The Dying Belong to No One by Terveen Gill


Parched lips everywhere.

Dried throats thick with death.

He walked, looked, then stopped. His water sack hung from his shoulder, its bulge nestled into his side.

The man had found another. This one was on the verge of death.

‘Open your mouth, brother. Cool water. Drink.’

He carefully tilted the leather satchel. Only a few drops at a time.

Upon the third tilt, lifeless eyes stared back.

He closed them, muttered a prayer, and moved on to the next.

Death had stolen another. It wasn’t easy to find traces of life.

The battle had been vicious, the consequences ruthless, the ground heavily drenched with men’s blood.

The redness didn’t differ, it was uniform to each one, yet they had fought in the name of difference, their enmity based upon greed and prejudices that separated them.

They had forgotten their humanness.

He found one more – missing an arm and part of his face. But his mouth was still there. And the water found its way, trickling into a soon to be carcass.

‘Drink, brother. Cool water for you.’

For each, the prayer was different. It was the bidding of the moment that decided the words of mercy.

Then it was on to the next, and the next, and the next.

He would quench as much thirst as he could. Their merits and demerits were inconsequential to him.

The dying belonged to no one. Sides and loyalties were meant for the living.

However, he would grant them respect, offer them the last drops of decency.

It wasn’t his war; they weren’t his rivals.

He saw himself in them, yet they would never know him.

The next was coughing up blood.

He placed the limp head in his lap and wet a cloth, cleaning the blood-caked lips.

Tipping the water sack, he spoke in the gentlest voice.

‘Drink, brother, drink. Water is more precious than blood.’

22 comentarios sobre “The Dying Belong to No One by Terveen Gill

  1. Aye.. the aftermath of a battle.. the desecration and despoiling of life.. in all that chaos there is always one voice striving for decency. Twas a heavy read, but you captured the moment.. the energy.. the ebbing of life. Great stuff Terveen.🙌🙌🙌

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