Backyard Warfare

Backyard Warfare

A Story by Sydney Herscher

As the ground violently shook underneath his feet, the only thing he could think was “If I could just complete the objective - infiltrate enemy supply and sources and return to base without being attacked - I’ll be safe and my platoon can get some relief.” That was his single bit of motivation, the one that that made stumbling into each and every trench on the way only slightly miserable, not entirely hopeless.

            He’d been trying to complete the same task for what seemed hundreds of hours. This much resistance from the enemy was something that he’d never encountered before. Sure he knew about the air attacks. Coming by complete surprise, not even a screech or shriek as a warning. There were bombs that fell so hard, they caused the ground to shake and soldiers to be thrown off their feet, their own extremities landing twenty feet from their body. He’d heard it described as seeming like the enemy pinpointed one target, the one man that must just be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the enemy became relentless. The bombs wouldn't stop until the soldier lay nothing short of mangled on the ground.

Or the horror stories about poisonous gases that could suffocate you on the spot. In some of the worst cases, soldiers would just lay there with their throats closing at such a minuscule rate that it took days before death actually came and ended all the misery.

             As he battled today though, he tried to push those thoughts out of his head and stay focused on his motivation: “complete the objective and then get back” He kept moving forward, inch by inch, one step at a time. He was getting closer to the enemy line, the trenches remaining a hindrance, just as frequently as before. The soldier refused to stop or even be slowed down in the least. With every fall, he would crawl back out of the crack in the surface of the earth, check his legs to make sure they would still support the heavy load he knew was coming, and start moving again.

            As he marched he heard it loud overhead, all around, though he could not see it anyway near him. Starting from off to the left, coming so quickly he couldn't tell it had even reached its maximum volume and power until the sound began to fade away to the right. He’d heard those machines zooming by enough before to understand that they’ll cause him no harm; most likely just passenger transportation or some sort of enemy equipment transfer. Everyone knew about the machines but they weren't afraid of them because they knew that those machines would never be the cause of a casualty.

            He had the enemy supply in his sight. All he had to do was grab a few tiny crumbs of this and a couple morsels of that and make it back intact. A feeling of safety came over him as he seemed to enter the enemy territory without being seen. Despite the fact that shrieks and screams could be heard all around at a deafening volume, he wasn't scared or fearful. He was focused and continued to work as his mind ventured to his family back home, their hill they all loved so much. He was hopelessly ecstatic about returning back to his home, back to a peaceful paradise when compared to the world of warfare he found himself in now. Growing up with so many family members all together, he enjoyed every minute of it, despite all the work that they’d always had to do. He loved working but now the prospect of risking his own life at the same time wasn't exactly all too appealing.

            But in risking his life, he was supplying for his family, which he so desperately needed to do. It was his job, and he would never dare not supply for them.

            He found himself so lost in thought over his home and his family that he didn't notice the chaos going on around him, which he was walking right through as if going for a daily stroll in the park. The stories that had been told about the bombs were becoming his reality and he was caught right in the middle of it.

            Before he even knew what was happening, those God-awful bombs began to fall, but he knew he couldn't stop " He wanted nothing more than to reach the food. The bombs were, true to the stories, dropping so hard he felt his feet losing contact with the ground, making the go only that much tougher when added to the trenches, the cracks in the patio which he couldn't keep himself from falling in.

            He was sure he looked like a drunkard as he stumbled this way and that in an attempt to avoid not only the trenches but now also the bombs. He had to predict where they were going to fall then struggle to get away in time. All the while, his life was flashing before his eyes, quite true to the cliche that he never really believed. This time, though, instead of thinking of his family back home in his hill with fondness and affection, he thought of all the things he would miss when he was gone. He was even surprised to find himself thinking of how they would tell his story in all the years to come; he died fighting for us, doing the most dangerous job he’d ever been asked to do and we’re only prouder of him because of it.

            He wasn't ready to die and he knew his family was still counting on him. He kept going, even with the bombs still falling all around him.

            Without even registering it, he found himself inside " exactly where he needed to be. As fast as he could, he hoisted the food up onto his back and prepared to head back to base. One little bit was all he needed, all he got, and he was ready to return home. As slowly as he could, he crept outside to be sure the bombs had stopped. He knew he’d been targeted and was terrified more people will be after him now.

            As he began to move back across the deck, moving to the edge to avoid the cracks, he was terrified by what he realized only too late. He couldn't move and he couldn't breathe.

            He could feel his throat closing, he could already tell he wasn't going to have to lay there and suffer for days. He was going to die fast. He had gotten across the patio, survived numerous trench-falls, even an attack from people and had managed to get inside the food basket. But all those feats weren't going to be enough reason to keep him alive long enough to tell about it.

            He was stuck on the strip. He could see his hill from where he was. He was dying. He couldn't do the one thing he loved doing, working and providing for his family. He knew continuing to struggle for air would be pointless so he closed his eyes and felt his heart rate slow, slow, slow down until there was none.


            The woman peeled the bait strip up from its place below the door and threw it away. After laying a new one down in the same spot, clearly satisfied in the effectiveness it had in killing all the ants, she picked up her picnic basket from beside the door and ran to get in the car.  

© 2013 Sydney Herscher

Author's Note

Sydney Herscher
The idea behind the story wasn't mine; it was given to me by a friend.
I'd appreciate any feedback on how well the whole story flows and if my word choice was good enough. And what about the quality of the writing? And I hope you enjoyed it too(:

My Review

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Hi there
The idea behind the story seems to be brilliant and the way the whole plot unfolds. I will not say it is flaw in the story but finishing touches. Please avoid repeating the same words and lines as much as possible. You need to charm people into believing what they have got is quite predictable but at the same time it has to be involving.
They should not feel like ..Oh not another war story and loose interest in the middle. You want to catch a big fish then make sure bait is also fresh :)

Posted 9 Years Ago

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Added on October 13, 2013
Last Updated on October 13, 2013
Tags: Illusion, Descriptive, Fiction, World War I