My voice is hoarse from screaming, I allow some snowflakes to melt on my tongue and then swallow the frigid droplet of water. The pain throbbing in my legs won’t cease, I contemplate attempting to stand again but know I will just collapse in an agonised heap back into snow. My clothes are saturated and icy. My back is numb from the cold, all I can feel is the pain in my legs and the despair rising from the pit of my stomach.
“Help! Help me; I’m still alive out here!” Crying out for help is futile; they can’t come out and rescue me. Anyone who tries will be mown down before they even reach me. I try to raise my arm to wipe some snow flakes from my face. My coat won’t allow me to bend my arm, its frozen stiff. What will kill me first, I wonder, the bullet wounds in my legs or the bitter cold. I don’t want to die! I’m 21, I want to be back home playing ball and going to the movies. How long have I been lying here? It feels like an eternity. I raise my head and look at my legs, the snow is stained red. There is no hope, I look left and right, straining through the inky blackness to make out some movement, some indication of life. I don’t care if its friend or foe, I just want to survive. I don’t want to die in the middle of a nameless Belgian field.
I can feel tears flowing down my face. “Take me you fucker! Come on death, kill me you pussy!” I don’t want to die but I can’t take waiting anymore. The cold has permeated my very core; I cannot feel anything, not even the agony of my shattered legs. “Mother! Don’t let me die. Help, help, help! Someone, please!” I try to punch the ground but my arms have frozen, frostbite is gaining. “No, no, NO!” This isn’t how it was meant to be. We were all going to survive, an army of young liberators. So many have died since June, why should I be any different?
The cold is making it hard for me to breath; I can’t fill my lungs anymore. I lie back and close my eyes. I open them and scream in pain. I can’t feel my body only pain. I look to the horizon, the sun is rising. The sun means warmth, warmth means survival. My spirits rejoice every so slightly. I close my eyes again, unable to withstand the pain. The sun is rising, warmth. Warmth.