Dead: A Fictional Narrative

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Rain dribbled down the gravestones, down the monuments, down the men with bowed heads. The sky was trademark English grey, the sort of colourless, dreary sky that so many cynics and sceptics had been born under, the grass was less of a green colour, and more of a dead brown, and the poppies had bowed their head, weighed down by the drizzle, and out of respect for the dead. The only things that looked clean and not devoid of life were the gravestones: white marble, drenched in rain, almost gleaming. The gravestones didn’t slump like their onlookers, with their backs arched and legs bent, but rather stood upright, perfectly balanced, in neat, faultless rows. Each row was perfect, neat, and even rather beautiful. There was something breath-taking about the thousands and thousands of rows of white slabs, all anonymous and impersonal, standing at attention.
The rain pattered on the umbrellas as the village church chimed out the eleventh hour. One of the men with hunched
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The man’s hand shook, slightly nudging another equally hurt man to his side, and his foot started to tap out a different tempo to the bell’s chimes. A mother ushered her child closer to her side, glancing fearfully at the shaking man. ‘Typical’ he thought, jolting at the ninth chime. He kept his eyes focused on the teardrops dribbling down the marble, trying to ignore a child grumbling to it’s father on how the man with one arm to his side was scaring him and the father’s shushing, not out of respect for the others, but out of fear for his impeccable social image.
Tenth chime. The hunched man met eyes with the veteran to his side. He didn’t know him, he had seen him perhaps twice, wandering around the neighbouring town, hobbling on his crutch, scaring families away with his hacked off leg. They both shared a look, a look that had been branded on the faces of all who had been herded off to France like cattle to a butcher’s, and glanced back at the white, dead
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