We’d been walking for days, tramping the ground where once life lived, at peace. My men are restless, tired, dead within, however I must not be. I must be brave, I must be awake, I must be what the army has trained me to be.
“I believe this is the road sir”, my second in command tells me in a high-strung accent.
“Thank you lieutenant”, I reply in a thankless voice.
I look across the road, nothing but barbed-wire and lifeless bodies, the view of most places nowadays.
“We’ll keep walking till nightfall, then rest, then continue in the morning”
“Good plan sir”, always the kiss ass my second in command replies with a smirk upon his dirty, malnourished and unkept face.
So we walk, our feet sounding a beat as we do. As we reach the top of a hill suddenly the land slopes away from us and we are left with a view of war. In the river battleships ready themselves for the boarding of the battalion of Fife, numbering some 100,000 men and women, who have for sometime been fighting in the wastelands of the north of Scotland trying to hold off the inevitable, the occupation of Britain.
“Incoming!”, the word echoes through the Valley of Dead.
“Find cover!”, I shout at my bewildered and bedraggled men.
Lying in the blood stained mud I feel the earth shake beneath me as shell after shell drops from the heavens, finding its resting place in the fields where once life was abundant, leaving only death.The shelling stops and we continue. It is a daily occurrence which we have all gotten used to. We never know where they come from, or who sends them. By the time it was over it had gotten dark, so I instruct the men to find a hole and rest, the only comfort they have.
Morning comes early and so does the new wave of earth shakers. My bones are rattled, my eardrums are beaten till broken, and my men are murdered. Yet we continue. The landscape of this part is changed completely. Where once the farmer would've ploughed the fields, tanks lie, abandoned and alone. The trees where once pigeons cooed from have been replaced by artillery and the pigeons made extinct. And the whole ground has been moved 6 foot below where it used to stand. Man has done this, and when it is over, man will be the only thing left.
“HQ is down there sir, at the rivers edge”
“Thank you lieu… whats that there?”
“According to the map, Longannet power station sir, decommissioned of course”
I was stunned, I hadn't seen that tower since I was a child, on walks with my father.
“Any other landmarks?”
“A church too sir”
“You take the men, I'm going alone”
“Sir? Are you sure?”
“Just do it!”
I start running, gravity doing half the work as I fly down the hill, my lieutenant shouting after me, his voice being carried away by the wind, once smelling of nature, now of death. I reach the ruin of a grand house, my breath taken away by it, I stare at the house which once I called home. The roof has gone, the floors too, glass from the windows lie smashed on the ground and the kitchen has an unexploded bomb in it, but its still home. I keep running, through the gate and into the graveyard, past the church and left, still running, oblivious to all that is around me. I pass the neighbours, they wave to me as they water the plants, and keep going, down the potholed road and past the cow field, I say hello to them. Past the only parking anyone had, the left-hand side of the hill road, the cars still there, and still I'm flying. I see the house with the evil eyes, it no longer scares me, I pass Conner's house, I pass Graham and Lora’s house, where I used to go for curry evenings and we’d play board games till 2am. Onto the cobbles, the ankle breakers. It doesn't stop me though, I pass the cafe where Conner works, I pass the unicorn statue, and, finally, I glimpse the river. I rush past the town hall, now on flat ground, where Graham sells pictures from and straight to the pier. I stop, I turn back, and there it is, my…
After an hour or so of earth shaking I get up and realise it was a mirage, where once the houses and the people stood, rubble and soldiers now do. I walk, slowly, back to the village of my birth, and looking down at the blood splattered masonry where the town hall once stood, where graham used to sell his pictures from. I begin to cry. I look up at the single lane road that runs through the village, where once my bus would drive along to pick and drop me off for school, now rows of soldiers march, their boots beating against the cobbles. I am lost now, the only thing that tied me to this earth is gone. My home, is gone.