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Without further adieu, we are excited to give to you …
"Dog Tags & White T-shirts"
A collaborative story from
EdwardsLove82 & WoahNow
Some people say… that things happen for a reason.
That, there's a silver lining to every dark cloud and that it's better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all.
But what they don't realize, is that they aren't phrases or expressions… they're riddles.
And the only people who can understand any of them, are the ones who are broken.
The ones who have experienced tragedy, first hand.
I'm one of those people now.
I looked around, there was nothing but smoke and fire.
Screams and cries, as people searched through the piles of bodies for their loved ones.
There were men crawling out of the water, carrying their friends, their brothers.
Nurses were sorting through the hundreds of people brought to the hospital, determining who would make it and who wouldn't.
I don't envy them that.
I would not want to be the one to judge, to say who doesn't get to go inside to see if someone can help them.
It's probably the hardest thing they've ever had to do.
I couldn't see their faces.
They all looked the same.
Ashy and bloody.
I couldn't tell them apart and that's probably what scared me the most.
How would I be able to find them?
I was frantic at the thought and I hurried over towards the front of the hospital, looking at every man who passed me.
I went back outside and searched through more soldiers, the ones who were denied treatment in the hospital.
The ones who were going to die, because there weren't enough medical supplies to go around.
I was shaking as I looked through them.
I was afraid to know if I would find them there.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to.
Would I be relieved that I found them?
Or heartbroken, that they weren't going to make it?
The tears were streaming down my face as I searched frantically for the two most important men in my life.
I couldn't breathe.
Through all the screaming, I heard a familiar voice, trying to calm some people down and trying to get some kind of order. Rosalie. I ran to her as fast as I could, it was then that I noticed the blood trailing down my leg.
"Rosalie!" I called out to her and she looked up and tears poured from her face as she wrapped her arms around me.
"Bella! Thank God… are you alright?" She asked as she looked at my face and grabbed onto my wrists.
"I'm fine… I can't find them! Have you seen them? Did they come through here?" I asked her in a panic-stricken voice. I was scared, but relieved that one of my best friends was alive.
"Bella, no… I'm sorry… I don't know where they are." At that moment, we heard Alice call out to us. We both turned to see her running towards us, her dress was covered in blood. Her hands were bloodied as well as her forehead.
"Alice! What happened to you?" Rosalie ran to her and brought her hands to her head, I'm assuming to stop whatever bleeding there was.
"It's not mine… the blood… it's not mine, I'm fine." Alice said to Rose as she tried to calm her down and show her that she was okay. I sighed in relief and I felt more tears stream down my cheeks. Alice came up and hugged me and looked at me with that burning question in her eyes. She was biting her lip, afraid to ask it aloud.
"I don't know… I can't find them, Alice." She cried a broken sob and fell into me. We stood there crying for the men we love, surrounded by other cries and whispering prayers. "We'll find them, I promise… but right now I think Rose needs our help, okay?" I held her hand and we walked towards the front door of the hospital.
"We need blood. Alice, take some of your own, then you can help me with the transfusions. Bella, what's your blood type?"
"Umm, O negative, I think…" I trailed off, as I watched Rose and Alice move around, gathering supplies to pull our blood. There were no viles or tubes, there were no sanitary cleaners or clean needles. There were tissues, straws and coke bottles. They were burning the ends of the needles and using them twice. There weren't enough supplies, but they were doing anything they could to help these men. These soldiers.
"Bella! Come on… I need you to stay with me…" Rosalie yelled, and was trying to pull me out of my thoughts, or daze, and I jumped at the pinch of the needle. I felt dizzy as I watched her fill two bottles of my blood. She handed me a tissue, told me to apply pressure and ran over towards the doctors and other nurses. Alice pulled her own blood, covered with a bandage and then ran over to start helping others. I sat there, useless and alone. My tear filled eyes were scanning the room… afraid to keep looking, but too afraid not to….
I closed my eyes but was afraid I would fall asleep, so I forced them open and watched, helpless, as doctors and nurses worked for hours, trying to help anyone they could get to. Rose and Alice looked exhausted, but they kept moving. I did my best to stay out of the way. I wanted to go out and look for them, but they told me to stay inside. So, that's where I sat…. and witnessed more pain and death I had ever thought imaginable.
The sun was coming up … had it really been an entire night since it all happened? It was much quieter now. A lot less people in the room. The bodies of the ones who didn't make it, were carried outside and lined up to be identified later. Static and the tuning of a radio, caught my attention and I looked up to see a nurse playing around with the radio. Everyone froze and stared at it as we listened to President Roosevelt address the nation.
Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 … a date which will live in infamy … the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor, looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.
Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleagues delivered to our Secretary of State, a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.
It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
The attack yesterday, on the Hawaiian islands, has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.
Tears spilled from my eyes as I listened… but I was distracted at the sound of pain. I heard a strangled cry come from my right. I stood up and walked slowly towards the bed that was next to me. A young man … a boy… couldn't be more than nineteen years old. His shirt was bloodied and torn, his pants black from debris. He looked strangely familiar, but there was so much blood and dirt… I couldn't be sure. He was gasping for air, as he held a shaky hand out to me. I looked down at it and felt my stomach drop. Could I do this? I have to. I couldn't let this boy be alone… I reached out and took his hand, held it with my own. I smiled softly at him as I wiped the sweat and dirt from his forehead. He squeezed my hand and tried to tell me something, but he just … groaned in pain.
"It'll be okay, it's almost over. You'll be okay." I whispered to him as more tears spilled from my eyes. He was shaking and crying, but he couldn't speak. Blood started to spill from his mouth and I noticed he was choking. There was absolutely nothing I could do to help him. There was nothing anyone could do. I squeezed his hand and said a silent prayer for this boy that would never see another day.
"Just close your eyes…. Go to sleep…" I whispered again, in a soft comforting voice, trying to hide how terrified I was. He looked at me with sad eyes, brows furrowed then he closed his eyes and squeezed my hand a final time. I watched as his life slipped away from him. I cried into his hand then folded both of his hands across his chest, then started to pull the sheet up over him. I saw his silver chain poking out of the top of his torn shirt and reached to pull out his dog tags. A painful gasp left my mouth as I read the name of the soldier. I stepped back and my hands flew to my mouth as more tears spilled from my eyes. I felt a strong arm grab me from behind.
Before I could even turn around…
I heard one whisper.
From one voice.
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