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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write in the HISTORICAL genre (05/03/07)

TITLE: A soldiers story
By Dennis Fletcher


He felt the bullet enter and felt the ground suddenly come up to meet his backside. He began to wonder why everything suddenly became so slow and why the sounds that he had been hearing suddenly became a blur. His mind raced, at a seeming snails pace, and he began to search for his brother-in-arms and for any enemies.

Suddenly, like a lightning strike, he felt pain, truly unimaginable pain that felt like it was ripping his insides out. He began to slowly understand what had happened and realized that he had been shot in the gut. Most of the people he knew that got shot there died horrible deaths and he truly didnít want to die that way. As the pain seared throughout his body, he began to pray and cry out to God to help him through this and looked for the flag he had just been shot to defend.

As he searched for the flag his hearing seemed to slowly come back to normal and he could hear the muskets explode on both sides. He spotted the flag through the thick gun smoke and faintly smiled at the sight. He could faintly hear men shouting all around him and knew that every man on the battlefield was needed. He reached for his musket and struggled to sit up, only to find he couldnít move. He cried at the fact that he could no longer help his fellows, his friends and his family.

He spotted the flag again and gained courage. He prayed for God to pull him through so he could take up the battle along with his brothers. He knew they needed to win here, or the entire country would be lost.

He began to think about how he had always wanted to see southern Pennsylvania. Gettysburg was supposed to be one of the most beautiful places in Southern Pennsylvania, but what he had seen so far had not been as wonderful as he had hoped. It seemed that the musket and cannon balls had done their damage prior to his arrival and he wondered if it would ever be the same as it was.

Suddenly the pain became excruciating and his sight began to blur. He noticed that all of the sounds were beginning to slow down and blend together as well. He began to lose his sight as everything went black and the last thing he heard was the voice of peace that told him not to fear, he would be taken care of.

This had been his fourth visit in twenty years to the battlefield of Gettysburg. He walked over the fields where the main battles had been fought and found the spot where he had been shot. A slight pain went through his stomach as the memories came flooding back and he wondered whatever happened to some of his friends.

He lifted his face upwards, towards Heaven and thanked God for his second chance at life. He then thanked Him again that he fought on the winning side and was spared.

He turned and walked towards his family, thanking God that he was able to come home to them. As he drew closer, a tear fell from his eye as he thought about those who never made it home.

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This article has been read 633 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Michael Aubrecht05/10/07
A very original approach. You painted a very dramatic picture of this soldier's wounding. I would have liked a little more background on his origin, regiment and what part of the field where he fell (I think that may have added a little more "personality") but other than that, it is a very good narrative. I could even see this becoming a longer piece in the future as the reminiscence of veterans are always touching stories.
Jan Ackerson 05/10/07
The writing style here reminded me of Ambrose Bierce's "Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge". It's worth a read, if you're not familiar with it. Nicely done, I like the non-specificty of it; it gives it an "any man" sort of feel.
Alfreda Byars05/11/07
I liked your story. It made me think of the battle of a christian soldier who ended his fight with life and finally made it to the other side where others who kept the faith were waiting to greet him home. Very good writing.
Benjamin Graber05/11/07
I like how you wrote this from a soldier's perspective, drawing what it could have been like to be in his shoes.
I was slightly confused at first by the transition between the battle and many years later, and would suggest that you put some type of mark between the two parts to help the reader see the transition sooner.
Keep up the good work!
Jeffrey Snell05/11/07
This is a moving tale. I wasn't sure at first that we had moved to present day--consider asterisks or similar for separation. Your description of his emotion and desire to survive was gripping.
Myrna Noyes05/11/07
Very moving story from the soldier's personal perspective!

I noticed that in the first three paragraphs you used three "ly" words in a somewhat repetitive way: suddenly, slowly, and faintly. I suggest using more varied words here.

I enjoyed reading this and liked his focus on the flag! Good job! :)
Jacquelyn Horne05/11/07
Good story of a soldier's memories of war. Well written.
Kate Grey05/12/07
This was well done. (The others are correct that you need a transition of some kind.) One of the things that was done well was describing how his sound and vision changed with the physical trauma, and how the sight of the flag affected the character.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge05/12/07
Very moving. You might rethink "the sounds became a blur" in sentence two. Blur is visual where muffled, muted, faint are more audible. It's minor in a marvelous piece.
Marilyn Schnepp 05/13/07
A touching story of a bloody war...and as a Peace advocate, I wish for the day when Jesus returns and there will be no more war!! Nicely done.
LaNaye Perkins05/14/07
I loved this story. One of my favorite lines was when you tell of how he looked at the flag he was shot for. Great job!
Lisa Walker Thomas05/29/07
This is a very moving account, I think it's marvelous to keep our minds on the soldiers that way nothing that we go through seems at all difficult to bear, so many of our husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, and sons and daughters have not made it home, that in itself makes me look up and thank god that I have loved ones I can see and hold for that I am forever grateful, when you think of things like this, an argument seems that much more silly to have with our loved ones, thank you for the reminder, God Bless you, this is brilliant.