Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Autumn/Fall (08/27/09)
TITLE: AUTUMN ANGEL
By Bryan Rudolph
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The first thing I remember, before I was shot, was how much I missed my family.
Our company of light infantry had marched most of the day along a narrow muddy country road. Close by was a scant farmer’s field still dotted with rotting pumpkins. The sky was heavily overcast, usual for that time of year, but some sunshine struggled to seep through here and there. Stinging cool breezes and wild wind gusts had free rein against our out-of-season summer uniforms. Spectacular surrounding tree trunks still sported a full head of leafy hair . . . gorgeous earthy colors and shades. Given winter soon approaching, I wondered why those leaves had not yet fallen.
We then came under extremely heavy gun fire.
I was suddenly shell shocked by the maddening violence descending on us. The relentless pounding, pounding, pounding of merciless bombs dropping . . . again and again and again . . . it was indescribably deafening and horribly frightening . . . and then it stopped. Instantly.
I found myself alone . . . in that farmer’s field. I couldn’t move my legs. My hip bled to the soil. I was drenched in a penetratingly agonizing pain, but I thanked God that I was still alive
I could hear trucks heading toward me, along the same country road I was just on. Were they friends or foes? I got hold of my weapon and inched myself in position, to get ready to shoot, if necessary. Then a most beguiling event took flight. The broad leaves, from those massive trees, started to fall, in quite overwhelming numbers, and those breezes strengthened and sent them scattering . . . scattering upon me. I was being covered up, by leaves! It seemed the louder the approaching trucks became, the faster the bedding of leaves filled over me, until I was fully hidden, in plain view of the trucks, as they drove by.
The last thing I remember, I woke up in a hospital bed, with several officers standing around the bedside presenting me with the Iron Cross for bravery. Bravery? I still doubt that, but it was the saving grace of that Autumn Angel, in providing a winged covering under those fall leaves, of which I have no doubt.
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