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As they clamoured around him, he drowsed.

the tanks lurch ponderously forward towards the lines, jolt over the puckered wasteland, their tracks chucking up mud, barbed wire, dead bits of men

It was the night that he hated most, the night that swung him around and shook him up and turned him into the white-faced creature that scared his sister. It was the night that tipped him into drink, and sloshed him onto the bed in a haze of beer or brandy fumes (but not whisky, never whisky, not after that night), and shook him roughly awake in the morning, a fur on his tongue and his skull shaking and trembling and battering his brain to and fro like a football in a schoolyard.

he watches them come, grey lumps of rolling steel

he will run

Only the drink could blot it out, the noise, the shouting, the metal-on-metal metal-on-flesh metal-on-bone splintering that echoed in his head - that grisly carillon.

he will run

On the cusp of consciousness he heard a male voice alongside the more familiar exclamations of his sister, but he chose to close his eyes and he kept them closed until cold liquid splashed into his face and he opened his mouth instinctively to swallow.

he will…run…

the wire wraps around his leg, the barbs tangling in his flesh and ripping it apart

In the dark of drunkenness he could silence the screams and close his eyes on the world and not fear that the carrion of his past would be spread, entrails slick and glistening, to be pecked over by the crows and the ravens.

and all the while the tanks come on, solemn and unstoppable

their tracks are inches from him

 It was the night, but it was becoming the day, and when it did…

he can hear the cracking of his ankles as it presses on, on, up, up, snapping his bones and splintering his ribs, crushing his cries...

He chokes awake, only it is not quite awake, and the darkness still suffocates him.

When it became the day, he knew he would not go on.

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