Amanda Iocono

The sound of gunshots rained through the air, the smell of gunpowder and blood filled the air in a noxious fume. This was war, a deadly force. I dodged a grenade blast, but the solider next to me wasn't so lucky. He was dead like so many others.

We were surprised by the enemy; we didn't have time to counterattack or defend ourselves. The first barrage killed most of our soldiers; I didn't even have time to grab my gun. I fell to the ground, hiding in the tall yellow, blood- stained grass as more machine guns rang out with bullets. More bodies fell, and I didn't care anymore, I just had to focus on how to survive this battle and see my family again.

My family, my older sister Jazz, my mom and dad, but most of all, Sam, my girlfriend, I couldn't leave them now. I loved them too much to let them go. I made a promise to come back. I promised my family that I wouldn't die and I would come home when my enlistment was up. Sometimes promises can't be kept when you are fighting in a war.

I grab a gun, a Vickers MKI from a fallen solider with a bloody, camouflage uniform. I avoided looking at his face. I always hated looking at a dead person's eyes, and I didn't want to know if it was a friend. Too many of my friends had died in this war and I can't stand knowing I lost another. And so with my ammo running low, I started shooting at the soldiers that were threatening my friends, my family and my country. I shot the machine gun and dodge grenades, not caring who I hit and killed. My feet moving swiftly and my finger pulling the trigger fast, I saw enemies fall. There deaths were quick and merciful. Then it happened.

One gunner had the right mind to pull out a sniper. He took aim and shot a single bullet. I couldn't dodge it fast enough. I could feel the bullet pass through my heart and leave my body. I looked down at my chest, and saw blood slowly pouring out of the fatal wound. I felt a small sting, and then, only numbness. I fell to my knees and hands and let the darkness overtake my mind. My last thought was sometimes you can't keep a promise.

Dedicated to all the soldiers who have died and are defending our country