Battle Wounds

For every bit of good luck, there's an equal amount of terrible horrifyingly bad luck. This coming from the man who stormed the beaches, chased the Turks into the hills and then fled back to the line when they began counter-attacking. I thought myself invulnerable, if only for a short moment. Gave me a strong bit of confidence that I hadn't before. I shouldn't have wasted all of my luck in one single bloody day.

'Volunteered' for wire duty out on the trenches. With MacPherson and a fresh replacement whose name I forget. Got to the lines, the NCO in charge informed us it had been a quiet evening. I expected things to go smoothly. We crossed into no man's land and hesitated, our first mistake. Held my breath as I waited for a barrage of machinegun fire. Replacement takes a shot in his chest and goes down without so much of a sound or protest. The lad was dead before I even got my first bandage out. Said some words, turned back to MacPherson and went to our duties. Thought maybe we had avoided detection - the Turks stopped firing after the replacement went down.

That's when I heard the third shot. It didn't quite register at first; I didn't really understand what was happening. I mean, hell, I haven't injured myself in my whole life. Not so much as a broken bone. When I was little I used to cry and cry about small cuts and scrapes. But this? I had never experienced anything like it before. I feel like a sack of bricks, wire and all. I recall David crawling over to try and help, but there was nothing he could do. It was a stomach wound - I knew what the next few moments would bring.

David finished putting down the last bit of wire, offered his apologies and began making back towards the line. Under a hail of bullets I saw him retreat, that's when the mortar barrage began. Crawled my way over to the dead soldier and clung for dear life, trying my hardest to remain conscious. The last thing I remember was the sun creeping over the distance hills. I hadn't expected to wake up when my eyes closed.

But I guess fate is on my side. The bullet passed clean through and didn't hit any major organs. Red Cross found me and kept me alive. Not sure how long I was in surgery for, though. Hurts like hell, but I'm glad to be alive. Tomorrow is another day and it's not my time to go yet - some of these lad's lives will need saving and I'll be there to take care of them.

Private Alistair Lydgate, Combat Medic

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