War Machine

Olivia Turner

Chapter 23

I followed her as she marched and frolicked around fields, under skies as blue as my eyes. She’d always tell me that. That was our thing. You know when just you have a thing? And it should be yours to keep forever. I’d rip my eyes out just to have her back. Where did she go? She was hypnotic, psychotic. Colouring in my world, her violent blonde hair creating the brush for it to bounce off with ease. Forming a perfect painting. One I’d frame with my fingers as I stand back in awe. Frozen in a moment. In time. The glistening of her eye my sun, refracting my vitamins. All gone now. Done. Fin.

But there I stood. Alone. Cold in an empty room, abandoned over time, children’s names scrawled with a soft young finger into the living room wallpaper. What an adventure this must be for them. Exploring my ventricles. What made me pump. The wallpaper – which was once pink and covered in roses, now peeling like a bad sunburn. The soft young fingers knew too much, as vulgar phallic images and vulgar words echoed loss of innocence. There was, no more glorious energy diffusing into the home. Only dusty photographs, which had also been defaced. It was ok though, I could never forget the faces this home possessed, and still does. The echoed cries and laughs consumed within the insulation that protected us from the outside word. A memorial was made of her chair, her life’s work, as it’s smooth green leather had been greedily, thirstily had at. Its guts ripped right out and laid elegantly beside it, on what was left of the carpet. Horsehair entrails. Horsehair entrails. She’d have loved that word pairing, perfect for her photography project – perspective.

My beloved Eadie. Where was she now? What was she doing? I looked out the window thoughtfully, before looking at what was left of the floor, into the living room. My first Christmas, there were so many guests, the house was filled to the rafters. The oak rafters that were now laid bare, peeping through the bulleted floor. At this moment, I shuddered to feel a cold hand upon my shoulder. It must have only lasted a second or two, but it felt like forever. As though I was being pierced right through, bayonetted. Staggering, I now felt sick as the Christmas of 1949 died away, saturated into the house, evacuating up the chimney and returning to whatever place it came from. My heart sagged. My left arm pulsated. It ached. Stumbling down the stairs, clutching my chest, my eyes filled. It was then I left the bannister. It was then I didn’t have a hand on the home, I fell. Tripped in fact, over a rusting needle. Tripping over lost periods of time. The photos that lined the staircase flashing past me, military uniforms, dogs, parents. They’d have to remain in their tortoise shell casing, trapped. I was too weak to care, I let go. Hitting the ground with a thud, not even reaching out, my head ricocheted off the floor twice. Thud. Thud. I slid into the glass which had been put though from the front door by some sort of bastard with nothing to do. Eadie had always wanted it staining. How ironic. My head poured its life onto the floor. My juices returning to my heart. I turned my head, the glass grinding with my movement, into the kitchen. She loved her kitchen, I paraded a silent smile of private knowledge. She loved it more after we’d first made love in there. Greed had overtaken morality. It was, after all, in the middle of the war. Surely no worse could be done. I hoped her spice rack would always be preserved the way it was just now. All those years. White with delicate blue flowers painted on by hand. Beautiful madness.

I rolled back, delved into my pocket and fingered the vial she’d given me that same Christmas. Lifting it out of my pocket with bloodied black trembling hands, I nursed it. Turned it in my fingers. Appreciated the smooth, perfect glass, the curved bottom, the dimpled cork. The sirens. The sirens? Fuck it. After a third attempt I managed to pop the cork and held it to my mouth. A concoction she had made herself, if I, we should ever get into trouble. Well, we were in trouble now. The war took all I had. I had nothing. I had come to an abandoned house seeking solace. I’d now found it. I took a moment before drinking to toast the house before sending it straight back, like the final brandy you know will end the party and have you off to bed. The party that should never end. I grabbed a shard of glass and etched a cross in my threadbare coffin. I shotted. I indulged in its sweet tang, sweeping my innards, warming me right up, a sensation I had lacked. I sucked the rim greedily, ensuring each drop had been dried. A final act of passion. I was swept off my feet start to finish. Starting at my feet, I felt her pulling me, taking me, as she did at parties with everyone she felt keen to play with. I relaxed and let the drag begin.

As the sirens approached, I smiled. It was a blur, a fabulous blur, it felt like a whirlwind, I was entering her heart now, I was leaving, departing. I started a manic laugh, choking on blood. I heard the Police and they heard me. The Police saw me, but I did not see them, I was too far away. They saw a dark ‘psychopath’. Psychopath, is now the term they use for lovers. I screamed for Eadie as the officers screamed for the paramedics. The shattered window in my neck and the possession in my heart.

I heard the latter, ‘…I am arresting you…’, ‘…you do not have to say anything…’. But I needn’t worry about them. Death was what I needed now, I needed to experience being an art piece. I wish Eadie could see – maybe she was watching in excitement. Smoothing her hair and dress ready for me, pacing nervously. ‘Ooh, it’s been such a long time’, ‘Far too long darling’, she’d practice as she was pacing. That’s my Eadie. She’d be holding Daniel. Ah yes, our Daniel. She could comfort him better than I could, you know. Far better. Her voice was smoother than mine. Mine was too course and rough, too inexperienced.

Dying isn’t hard, you just let go and float and soon yo

Chapter 7

Stephen Hewitt lay face down in the trench, covered with his own excrement, mites, piss and blood. He felt the staggering pain in his back, but could not move his right leg. As the shells crossed overhead, he found himself being showered in more human waste. In fact, the whole of France had become man’s waste, he thought. Each time he called out, he was greeted with mouthfuls of the stuff. Clutching his chest, he felt the rigid postcard of dear Eadie. She’d be at home now, baking. Knowing nothing of this life, or the life that could be yet to come. For the first time, Stephen feared no death. He greeted shower after shower of earth, raw earth, going further underground, where no shell could reach him. At least he wouldn’t have to think of the prospect of his men burying their own captain. Someone who was supposed to lead them safely, not be the first one off. Stephen started to lose consciousness, nodding back off to England. A thought of a warm summer’s day eased his chill, but was too far gone to notice it was his own blood, encapsulating him in that healthy glow – when he was awoken by a sharp tug.

Chapter 16

‘The pillow, it was the fucking pillow!’, Eadie screamed, pointing at the offender, as she lay sobbing into her lap. Her arms flailing in a mad panic, like some hunted doe. All I could think was that she still looked beautiful, behind the streaming mascara and smeared no.4 Bemake red. Immaculate in fact. She was a woman. Yet, she was so much more. Now she’d become a saint. She just didn’t know it yet – she’d done God’s work now and it was all over. Every strand of shrapnel. I now offer the slightest advice, to anyone at this point of no return, if you are to dispose of, you’d better also empty your mind with it, making sure it all burns together. Straightening my hair pins, I covered the soldier’s head. We’d be hung for saving a life from ill memory, violence and someone who was not themselves.


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