Red Roses

Red Roses
He stumbles slightly. The pain flares up and stars appear, even though he thinks it is still daytime.
The ground is littered with the remains of human dignity and goodness.
He must continue on to safety.
(Red roses, red roses.)
Ever forward, boys, ever forward.
ARE YOU MEN OR JUST A BUNCH OF COWARDLY DOGS?
(Red roses, red roses.)
MARCH. MARCH.
Victory shall be ours tonight.
(Red roses, red roses.)
For how long does he walk?
He does not know, but the years behind stretch on ceaselessly, a river. The years ahead are nothing.
There is the sound of a four letter expletive dropped in disbelief.
“Dear god! Someone get medical assistance!”
The sound of urgent footsteps.
He nearly collapses, but the other man supports him.
“Just take it easy… they’re on their way.”
The other man swears again as he looks down.
Red blooms on their shirts. It only belongs to one of them.
“Hey, hey. Don’t fall asleep. They’re on their way. How about you tell me about yourself?”
The shots of gunfire, the cries of falling men, his own rapid, broken breaths.
(Red roses, red roses.)
“Never mind. I’ll talk. I’m going to bore you though.” The other man tries to smile reassuringly, a failure.
So the other man talks. His name is Matthew. He has family waiting back home: two sisters, his parents, a dog. Matthew’s dog is called Jax, a black Labrador too energetic for its age. They both know it is just meaningless small talk until the end.
A wave of sleepiness washes over, tugging him away to the unknown.
Matthew sees and realizes. He bends his head down towards the dying soldier.
“Thank you,” the man whispers before finally succumbing to the red blossoming on his abdomen.
(Red roses, red roses, red roses.)
A blaze of light and the smell of roses lingers in the air.
******
This was an attempt at prose, inspired by a quote prompt a friend sent me. I kind of deviated from it though…

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