Author : Debbie Mac Rory

Daniel fell to the grass so that the air from his lungs exited with a whoosh. He closed his eyes and let the cool of the earth leach the tension from his shoulders. When he opened them again, clouds drifted serenely by, lit by the twin moons and the gentle glimmer of distant stars.

He turned his head for a moment as a slide of gravel announced the arrival of Finn. The two companions lay in silence for a moment, both lost in their own thoughts and the rasp of their labouring lungs.

“I can’t remember the last time I looked at them?”

Finn’s voice sounded distant and hoarse, as if he was making conversation merely to stop the momentary quiet from silencing them both completely.

“I can’t even tell which one is home any more” he continued, “I used to know. I’d set my nav by it every morning, so I always knew which way to look… “

Daniel closed his eyes as Finn talked on. He let his mind wander back to thoughts of home. He remembered forests and trees. Green for as far as the eye could see. Racing through those hills with the cross country team, and in his final year, beating the Titan and Mars teams. It had been the first time an earth man had won in years.

The brief smile that had come to his lips as he remembered the parties that followed, being carried through the college grounds faded as the ground trembled beneath him. He realised Finn had fallen silent, and turned his head towards him. His own helmet and visor was reflected back to him in the mirrored finish of Finn’s own cover. He knew that behind the distorted image of his own visor Finn’s grey eyes were looking back to him, asking the same unspoken questions.

A brief flash lit up the sky, and as one, they adjusted their guns on their laps.

“We’ll be home soon enough” Daniel murmured.

A stirring moved along the trench as a second and then a third flash lit up the sky. Soldiers began to prepare as the tremors in the earth joined the discord in the sky above them.

“One way or another, we’ll get home”

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