Dark. Loud explosions boomed occasionally and a constant high pitched spray of bullets. Inside my head was a constant whirling and confusion. My vision blurred as I looked around at the casualties and wounded. One tangled in barbed wire and bent backward into the trench. His body occasionally shook as the enemy shot again at his exposed legs.
“He is dead!” I yelled out in frustration and anger. “Leave him alone!” I think I yelled it out. Maybe it was all in my head.
I turned. I ran as fast as I could. I began dropping gear. I ran past some other soldiers standing firm at their post. A girl, a young girl of about ten, was bandaged where one arm used to be, but she stood in such confidence. I ran past her.
Another aged man, laying inside the trench with many fresh battle wounds on top of old battle scars. He shook his fists at the sky and cursed God.
I ran and ran. Each soldier a different scene. Some shot, young, old, fixed, soiled pants, mixed descriptions that do not belong in a war. Then I stopped. I froze. Something was moving within a bundle. Tucked within a nest of rocks. An infant hand poked out. Bending, I folded back the dirty burlap blanket. A baby. Dropping completely to my knees, I yelled out, but then threw my whole body over the infant as a bomb whirled over my head and exploded nearby.
A sound began softly in my ear. I took my finger and tried to clean out my ears, only making the sound louder. “Stop! Stop!” I covered my ears. It sounded like a sweet music box. “Stttoooooppp! You do not belong here!” Turning my head in the direction of the music, I see it.
Pretty girls and well dressed gentlemen. Well fed, clean, protected. Just a short distance from our battle was another world. A high-class party with all the finest embellishments. Occasionally, a head would turn in the battle’s direction, it would cock to the side, take a few steps toward us and give a pitting sigh. Out came trays of food, dancing, laughter.
Inside my head spun faster and faster, the battle spun in the other direction, the party spun. It all grew louder and louder. I clasped my head between my hands and shut my eyes, trying to drown out what would not go away. Toppling backward, my hands reached out desperately to grab the now screaming baby. As I fell my arm was cut by rusty barbed wire and then I hit my head on a sharp rock. Pain. I lay in more pain than can be described.
Laying, waiting to die, my spirit leaves my body. Pain leaves my body. But I remain. Strength enters me. Clarity, healing, power seep into my body. I stand. I stand firm. A gold belt of the truth is buckled around my waist. I understand. My healed breast is covered in righteousness. Readiness covers my feet. I hold the shield of faith. All fear is replaced with confidence and my head covered with salvation. I can not be harmed. Tightly grasping the sword of the spirit, I am invincible. I turn to help the baby and automatically a covering protects her. A yell escapes my body but fear and pain have been replaced with confidence. It is a battle cry. A call to arms.
I did not chose this. I woke and found myself here. Cancer is my battle. But with a strength that is not my own, I stand firm.