Kesgrave pupil imagines she's a soldier

IF you could walk into a time tunnel and come out the other side in another era, where would you go? LUCY STOKES, 12, from Kesgrave High School imagines she is a soldier in the trenches back in 1916.

IF you could walk into a time tunnel and come out the other side in another era, where would you go?

LUCY STOKES, 12, from Kesgrave High School imagines she is a soldier in the trenches back in 1916.

I sit bolt upright and let out a scream; something is crawling over my foot.

My scream comes out as a low grunt. My huge hairy hands brush past a large rat.

A low rumble comes from my left shoulder; I gasp as wet soil, mud and dirt shower me. Men stumble around me, either wounded or screaming out in agony from the pain of their swelling feet. My heavy helmet slips over my eyes, so I push it up and begin to run along the trenches.

I wade through the water, which is alive with red slugs and thousands of frogs.

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Men are falling by the hundreds, bullets shattering their armour of confidence. Bombs explode around me; I frantically search for a place to take cover. I spot a crevice in the trench wall and crawl inside.

I scream inside my head for this nightmare to end. Another man falls, too many to count, and I begin to wonder - will I ever survive this, and get back to my life? Will I die here and just get forgotten about? Will I lose my chance for a future?

I wonder how the medic is coping; I am dying to crawl out of my crevice to go and help the young soldier in front of me, as he lashes out in anguish. His wound is deeply aimed into his chest, blood is pouring out of the cavities blown into his young, fragile body; he is heaving and gasping for oxygen.

The medics rush over and try to clot the blood up with a ball of wadding, but his lifeless body droops away from the strong but ill-equipped medics that are holding his body above the lice and rats, crawling and infesting the floor beneath them.

I feel enraged as the stench of dry blood and rats fill my nostrils. I wrinkle it in disgust. I try to fire an aimed shot at one of the enemy but, disappointingly, I miss. My aged and war worn rifle is useless in this battle. My neighbouring soldier grins at me and begins to shoot toward the enemy. More grenades head our way; I can only spot them from the light the exploding shells are making.

My fingers by now are numb with coldness. My feet are squeezing against the toes of my boots. My hands are wrapped tightly around my gun, my hands shaking violently. The guy shooting next to me grins again, and before I know what is happening he is blown backwards. I rush over to him, but the medics beat me to it. Too late, he is dead. He must have died instantly; blood is splattered all over his overalls and the ground beneath him, and his once whole body is now permanently flawed and incomplete.

My eyes are wide with fear, as I watch countless men blown off their feet backwards. I watch their surprise as death greets and takes them, but I do not see peace, pride or the knowledge of a hero's death. Those things are only in the minds of those who lie to get us here.

I begin to wonder why on earth I volunteered in the first place. It's not like I was ever smart, sporty or good at anything anybody cared about; so why am I here?

I am just an average boy trapped in a terrifying and devastating past of 1916. I am stuck; many people's lives depend on me, the women and children of Britain, my fellow soldiers and my life in the future. My throat swells up, I swallow a strangled cry. I look down; my toes are pushed right up against my boots. There are two potato shaped lumps on the end on my boots where my toes are supposed to be. They have swollen up to at least three times the size they normally are, it must have been the cold and wet seeping through my boots.

I stare out to the horizon; more enemy troops approach, and their army bigger than ours. I reach in to my pocket and find a necklace, my necklace from my girlfriend Hayley. We were inseparable - well look at us now.

My fist closes around my half of a jigsaw spelling 'best'. I remember the day I gave her half; 'friend' it spelled. I bite my cold and blue lips. I reach to my belt and cry silently, pulling the pin out of its hole; I throw the hand grenade as far as I can.

It explodes, but I have misjudged its power, and I'm blown backwards and slammed hard against the trench wall. My 'best' necklace trickles out of my hand.

N

Which period in history would you like to go back to, and why?

Perhaps you'd like to change the course of history - and what would happen if you did?

To star in Time Tunnel, just get your imagination in gear and tell us your thoughts. Send a story of about 700 words to tracey.sparling@eveningstar.co.uk or post to Features Desk, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

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