The air reeked of a filthy stench. The stench – a mixture of smoke, blood and gunpowder , was the ever prevalent stench of any battlefield during the second world war. All soldiers were used to this stench just like a certain Corporal Gunn making his way through the war torn streets of Paris , the battlefield in focus. He and his remaining squad had been ordered to hold the invading German 4th Army division. The Intelligence Gunn’s squad had received , mentioned that the 4th Army was well trained and had great communication backup. However, the gradually closing cloud of dust suggested the report had been incomplete. The cloud of dust meant only one thing – Panzers, a foot soldier’s worst nightmare.
The squad waited, awaiting the next move of the Germans .The part of the city the squad was to hold had been bombed the same morning. This combined with the fact that Panzers were approaching informed the Allied troops that they were witnessing a Blitzkreig. As a confirmation to their informed guesses, mortar shells soon began to fall around their position. The squad held on undeterred. Gradually, the shelling started becoming more accurate. The Corporal ,who had never experienced this kind of shelling soon began to panic. On seeing his squad disappearing behind explosions he began to lose his nerve. He broke cover and ran toward the main road hoping to cross to the other side, and hide in the yet untouched buildings. He made a quick dash ignoring the boutade of concrete bits and dirt all around him. Just as he reached the main road, a shell exploded just behind him . The explosion knocked him clean off his feet and he landed face down on the main road. The moment he came to he realized his vision was still shaky and there was a deep rumbling in his ears. Lying on the road, he kept his eyes closed until he was sure his vision had returned to normal. He opened his eyes , his vision seemed alright, but the rumbling still persisted. He got up and turned to his left and then to his right, trying to understand his surroundings. The moment he turned right however, he realized his ears were alright, the rumbling had been coming from a Panzer heading straight towards him . The Panzer seemed to notice the Corporal and turned the cannon towards him- BOOM.
Gunn woke up with a start. He was covered in sweat. Just a dream. A very bad dream. He got up from his bed and made his way to the shower room. He turned on the tap to cold water and stepped inside the shower. Cold water always calmed him down. The war had ended 20 years ago. But, these dreams never ended. Some days they were bad and other days they were worse . He had repressed all his memories from those days , just so that those dark times wouldn’t continue haunting him. It worked during his average, quiet and uneventful day. Nights were a totally different story though. The dream he had just woken up from , had been really vivid. He decided to take his mind off things with a strong cup of Irish coffee. He decided to go fetch the newspaper. As he walked towards his front door , he intentionally ignored the portrait his wife had had put up.
The portrait of Corporal Dean Gunn.