‘Over the Border’ by Jess Cook

As the first of the men ran onto the beaches and attempted to cross the border, my breath quickened and I started to sweat despite the freezing cold temperatures and the frost forming atop my helmet. And when one by one they were shot down, dead, their lifeless bodies floating beside us in the sea, everything started to blur. Through the fog a distorted voice, shouting the words “Go” and “Now!” were what grabbed me by my uniform and pulled me back into reality.

Suddenly I was pushed  off the boat by the others, we ran closer and closer to the shore, struggling to mind the bodies in our path. We ignored them as if they meant nothing to us,like they weren't our friends, like we hadn’t been to hell and back together, carrying each other along the way. It felt so wrong to move past them as they lie there . Dead. it feels wrong to be alive if they're not, feels wrong that we still have a chance to survive this and go home. It feels wrong to be thinking about going home while their bodies float away, it feels like allowing my own brothers to be taken away, and i'm doing nothing to stop it.

We strived to make contact with the beach, avoiding the dead or wounded as if they were hurdles in a race. I took  cover behind a wrecked boat stranded on shore; the mud, sand and water stuck to me like the cleavers my grandmother had been growing in her garden when I was a boy. I miss her. The sound of the nitrate bombs were deafening, my eyes hurt from the tears I had  refused to cry, and my feet were aching from the worn out boots that had sculpted themselves to my feet. I was in pain. I just prayed that it would all be over as soon as possible.