Don't Mean 'Nuthin:
One almost enters a trance like state, where you linger on the edge of sleep and reality. Sounds are magnified and you keep jerking awake to see if it was real of if it was a dream. A rifle shot can be heard from miles away, There is an unmistakable sound known as Puff the Magic Dragon, when he spits fire you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is real. Nevertheless you hear these ghostly sounds and they startle your senses. While on the edge, you wonder if your buddy is awake, you keep one eye on him to make sure that he is.
It is early in the morning hours, all is still. A dew forms on you and a chill rips through your bones, an uneasiness ties your insides in knots. Then you hear it, the hollow sounds of incoming mortars tearing up the darkness. WHOOMP, WHOOMP, whistling through the air. Always uncertain where they will hit. They hit and explode sending dirt flying as the shrapnel shrieks through the air. The sound of flesh being ripped apart and the cries of the unfortunate Marines who were in harms way pierce the darkness. Another volley of three is fired, the center of camp is hit, Marines scramble to outguess the whistling sounds of destruction. Others throw themselves flat on the ground and cover their heads with their arms waiting for the worst to be over. Then as suddenly as hell released it's fury, the flames subside and silence prevails. The air is filled with death and the sounds of the suffering will be remembered long after the night is over.
Morning breaks, We prepare to move on, Choppers are coming and the steady whipping of their blades chopping through the air are heard by all but the dead. Today they will be flying them out. A solemn glance over to where our Brothers are laid out side by side, Bagged and tagged. Lifeless green masses that were living , breathing, laughing and dreaming of home just hours ago. The war is over for them, but for the rest of us it will go on. We watch as they are carried and loaded onto the chopper and lifted away. We stare until we can no longer hear the chopper blades beating out the rhythm of the dead.
We are ordered to gear up, we stare at each other and without saying a word, we wonder to ourselves if we will meet the same fate as those who died in the darkness...
We melt slowly into the bush.
We see the faces and we hear the cries.
They are painted on our souls.
Gotta push it back,
push it back!
Don't Mean Nuthin...
Copyright Richard D Preston 2001