• All I could do was watch. Through the gritty panes of my mask and the sickening green fog, I saw him struggle with his mask. During the frenzy of panic, he drops his mask, cursing and taking a quick breath.

    That's all it takes, a single breath to cause agonising death.

    Horror flooded me as the strong fit soldier before me crumbled, writhing in pain. His hands clutching his burning throat, arms held tightly against his chest. Lungs suffocating from the noxious air. His usual optimistic appearance had unwillingly morphed into an expression of twisted pain. Silently he screams, spluttering for air, bent over from the internal burning. He looks up and reaches out to me.

    Our childhood war games were nothing like this, we were always heroes...

    I stand over him, stupid and paralyzed not knowing what to do or even say. And there he collapses limply, his mask lay next to him, mockingly. As fast as the gas had come, he had gone, all that is left is a breathless mangled body.

    I toss his corpse onto the wagon of the dead as it came past. His skin seemed to melt at the slightest touch, his face contorted in to everlasting misery, the white lifeless eyes bore into me, etching this moment forever in my memories. I became numb with pain, weighed with guilt. Reality finally sank in. For today I had watched my best friend die.

    (read "Dulce et Decorum est" here)