war ravaged - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
A widowed wife. A mother of two. Living in a country of chaos. She lives in a scattered pile of concrete held together by fractured planks of wood. Trying to survive in a country that wants everyone dead. Seeking refuge in any broken, run-down house that is still standing. Living every moment of her life in constant fear of death for herself and her children.
The streets that once thronged with life stood empty. Gone were the food vendors and the women in their bright clothes selling hand made goods from carts and baskets. Gone were the children who played amongst the crowds with their games and laughter. Gone were the stores with their windows of fine clothing or delicacies. Now even at midday all that you would find would be the dusty street with only the wind for company. There were cracked sidewalks, empty gun shells, and broken store fronts laid waste by desperate looters. Once in a while there was the occasional harried person, moving quickly with tense purpose, no-one left their house unless it was absolutely necessary and the children were almost never seen.
But here, at dawn, the sun seemed to spit yellow venom on the tenebrific land where a broody mist and an atrabilious semblance always hung. The spinney that hugged the camp drooped and had a dreary look like it was in an eternal slumber. The stock of the trees seeped with sap like the beads of sweat that the sun sucked from under our skins. The glittering morning deity, that was once temporary assuagement for the winds that were to come as it emerged from its night of hiding, now reminded us of another day we survived. Of another man dead. Of another mother lost. Of another son fighting. Of another house destroyed. Of another life amount to nothing.
The once smooth sandstone walls that made our town sunny, even when it was grey and overcast, are now riddled with bullet holes. There are buildings in our town that were so beautiful and beloved that to see them in ruins, no more than a ragged pile of rubble in the once busy high street, breaks our hearts. When parts of your world that have stood for centuries lie ruined at your feet it rocks you in a way you never imagined the loss of something inanimate would. Yet here we are too numb to even cry, faces dusted with rock powder and the smell of the bombs still lingering in the air. I'll never forget that sound either, the explosion that rent the air in this otherwise pristine fall. I thank God that my family is still with me, for they are truly all that matters now. Once we have helped neighbors who were less fortunate we will move on. If they resume the bombing or the shooting we'll hunker down in the ruins of our family home and then flee into the unknown. Scared. Thirsty. Hungry.
As we enter the courtyard we halt as suddenly as if our feet were bound by ropes. Dust swirls in the late afternoon air like we were standing in some dusty library with old books being pulled from high shelves. Carl stoops to tug at a piece of blue fabric under some rubble and already my heart is in my boots. I can see through the dirt the white stars that once meant freedom, a bright light in the world that said we could dance to rock and roll, love freely and speak our minds. He tugs at it and before we see the cherry red and white stripes we know they're coming. To see it in such a state turns my stomach. That flag, our stars and stripes, once flew over every school, our justice buildings, our homes. Without thinking I reach out to touch it, to feel the fabric that no doubt was once perfect and strong. It feels like an old t-shirt that's been washed too many times and my fingers come away covered in grime. Carl grips it like a child finding a beloved teddy bear and no-one says a word. Without even a bird singing in the sky the place is deathly silent and yet I can hear the Star Spangled Banner. My jaw clenches and I look away as Carl stuffs it into his back pack.
The street is a skeleton, stripped of its flesh long ago by the locust that swarmed. All that remains is the concrete structures themselves, no glass, no wood, nothing the scavengers could use. Even the street-lamps have been cut down and dragged away along with the trees. Metal is at a premium, plus there's the gadgetry at the top that can be reused in incendiary devices. If this was some movie set ten years ago I'd feel frisson of excitement right now, but knowing there are personal effects in behind those walls, chosen by families that are either decimated or extinguished I can feel my insides cool and spasm. Before I can take a step there is vomit in my mouth. Though the air blows as fresh as any summer meadow, this is a graveyard with unburied dead. I can smell them in my mind all over again, just like the war is still raging and my hands are still red.
The city over the way is still burning, the smoke filled air gives us this halloween blood sun - how fitting. On this, the holiday that was supposed to respect the dead, the holiday that has become the worship of carnage and horror, there won't be jack-o-lanterns. There won't be a need for damaged and tatty clothing, or fake dismembered limbs. There is no shortage of the real thing, of the blood that congeals and browns. The very air we breath is pungent with the odour of the recently deceased and no-one can figure out how we earned this ticket to hell. It's been days since any new food arrived. If anyone has candy they aren't giving it away tonight. So on this final day of October we have run full circle to our ancestors who lived as close to death as we do in these dark days of war. We live moment to moment on cold ashes that fall with the grace of snow, yet lies over everything living and dead.
Nighttime stretched ahead as long as the road they had travelled in the daylight hours, now charcoal hued and cold. The birds were silenced, no-one walked the streets, the only serenade being the ever present rumble from the tanks that crumbled the highway to dark and dusty fragments. The runaways knew they should be travelling in the black hours, but fear kept them the behind brick and mortar of the abandoned shells that were once homes.
The crumbling stone lay ash-like on the ground, a cold dust over every blade of grass and leaf. There it would stay until the wind carried it away and the rain washed every little thing clean.
The country of my birth is no longer my home. How can a place of so much pain be good for the heart? Everything that was the backdrop of our lives lies in ruins and the dead are as common as fall leaves. No-one cries anymore, not like we used to. Every person is either stoic, robbed of all feeling, or else hysterical and sobbing like they don't want to survive another day.
The war didn't just come to the men with guns, it came to the mothers, the fathers, the children and babies alike. Many died of the spreading diseases instead of the bullets and suffered all the more. There isn't a single family intact, not one. We are all widows, widowers and orphans. All this rubble, all this wreckage, it is nothing compared to the devastation inside our souls. We can only look to God and pray He can use this tragedy for a better end, to bring peace, to restore a hope we have all but given up on.
I can remember, the people I’ve lived with as long as I could remember, their piercing screams, they tore through me like great shards of glass, desperate, terrified, I felt my eyes widen and pulse quicken, my heart thudding like a rock rattling in box. What was happening? That was the day… That was the day I lost everything…
The day it happened, I had been at school. I was writing away happily, I didn’t know, but I should’ve enjoyed the happiness while I could. At that moment, the thick scent of melted paint and scorched wood entered my nose. My vision became blurry. Black smoke filled the room, and filled my lungs. Everyone started coughing started in an instant like the tears that washed over my eyes. I had become hazy and could barely see, all I could hear was the teacher, speaking in a soft whisper.
“You...all…leave…once…now…go…exit...understand? ” That was all I could hear.
I just followed the panicking children in my class to the emergency exit. Just then, for a moment I saw the flames burn with colours I never thought it would. With each flare I know another bit of my town is alight. I was the last to get to the door, wheezing and desperate for air. Instantly, when I couldn’t see where I was going, I collapsed to the floor before I could make it and I felt a pain that isn't sharp like a needle point or a knife, and I felt it burn my insides like I was taking a shower in boiling hot water. I barely managed to crawl out, but when I did I felt a piercing pain go down my leg. And when I looked down, all I could see was my leg burning.