NationStates Jolt Archive

Cold day in Hell [Closed]

18-06-2005, 20:57
River Eva, Central Midlonia November 11th 1912

The steam locomotive hissed and clanked as it dragged the line of boxy, open wagons behind it. It blew a plume of smoke up into the freezing air as it erupted out of an arch in an old farmstead building, picking itself over the vast network of points before it, the loco and the train behind it slams and rocks heavily, much to the annoyance and loud complaining of its cargo.
Cursing, Private first class David Dribble looked somewhere down into the mass of feet for the packet of cigarettes he had just dropped. He couldn’t find them and much to his anger, he gave up. A hand loomed out of the pressed Khaki clutching an unlit cigarette, which David soon took with gratitude to the disembodied hand. Clutching it to his lips and striking a match that burned feebly in the cold November morning David glanced around at the marshalling yard now springing up around him.

It used to be a village of some sort, but it no longer bared a name, just an abbreviation now, Marshalling Yard #224. There were other trains, some carrying ammunition; some had tarpaulin covers over them with a large red cross on the roof and sides.
The smell of gangrene and the sickly taste of death hung in the air near to that particular train. Horses were slowly lining up by a farm track next to the line, they wore the same dull khaki as everyone else did in this miserably cold scene, the horses’ heads and tails swished and swatted the cold and dank air around them.

There was another smell in the air too, the unmistakable tang of cordite and rust. This had once been the frontline, but it had been forced on, the ground was still scarred by trenches and the pockmarks of the deadly artillery that still rained on the marshalling yard from time to time.

The locomotive shuddered to a grinding halt, marshals came running over, throwing out the pins to the wagon sides and yelling at the young, frightened soldiers inside to get out and form up next to the farm track. From behind the remains of a house roared and rattled the armoured busses that would ship them the rest of the way; the cavalrymen had already cantered away, heading to the front under their own power.
David glanced up at the bus that had come to a stop before him, a cheeky faced conductor grinned at him.

“Number 55 to Hell. Stopping at the front and any artillery thrown at us on the way.” He chuckled and held out his hand to help David up, which he grabbed gratefully, he had around 100 pounds on his back and would not have made it up the small step even if he tried.
He was only 14 after all but he looked quite a bit older, so it was ok.
‘Hey Davie!’ yelled his friend, who was only 16, Terry; he ran through the bodies and leapt onto the bus as though the heavy pack and rifle were not there.

‘Hey Terry, what is it with all this bloody travelling? I though the train was taking us to the front?’
‘New Regs, they can’t risk the losses and the manpower needed to maintain the track, so they use these busses which the two guys working on it can repair.’ Muttered “the sarge” an old man compared to the rest of the company, he was in his early 30’s, but he, like everyone else looked an awful lot older, such is the weariness of war. The two boys nodded and remained silent.
With a growl an officer jumped aboard the first bus and they started to pick their way unsteadily down the thin and poor farm track that had been abused for two years in some way or another.
In the distance stood a ridge and it was there that the sky danced and lit up, a stark contrast to the seemingly constant grey haze that had settled everywhere else.

Twenty minutes later the busses arrived, amidst the artillery strike that was still thundering on, the men leapt off of the busses and ran into a large underground shelter that had been carved out of the rock of the craggy ridge, they ran amidst the screams and chatter of gunfire, as well as the loud roars of artillery and mortars.

David dived into a corner with Terry and grabbed his rifle and helmet that had fallen to the floor with a hollow clatter.
“Right you lot! Prepare your weapons! You will be used to help hold this bloody line or I will shoot you myself, is that understood?” yelled a faceless officer hefting one of the new, if not entirely unreliable miniature machineguns.
“Fix Bayonets!” yelled company first sergeant Horace Willourby.
A pair of large wooden doors stood at the other end of this large hollow they were in, with a grunt of energy, two men pulled the doors open and blinding light flooded in, with a scream, the company charged into the very mouth of Hell itself.
18-06-2005, 21:04
ooc- this is pretty rad.

just as a side note though, space between paragraphs would be nice, or at least indentation. It'd be much easier to read, anyways.
18-06-2005, 23:49
OoC: Sorry if I'm hijacking/cluttering (you can always have a mod delete this post if you want) but this is some great writing; you've improved greatly from what I used to see of you. Nice job, keep it up! And remember, whoever tells you steam trains are outdated is a silly n00b who needs shooting!
18-06-2005, 23:56
OoC: Sorry if I'm hijacking/cluttering (you can always have a mod delete this post if you want) but this is some great writing; you've improved greatly from what I used to see of you. Nice job, keep it up! And remember, whoever tells you steam trains are outdated is a silly n00b who needs shooting!

OOC: No, the comments are more than welcome from folks, it helps keep the writing going and I have a fairly cool plot line worked out too, just a shame I didn't start this when I had serious bucketloads of time, expect the next bit tomorrow. :)
19-06-2005, 10:06
Evantia front, Midlonian front line.

The company charged out of the channel to hell, as they reached the lip of the ramp. Some balked and stared at what lay before them, others charged on regardless, flinging themselves down the ramp towards the horrific melee that was laid bare before them.

The wide ramp they had ran up, sloped down again slightly into the firing trenches, zig-zagging to ensure that somebody never got a clear shot off from more than 100 yards away.

The bodies of each side were clear, the helmets of the republicans, had a spike on the very top, along with the Raven daubed onto the side, the Royalists had their helmets with a white dove painted in the middle. Bodies, hundreds of bodies were packed into a trench that could not have been more than a mile long.
Sector #55, was giving its new residents a very warm welcome indeed.
David stared for a moment and looked down on the carnage, the brutal extinguishing of life, this was his new home, this was life.
Or death, if he didn’t move.

