I look at Eleanor for a moment. Her eyes are wide and I know she has fully been drawn into my story. She looks at me expectantly, waiting for me to continue. A few seconds later she grows impatient with me.
"What happened next?" she asks. "You obviously didn't die, so what happened?"
"I only know what little I heard from other people," I tell her. "I had been knocked unconscious by a nearby shell. I'm lucky I didn't drown in that ocean. I only survived because I was saved by someone else. I only found out what happened after we took the beach. I'll have to tell you what they told me."
Sixteen Years Earlier
I had managed to make it up to one of the tank barriers. Gulping air I looked around me. The sight scared me to death. I wasn't sitting in water, I was sitting in blood. The whole sea had turned red with the blood of other men just like me. Bodies and body parts were also floating in the water, filling it with more blood. I wasn't sure how I was still alive after seeing so many die around me.
Looking around I looked to see if I could recognize anyone from my own company. Scanning their terrified faces I quickly realized I didn't know any of these men. They were from a completely different company. Dread washed over me. Was I the only one that made it this far? Was Irwin lying dead in the channel or in the landing craft? He had been right behind me, but I hadn't been able to keep track of him once the doors had been open. The only thing I was focused on was getting off the craft and to shelter.
"God…" I started to pray. I didn't have a chance before I heard an explosion behind me back in the sea. My heart dropped to the bottom of my stomach when I saw what had happened. A landing craft had exploded and was sinking. It was the landing craft that Antony had been on.
"Oh no," I breathed out, certain I had just lost my best friend. We had become so close, and I had depended on him as much as he depended on me. I felt a huge hole in my heart open up, and couldn't believe it was possible that he was gone. I didn't want to believe it was possible, and just kept staring at the craft.
It was like watching a train wreck. I couldn't pull my eyes away from the boat that I was sure Antony was on. He was so afraid to die, afraid that his family would never know. I hadn't wanted to accept that, but he knew it was possible. He had forced Irwin and I to realize we may not make it out of this place alive. Now he had died and I had to make sure I stayed alive to deliver the message to his family.
I continued looking at the sinking craft, thinking about him. It wasn't until someone landed beside me was I able to look away.
"You need to move," the man yelled above the gunfire. "I have to get rid of this tank barrier, so we can move the tanks in."
I nodded and finally was able to focus again. Quickly I got ready to move. As much as I didn't want to, there was no other choice other than to move towards the beach. Looking up the beach it seemed almost impossible. Between here and the reinforcements there was no place to hide. All over the place you could see men running and being shot down. I gagged when I looked at a man up the beach that was trying to put his intestines back inside of himself. My training could have never prepared me for this.
"You need to move now," the man yelled at me again.
I took a deep breath and prepared to run. "God watch over me," I said, and then began to run as fast as I could.
I didn't have time to think about what I was doing. All I knew was I had to get up to where the other men were. I ran past men that were dying everywhere. There was gunfire ringing out from all around me. I don't know how I didn't get hit, but I managed to make it up to there and dived for cover.
"Jackson here sir," I said, and then once I caught my breath I looked around me. Even though I was still terrified, I was greatly relieved. Somehow some of the men from my company had made it here too. It was a relief to see some had made it. My relief grew when I saw Irwin treating a wounded man. I quickly said a prayer of thanks. At least one of my friends had made it this far.
"Oh my God it hurts! I'm gonna die! Oh my God! Oh Jesus! Oh my God," I could hear the man screaming. He was in bad shape and in obvious pain. His arm had been torn and you could see blood flowing out of it from the muscle underneath.
"You're not going to die," Irwin said as he franticly tried to stop the bleeding. "Just don't look at it.
I didn't get to see if he managed to help the man because the next thing I heard was my CO yell, "Bangalores! Clear the shingles!"
I quickly covered my head before the bangalores exploded. Looking up I found that we had finally broken through. I was relieved that we were that much closer to having this awful nightmare over. Next I heard someone say to move and out of instinct I followed the group.
We hid behind a wall and the rest of the men waited for Miller to tell us what to do next. I kept looking around, trying to make sure nothing can shoot us from this direction. Everything seemed impossible. I couldn't get a clean shot at anything. The Germans had prepared themselves well, too well. Just as I was starting to despair I heard Miller call for a few of the men and some gunfire.
"Jackson?" I hear him call for me.
"Yes sir," I said when I went over to him. He quickly showed me a mirror. I could see the gun nest. Instantly I had a good idea what I was going to have to do.
"You see that impact crater right there?"
I looked away from the nest and to the crater he was talking about. It looked like the Germans wouldn't be able to shoot me from there. Getting there would be the only problem, but I knew that's what his plan was. "Yes sir," I say.
"That should give you complete defelè from that machine position. Get in there and give me some fire. Wait for my command. Go!"
Instantly I took off. I was running for my life for the second time today. I could hear the Germans fire at me, but for the second time I managed to make it to safety. Hurriedly I got ready to fire. I didn't have much time to think about what I was doing. All I knew was that it had to be done.
"Be not that far from me oh lord," I prayed and then fired my rifle. Instantly I could see the man fall. Somewhere deep inside of me I felt revulsion at what I had just done. I knew I had just killed a man. However, I didn't have time to dwell on it. Breaking through their defenses was resting completely on my shoulders.
"Oh my strength, haste thee to help me." I fired again, this time bringing down the whole fortification. I heard the men shoot as the Germans fall from the embankment. Getting up I could see the other men run to the fort. I quickly follow them knowing that this day wasn't over yet.
The next minutes were purely a blur. I remember Sarge and Riben throwing grenades into the fort and then the Captain having it torched. I felt completely numb as I heard screaming coming from inside the fort. I had no sympathy for them at all, and a part of me was even pleased that they had suffered. These men resulted in the deaths of so many decent men today. They had a hand in killing Antony.
When I thought about him, and the fact that he was dead I felt a rage fill me. In a haze I hurriedly rushed to help clear out the trenches. I didn't care if the Germans surrender or not. I just would shoot if I saw one. I don't think I was really thinking by that point. All I knew was these men killed people I had cared about, and would kill me too if they were given a chance. By this point all guilt about killing these men was gone.
In the last trench there were several Germans inside of it. Instantly I fired my pistol repeatedly into the trench. Even though I knew the men inside of it were dead I continued to fire. I and the men around me only stopped when we heard someone telling us to cease fire. When I started to put my pistol away my daze lifted. As I stood there looking down at the dead men a realization came over me. I was no longer the same person I was the night before. While trying to take this beach I had changed, and I didn't think I would ever be the same again.
A/N: Alright this one is a tad short, but remember all the D-Day ones are technically combined. I thought this would add a new twist to things. Also I think it will really help show how each of them changed into the persons we see in the movies. I will be updating with the next part soon. Please tell me what you think of my chapters so far. I would like any reviews you can give me, thanks!
PS: You guys now have two more chapters left to vote on where you want Antony to go.
The options are:
1.) With the group to save Ryan
2.) Somewhere else
PSS: Sorry that I had to take this down. I found out that I had changed tenses half way through the story, and also I wasn't happy with what I had before. It needed some major tuning up. I hope you like it.