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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Doctor/Nurse (11/02/06)

TITLE: The Reason for War
By Thomas Kappel


The reason for war, I thought, is to kill young people. That makes no sense to me as heaven doesn’t need them, but we all here now are certainly going there. I mean, we’re doing our duty and we’re giving our lives for others—just look.

The smoke was clearing and even though my vision was dim, I could see Tom, Billy, Corky, and Lucky lying around or hanging out parts of our burning blown-up armored vehicle. They were young like me. They were dead. I could tell.

I lay on the ground a piece of burning hot metal sticking out of my neck. It was cooling slowly as my blood flowed around it and out to gather in a dark red pool on the dirty ground by my face. I couldn’t seem to move my arms though I desperately wanted to reach up and pull out that hot metal thing and throw it far away. One side of my mind knew I shouldn’t do that; the other side said you’re dying anyhow make the pain go away.

My vision was growing dimmer. It was fuzzy around the edges at first then the fuzzy moved to the center and the edges became black nothingness. That’s when I saw the doctor and the nurse running full out towards me. That’s when the strangeness began. I don’t know if it was my loss of blood, or my mind dying, or whether what I was seeing was actually real and really happening. The doctor had on a black suit, brilliant white shirt, no tie, and carried a small black bag. The nurse, running beside him, was dressed all in white with a little cap perched and pinned on top of her brown hair.

Please God that they’re real, I prayed. They’re military medics and my mind is seeing them as an old fashioned doctor and nurse like you see in movies or books about small town American doctors. That’s it! Maybe they’re real and came from the town of Fallugia a short way up the road.

The doctor arrived and set his bag down next to me and my pool of blood. He leaned over, blocking the site of my dead friends completely, and placed his hand on my neck wound. He applied pressure and quickly pulled out the metal piece and threw it far away. I wanted to cry, but he held his hand steady and firm on my neck and, for a moment, it felt has hot as the metal piece had, and then he turned to look at his nurse. That’s when things turned really really strange.

The nurse was efficiently pulling things out of his black doctor’s bag to hand to him, crazy things, like a cross and a rosary and …. He’s a priest, I thought for a moment, and she’s a nun. They’re not really a doctor and nurse. My vision began a long slide to black and nothingness. On the way down into the darkness, the doctor and nurse turned into bright glowing fuzzy silhouettes with what I thought for a moment looked like wings. Then I faded completely to black to die.

I opened my eyes to bright whiteness. For a minute, I thought I was in the clouds or in heaven, but slowly the white became a ceiling and an instant later one part of a hospital room. At that moment a doctor came bursting in through the doorway, clipboard in hand, and stopped at the foot of my bed studying me and his chart and then me again.

“Young man,” he began to say, and I spoke the rest of his sentence with him word for word.

“It’s a miracle you’re alive!”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Kevin Kindrick11/09/06
Wow. Yep, that's it, Wow.
Amy Michelle Wiley 11/12/06
Powerful entry. I was a bit disappointed in a few things like the mention of the rosary and the seeming disapproval of war, but those are my own personal beliefs. Good job with the images of the story.
dub W11/13/06
Well told, unfortunately, this story may be told too often. Welcome home soldier.
Teri Wilson11/16/06
Thomas, I was a judge this week so I read every entry. I have to say yours was my favorite. Exceptionally well done. Also, it elicits strong feelings in the reader which always means your piece is successful! Excellent work. I'm just sorry it didn't place. Teri