Here is a short excerpt from the first chapter of the book… if it moves you to read more, then you can pre-order the book for 99c (for a short time only) at this link. And I will be grateful for any constructive, honest reviews. Either on Amazon or by email. Thank you in anticipation.
Harry Chambers prayed once more that he would die. Where was the padre when you needed him? He was ready, he wanted to join the others. Find peace. He was clothed in soiled battle fatigues, spattered with blood and flesh from men he had known well. He pulled at his jacket as the pitiful cries of death and regrets threatened to suffocate him. ‘Stop!’ he cried.
Someone pulled Harry’s large greatcoat up to his chin and shoved a creased photograph into his hand.
‘Who is she?’ he asked distracted from his demons, jabbing his finger at the black and white image. A young woman with a pert button nose, rosebud lips and hair neatly styled into perfect curls, smiled shyly back at him.
‘That’s Bunty,’ the man squatting next to him said. ‘Your sweetheart. At home in England, the one you’ve been itching to get back to since we joined up.’
‘Don’t remember,’ Harry muttered and brought the photo up closer to his face, the image blurred in front of him.
‘That’s the fever, it will break soon. I need to find you some more water.’ The man stretched over Harry and took a water cannister from a man lying next to him. ‘The padre won’t need this now, not where he’s gone,’ he whispered quietly and then raised it to Harry’s lips. A droplet of water moistened his mouth before Harry pushed it away and stared at the photo again.
His sweetheart? He blinked as a memory tickled his mind. He saw the girl waving him off at the train station, wearing a forced smile through her tears. It was a lifetime away.
The truck bumped and jumped, rattling along the uneven road, causing the other soldiers packed around him to veer from left and right. Harry searched the vacant faces and squeezed his eyes shut. He gulped at the thin, putrid air, trying to swallow down the visions that haunted his mind. The chaotic sound of gunfire filled his ears and he clasped his hands to the side of his head.
‘Please, go away,’ he moaned. The massacre in his head took hold as violent as the first time. The remains of his comrades showered about him as he lay helpless, unable to give them any aid or comfort. He reached out to one young man, not more than a boy, and grabbed an arm to turn him on his back. Harry screamed when the arm came on its own, torn from the small frame. He leapt back as the rest of the body rolled towards him revealing a face that was no longer recognisable. Harry scrabbled to his feet pushing at the other soldiers desperate to find some room to escape. He rubbed at his uniform trying to rid himself of a man with whom he had once shared his last cigarette.