He then took in the rubbled church in which was to be their dying ground. It found him ironic, for he refused in the belief of gods.

The four Privates awaited the Final Order. An army jeep's engine was heard and after a few moments it appeared. Within it was a the man to give the orders and the witness. The witness was a photographer and so took the last photo Private Charles Finn, Private Kent Bramble, Private Peter Finley and Private Bernard Lindleman would ever have.

The seven soldiers who recieved the orders took a draw, to take which rifle. Private Charles Finn was ordered to stand over to a spot and had his crimes read to him. His crime was refusal to orders and cowardice. He stood, thinking about the reason why he didn't drink his hot chocolate. He refused it for his French wife would make the best he could remember. She had died though, in Verdun, from German cannon fire. As he was thinking of the first time he had tasted her hot chocolate and knew that they would be together by marriage, he was shot. He was glad for that last memory, for it was one of his favourites.

The rifles were given back and the process was repeated as the dead person was put into the jeep. Private Kent Bramble stood in his spot to die. His crime was refusal to orders and cowardice. He thought of how the soldier, who he wished would be the man to kill him, was his brother. He looked like him, held the same manner as him. It made Private Kent Bramble sad to think that his brother would not survive the war. Or that he died several months ago, helping his mother flee Marne. The seven soldiers fired. Private Kent Bramble stared at the soldier who killed him. His brother, he was sure, had killed him.

The Private Peter Finley screamed out his insanity as he was pulled to his dying spot. He was read his crimes, as he screamed how he was insane. His crime was refusal to orders and cowardice. His mind replayed images of his long months of laying in a sickly bed, recovering from shellshock. With his fever, he deliriumed of his wife bringing him baked pies and bowls of his favourite soups. Two months after his shellshock he was brought news from a fellow soldier that his wife and his children had fleed to the States. It broke him, for he felt them leave him to die in this war. He would refuse to fight, saying he was not well. He, in his yelling, felt warm blood spreading and soaking his uniform. It was when he realised that he had no children and refused to believe in his wife.

Private Bernard Lindleman was lost in his viewing of the fine scenery he would die in. He heard the last shot and stood up uncounsiously. While he was drowning in the beauty of destruction, he had counted the shots. One of the men led him to his spot to die. They asked if he wanted a blindfold and he told them no, there was too much destruction to look at. He heard the men read his crimes and found it monotonous. His crime was refusal to orders. He was never a coward. As he searched with his eyes, he found a piece of broken church that was positively lovely. He was shot there, sketching the piece of rubble in his mind.


This took place... well... not precisely during WWI or WWII. It took place in a world of the collaboration of the two. Think of it as the setting of WWI and the ideals of WWII (well... the same type of ideals, not the exact same reasonings). ((Ah, and yes. I realise that they would most certainly have their eyes covered, but this is a different world. The times are not so soft. There is a high honour system and these men were probably worse than dirt to a proud citizen of the empire they belonged to.)) There are times when I write about this war. Not in chronological order, but they're there. The reason why I wrote this was because of an article a while ago that appeared on the BBC newsletter: pardoned soldiers.

I must say, Private Bernard Lindleman was probably my most favourite of them. He was initially an artist, really. He was sort of that solemn, serious, heavy-reader, quiet artist. I'm pretty sure he took photographs. He isn't the painter sort.

Private Kent Bramble must have been my second favourite. He loved his brother. After he was bedridden (trench fever, the same for all of them... well, except Lindleman), he recieved news that his brother and mother died in a sort of Blitzkrieg. Devestated, he wanted some sort of realise. Having a man who looked incredibly alike his brother gave him the precise realise he would have wanted. ((Of course, you don't get all of this in the story, really. Ah... well. Faulty writing?))

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