A Soldier’s Lullaby
A short story by Jacoby
Bright lights. Brighter than the brightest lights I had ever seen, pierced through my eyes. In the beginning, all white. But after a while, I started to see colours. Mostly green, with a few hints of brown and the most beautiful persian blue. But it was still all blurry. The feeling was similar to when one stands up after a long nap, and everything suddenly becomes blurry for a short while. Only difference was, this was not a short while. I could not feel my hands and feet, or even move my own head. I felt like a floating ghost with a static view of blurry colours. After what felt like an eternity, or just a few seconds. I’m not really sure. The view started to slowly sharpen up. I could soon make out familiar objects. A green, so very green, grass field. Reaching far far away. And a clear, persian blue sky, like those only witnessed on the best of summer mornings. The plains were completely empty, as far as the eye could see. Apart from a brownish dirt trail, leading ahead. After another while, or just a short moment, I still don’t know. I realised I was able to move my hands. Which in turn made me witness that I had a body again. With a memory short of any recollection. I curiously started to look at myself. I managed to sit myself up, but my legs still felt numm. I studied my clothes. Both my coat and pants were made from wool and had the color of a sandy beach. Big black buttons made their way from my hips, all the way to my neck. My boots were dirty and brown. But would still be brown, even if cleaned. Since they were of leather. Then I noticed three arrows on my right shoulder. They sat very tightly ontop of eachother, and shared a distinct color compared to the coat. They weren't originally there. They must have been sown on. I leaned forward to feel the arrows, but then something came flying off my head. It hit the ground, bounced once and then laid still. It made a very stern sound, hinting that it wasn't made from wool, but from metal. For some reason, I instantly recognised the object as I laid my eyes on it. It was a hat. Well actually, a helmet. A brodie helmet in fact. I had no idea why I knew that, nor where I had learnt it. I tried standing up for a second time. This time, successfully. After I managed to stand up, I picked up the helmet and placed it on my head. The helmet had two soft straps hanging from each side of it. But I didn’t bother messing with them. I looked forward, only seeing the never ending plain fields, and the narrow dirt trail making its way across the fields. After a few moments of just looking at everything around me. I started to wander forward by the small trail.
As I was walking I started to think about the grass fields around me, and their distinct green color. Unusually green. Yet, it felt like I had been there before. Like I knew this place. At that moment I realised exactly where I was. I was in Wales. I was certain of this, since the only grass fields this green I had ever seen, were in Wales, where I grew up. At this point forward, memories started to appear. Not in my head, but in front of me. Each time I looked at a new object, it felt like the object itself reminded me of a story from long ago. A story about me. After following the brownish trail for a somewhat long distance, it disappeared. As I then raised my head I realised that the trail had led me to a very large lake. Between the green field and the water, were a small but yet so very golden beach. I took off my dirty boots and wet socks. So I could feel sand between my toes. As I stepped into the sand I saw a very tiny fishing boat, right in the middle of the lake. It was very far away. But I could make out a man sitting in the boat. The man was holding a fishing rod and was looking down at the lake. I formed a circle around my mouth with my hands and shouted “HEY” to the man in the boat. But he was too far away to hear me. Instead I looked down in the clear water in front of me. I could now see my own reflection. I looked old, yet young at the same time. I noticed a dark and unusual spot on the right side of my forehead. So I put my hand there.
Suddenly, my whole body froze. I could not move a finger, or even blink. All I could do is feel the dark spot. I instantly felt a cold musky feeling, running from the dark spot and down throughout my entire body. Then everything went dark. Well not completely, I could still see myself, and the ground. Which had changed to a musky white colour. It was snow. When I raised my head after examining the now snowy ground beneath me. My view froze again. Just like before. But this time, everything was sharp and clear. It was just dark. But far away. I could see a man. This was not the man in the boat. This was another man. He was also far away. Making it hard to identify him. But I still managed to arrive at a shivering conclusion. He was looking straight at me. He was all gray. Apart from his very pale face. He had a helmet too, but it was different from mine. It had a sharp metal object on top of it. Pointing upwards. He was also holding a large, brown object. In some places, the object was of a shiny, gray colour. It was also thin and oblong. All of a sudden I realised, the object was also looking at me. Just like the man. But it only had one eye. A very dark and musky eye. Right then I heard a very loud sound. The sound was so loud that it felt like my ears were being pierced with needles. But the sound only lasted half a second. Then everything went away. Including the darkness, the snow and the man. I realised I stood by the lake again. While again being able to move my body and my head. What had just happened. When I looked around I saw a tree just a few meters away from me. I had not noticed the tree before. Not only that, There was a man sitting leaned against the tree. He was looking out at the lake. He wore the same clothes as me. Even the same hat. Only difference was, he didn’t have those three arrows on his shoulder. I again got the strong feeling that I recognised him, even like I knew him. He was playing a shiny gray flute. It had the same color as part of the one eyed object held by the man in the darkness. The music he played felt very familiar. But I couldn’t recognize any of it. I then, this time in a much more calm voice, said “Hello?”. But the man didn’t respond. He didn’t even break his sight from the lake. He just continued to sit there, playing his flute. I retried getting his attention a couple of times before I gave up for a while. At that point he stopped playing, and raised his eyes towards mine. He stared at me for maybe 10 seconds before he started to sing. It was with the same melody he has previously played. But this time, with words.
“ ♫ Dear Sergeant hear this lullaby,
for the end of thy road is here.
Art thou prideful of thy deeds?
When there's nothing more to fear.
Thou, might still not be aware,
that this is the end of thy despair.
It’s done! And our Sergeant will forever be gone.
Yet, The Great War carries on. ♫ ”