Sunday, April 6, 2008

Eyes! Eyes! Eyes! partII

Finally I made myself look at the wreckage of a machine gun emplacement. A big shell had made a direct hit and sandbags. and timbers and steel rails were scattered in all directions. A sap had led to the post, and it was blocked completely. Where it entered the main trench the parapet ad been blown away, and as I watched I saw a man raise his head. It was a Heinie, and I knew that by the way he got up and looked around that he had no idea that we were here.
I watched that place for over an hour and in that time I saw eight or ten Germans. Then an officer came and got up and looked over our way. After that I couldn't see anyone except a sentry who had stayed in plain view. It was very quiet. Not a plane was over and none of our guns were firing in that sector. The war was away over on our flanks.
It began to get hot. There was no breeze at all and the sun was blistering hot, choking hot in our burrow. Sweat scalded and blinded us. After a while the distant guns seemed even to relent in the heat and became silent, until even the quiet itself became irritating. Then flies, the big blue ones, began to buzz about the dead Heinie, and we noticed the dreadful smells. I focused my attention inwards to prevent my stomach from turning due to the stench.
it seemed an eternity before noon. We had sneaked out to our pit before light and there was no hope of being relieved until it was dark again. We had only a little water with us and it had got so warm and brackish and amongst the foul smell of the rotting corpse, it was not even remotely drinkable. The German sentry at the sap head got himself a plank seat and sat on it as he watched our way. I had my field glasses and focused them on him. He was dirty and unshaven and very tired looking, staring vacantly in a manner that vaguely reminded me of the dead Heinie to our left.
All at once Pete grabbed me again. "Eyes!" he hissed in a way that made me jump and sent a chill down my spine in spite of the pressing heat. "Just eyes."
I squeezed over beside him and he pointed at the debris near us, where crossed rails, tangled in a V, seemed to cover a small dark opening of sorts there beneath them. "There were eyes in that hole," he whimpered " I seen them."
I watched and watched as the minutes dragged by. I was cussing the smells and the flies and was properly fed up with everything-when I saw them. My scalp seemed to crawl and for a moment I froze. Two eyes had certainly appeared in the gap under the rails and they simply glared into mine. I felt as though I had taken a glimpse of an unholy monster from beneath the ground. One instant was all I saw them, then they vanished as quickly and unexpectedly as they appeared.
It was so utterly unreal, I leaned back to collect myself, wiped the sweat from my forehead and brows and, and looked again. For a long time I didn't see a thing but that black narrow empty space beneath the wreckage-then suddenly the eyes
seamed to leap into place and there they were. Even in spite of the fact I sat watching and waiting for them, their appearance caused me to start. They stayed longer that second time and upon holding onto my composure I tried to imagine a face to fit them into, but couldn't. I never saw such a mixture of fear, hated and madness of any kind as I did in those faceless orbs beneath the rails.

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