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Brooke stood outside of his trench now, leaning against the outside wall and smoking a cigarette. He inhaled and breathed out slowly, his eyes brimmed with tears as he stared up at the black sky, which every so often lit up with white light from an explosion somewhere. He closed his eyes and he willed away the tears, but rather than disappearing as he had hoped, they rolled down his dirty, pale cheeks and stung his rough lips. He watched indifferently as men went back and forth carrying stretchers laden with moaning men with horrific injuries.
Once they came by carrying a young boy who Brooke thought could not have been any older than eighteen, he was covered in blood and had taken a serious blow to the head as he was blown back by a shell landing nearby. He was still and unmoving as the stretcher-bearers hurried him back to the infirmary barracks. Finally, a sergeant named Truman tentatively approached him. “Sir? ” “Yes, what is it? “, he replied wearily. “Sir, Private Atkinson is hysterical sir, he’s frightening the other men and Sergeant Williams can’t control him.
Williams says can you please come, Sir? ” Brooke sighed. A deep long sigh. “Yes all right, tell him I’m coming. ” When the two men entered the trench all the men in the first battalion looked up with faces as dark as storm clouds and expressions which could melt a heart of stone. Brooke nodded at them as he strode past but they had no effect on him anymore. He marched straight up to where Atkinson and Williams were and sat down beside Atkinson. The boy lay shaking and muttering, he was hugging himself and rocking back and forth with his eyes tightly shut.
As Brooke sat down next to him his muttering became louder and louder until he was almost shouting it. “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. ” He kept saying it over and over again. Tears streamed down his face and his movements became more and more rigid. Brooke looked at Williams and then around the trench. Twenty faces stared back at him, watching his every move. He shivered. “Atkinson? Atkinson, do you hear me? ” Atkinson nodded and continued muttering. Brooke noticed a large red mark across the young boy’s right cheek.
“Did you do this? ” he snapped at Williams. Williams shook his head. Brooke’s sharp grey eyes bore into him; he nodded and looked away. Brooke glared at him then, slowly with all the gentleness of a mother caring for her child, reached out and lifted the shaking Atkinson up to lean against him. The boy buried his head in his commanding officer’s shoulder and grasped at his shirt, sobbing. “Atkinson… ” he said, then continuing in a kind but stern voice. “David, control yourself. David, we are all scared, but we must not let our emotions overcome us. Do you hear me? ” “Yes Sir.
” “Now, when you go home to your mother, you will meet a nice young girl whom you love very dearly and you will go on to spend the rest of your life with her. However, to do that you must first get through this. Now, you will survive this, but you have to try. Will you do that for me? Will you do that for your mother? ” “Yes, Sir. As the train pulled into the country station a man, around twenty-three years old stepped casually off and onto the platform. He breathed in deeply and looked around him; everywhere he looked he saw smiling faces and happy families.
Dark memories of war clouded his mind; he shook them away and started at a brisk walk towards the town. He sat in the cool church watching the young couple stood at the altar beaming at each other. He listened to the vicar as he droned on, “Do you David Atkinson take Anna Phillips…? ” “You see Thomas old chap? Life goes on.. ” Brooke thought to himself. Victoria Holland 11BM English Coursework Mrs Dukes Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miscellaneous section.