Battlefield Delirium

Written October 2002, minor edits for spelling only. I’m thinking of doing a rewrite for fun.

***

Billy jolted in bed as he awoke from his nightmare. He was running through a field with some other men, while wild bullets flew around him. He had seen a man, a little older than he, running beside him fall with red paint on his chest, or was it blood. He looked familiar, but he wasn’t able to see who it was, he didn’t really care either. The dream reminded him of the war that was going on, the same war that had robbed his brother Fred from him. As far as he knew, Fred was still alive, fighting somewhere against the Japanese. He didn’t care much though, he only hoped that he would get back soon so he wouldn’t have so many chores.

The reason Billy didn’t care much about Fred was simply because Fred wasn’t that nice. He had bullied him around a lot, especially when he was with his friends. Most of these incidents occurred when he was partying, and was usually drunk at those times. So life with Fred was hard but at the same time easier, easier in the sense that he had less chores.

Fred was a tall man, his skin tanned by countless hours of working on the farm. He had brown hair, which was now a buzz cut; well, that was how he had it the last time Billy saw him. He had been a pretty good student, although his grades were not outstanding. He hadn’t really planned to go to college; he just wanted to join the army and party on his vacations.

Billy wasn’t that much different, only that his grades were excellent and that he was not that tanned yet. He was more the nature type, hanging out with his buddies in the woods. He had always been very obedient and took his work seriously. But like most other kids, he wanted to fight for his country, but his parents did not allow him because they needed him on the farm.

Billy yawned. It was quiet, too quiet. Why was it so quiet? Mornings in rural Georgia were never this quiet. His parents would usually wake him up around this time to help with the chores, but no one had. Wait, what day was it? It was Sunday right? Yeah, they must be at church, but why would they leave him? Oh God! He was supposed to be signing up for the Army.

It was the middle of June of 1942 and the war hadn’t ended yet. His older brother was fighting somewhere in the Asian Theater. He grabbed his overalls, and boots and darted out of his bedroom. He flew down the stairs, almost falling. He was nervous, he didn’t know what would happen to him fighting for his country. Although he disliked his brother Fred, he hoped that they would be together. He also hoped that he could also be with some of his friends. Most of his friends had already joined and now his parents finally allowed him to join.

When he reached the kitchen, he found it empty, there wasn’t even food on the table, nothing. Where was Muffin? She was always around looking for something to eat. Stupid cat, she was too fat and lazy to go outside, so she had to be around somewhere. He sighed, opened the fridge and looked in. Empty. Nothing in the cupboards either, that was odd. He moaned. He was hungry, but he was going to have to go without food. If you were late to sign up, there would be a long line.

As he stepped out of the door, a small breeze brushed his face. His dream seemed to come back to him, but this time it was a little different. He found himself crouching in a dense jungle. Sweat was dripping all over his body; he was trying to quiet his loud breathing. He stood up to see what was going on, but couldn’t see much. It was very hot even though the sun barely passed through the foliage of the tropical trees. Right as he sighed with relief, a barrage of bullets whizzed by his head. Lunging to the ground, he finally came back to his senses. That was very odd he though, as a chill rand down his spine. Pushing the dream away, he got up and walked out briskly to the old family Ford that he had inherited. He took the key out his pocket and tried to turn the car on, but it didn’t start. He punched the dashboard and tried again, but to no avail. He sat there for a few minutes, thinking what he was going to do. He wasn’t going to waste his time with this, so he opened the door and began to run up the driveway.

He raced past rows of oaks and pines then took a short cut to the main road, maybe he could hitch a ride. He looped up just in time to see a parrot fly directly of him, then disappear into a palm tree. He stopped, a palm tree? He looked again, but there was no palm tree, there also was no parrot. He shook it off and continued running.

When he got to a hill, his swift run became a jog. This wasn’t normal, he had run up this hill plenty of times, and he could have done it at least twenty times a day, non-stop. His jog became a slow walk, and then he fell to the ground, why was he so tired?

As he lay there, he felt the ground start to shake. His heart began to pound, was it an earthquake? You usually don’t get earthquakes in this part of Georgia. He looked up the hill, and to his horror, he saw a huge tank roll over the rim, the red sun blazing forth from it, with a few American flags under it.

He gasped, what was going on?! A tank in his property? Suddenly his surroundings changed, the oaks and pines became tropical trees, the bush’s leaves became wide and elongated. He glanced at the tank, a stout man stood from a hole in the tank, with a machine gun in his hands. His face went pale as his eyes locked with the man’s. There was a short rattle.

The effects of battlefield delirium.

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