walked in a line. Shrouded like a tribe
of Bedouin. They were fat with tinned meat
, and stewed
tomatoes. They were the antithesis
of the rest of the trench.
Their gas masks hung unused at their chests, still in the glinting leather case-boxes. Their guns were still shiny-slick with animal grease. Their helmets dully gleamed in the cold, cold, French wind. They cursed the God that forced them to go to die. But God didn't listen.
The trench was alert with tension and cholera. Somewhere far to the back, a whistle blew, and was echoed in every line behind them. A machine-gun coughed, and began to rattle it's death rattle, and the whistles blew. Wraiths wrapped in capes and tin rushed over the muddy embankment. Those that didn't die on the barbed-wire died on the bayonet.
The Bedouin stayed and watched, unsure as to what they were supposed to do. The third one from the left swatted at his head, and fell down. And the blood beaded on the rifled barrel. The other three Bedouin hunkered down.
Hellish day dripped sullenly into night as a Bedouin struck a sulfur match and tipped it to the end of a cigarette. He passed it to the second Bedouin, who put it in the end of his pipe and drew inward. Passing the sputtering, angry red match to the third Bedouin.
A crack from across the field of barbed-wire and bones snuffed the flame, and the third Bedouin fell.
A light snow began to fall.
The sky began to fall.
The second Bedouin fell under a rain of bed springs, bottle caps, and screws.
The last Bedouin was filthy now. His helmet was a dull, muddy green. His gun had rust blooming in a faultline pattern on the barrel. He was no longer fat on tinned meat and stewed tomatoes, He was gaunt on a grim feast of boots and coarse black bread. He was the last of the Bedouins of the Western Front.