David screamed and ran down the supply trench, screaming and cursing as he slammed his bayonet into the side of a republican trooper who wailed and screamed, he yanked it out, the silvery blade now tainted with a faint coppery smell. Screaming again he yanked the rifle back and smashed another republican in the face with the butt of his rifle, breaking the man’s nose. He could hear Terry near to him yelling, firing his rifle and stabbing and clubbing.
Humanity at its most basic instinct is a disgusting thing to watch or take part in.

David simply had a single thing running through his mind, a single coherent thought.

Survive, kill. Survive, kill. Survive, kill. Survive, kill.

He wheeled his rifle around again, hitting another trooper in the face, a bayonet lunged at him. He swatted it away and thrust with his own into the great coated figure.
Another 30 minutes of intense, close quarter fighting the republic troops broke and fled into no-man’s land, they were soon cut down by the hail of defensive fire barking vengefully for its dead comrades.

David removed his helmet and sat down on the duck boarding of the firing step, he ran a hand through his hair and realised he had just wiped blood into the matted brown; he sighed and looked around him. There were bodies littering the trench, so many lives lost and it was their first day.
First hour, he corrected himself bemusedly.
Terry sat down next to him and patted him on the shoulder.
‘Bloody tough, huh?’ he said looking down at what was left of a royalist trooper.
‘I think….’ David muttered.
‘I think… we may never live to see home again Terry.’ David mumbled.
He coughed and spat some bloody phlegm onto the floor; it landed on a republican helmet instead.
The floor was too covered with bodies to be seen anymore.
Terry handed him a flask with a cork stopper in it, David took it and took a swig of the water inside it, the water clanked hollowly in the flask.
‘You looked around here anyway?’ Terry asked as he himself took the flask and drank some water.
‘Take a look behind you, then out there.’ Terry thumbed behind him at No-man’s land.
David stood on the firing step and peered up above the trenches. Carved into the rock was a giant dove carrying a fig-leaf, and behind him was the scarred battlefield. Looking around him he saw more men, all as nervous as he was, looking, staring, blinking, bewildered that they somehow had to survive this, this...
Hell on Earth.

N.B The Regiment that David Dribble is attached to was known as the 12th Bolton Rifles, this company would go onto great things, and is still referred to as an “elite” rifle regiment, still held in high regard after some century and a half since foundation.
20-06-2005, 20:46
Evantia line, Midlonia, December 12th, 1912.

David shivered in the cold, the hole in the wall he had sheltered in was draughty, and with both his greatcoat and blanket over him he still shivered. In the gloom he could hear someone walking along, clanking a couple of tin mugs.
Terry appeared in his view, the mugs wafted with the faint, watery smell of tea.
David blinked and smiled, the dawn was still faint, but people were already bustling around hefting ammo crates and sorting out the dug-ins. Engineers fixed the firing step and hammered duckboards back into place.
Stretcher bearers were still taking away the dead.

He took the offered mug and drank some of the thin brown liquid; he grimaced at the taste, but liked the warm feeling inside his stomach and throat as it worked its way through.
‘Apparently there’s going to be an offensive tomorrow, rumours are there’s something new about. For the Cavalry.’
‘Oh yeah? What?’
‘Water tanks.’ Terry said, grinning.
‘What?’ David looked at Terry dumbfounded.
‘Water tanks, for the horses, bet they can charge further if kept cool.’
David and Terry both burst out laughing.
‘But yeah,’ sniggered Terry, ‘some sort of offensive.’
A machine gun opened up somewhere near to them, it was soon silenced by the crack of a high-powered rifle.
The two of them looked over towards where the gun was firing, then down the trench as the stretcher bearers ran past, their canvas stretcher rolled up.
‘Anyway, we’re apparently pressing in with the cavalry tom-’
The remainder of his word was cut out by the massive bang that had just erupted near to them.
Terry dived into the dugout in the side of the trench, his mug flinging somewhere into the trench that was now being churned up and blown 20 feet into the air. David shuffled further back into the hole trying to let his friend into the thin hole.
The explosions rippled along the thin line. More bodies flew into the air, adding to the massing pile of dead.
The shells screamed and exploded everywhere they could reach, up on the hill itself the giant counter batteries opened fire, and a similar, horrific roar answered the explosions of the Republican artillery.

Then, as suddenly as it started, the artillery stopped.
The Royalist Artillery continued to pound the republic lines for a further three hours.

Half an hour later the distinctive buzz of a small aircraft zoomed over the lines, it cut gently through the smoke of the war that had been held here for over 6 months.

David and Terry finally emerged from the hole they were in; Terry had a minor laceration to his cheek where a bit of shrapnel had clipped him. David was completely uncut.
‘Seems you live again, huh David?’ grinned Terry
David smiled weakly and nodded; he grabbed his helmet and looked through the trench binoculars that were near his position.
‘Odd…’ he muttered.
‘What?’ asked Terry as he span around from picking up the mugs that were sinking into the mud of the trench.
‘Do you hear something?’
Terry and David both stayed silent for a moment, they could hear a strange grinding clank, clank, clank somewhere behind their own lines.
‘What the hell is that?’ Terry looked around.
‘Cavalry?’ David hazarded.
‘Ner, I’ll go look.’ Terry slopped off in the direction of the sounds.
David went and recovered the mugs from the ground and threw them into the dug-out and followed Terry.
20-06-2005, 21:23
[OOC: Excellent bit of writing there. Something to keep track of... tag]
Aqua Nation Atlantica
24-06-2005, 20:20
Oh soopah! soopah! soopah!