The 22nd of December 1944 – Bastogne, Belgium

(found by a fallen tree, blown to shards by the explosion of a murderball)

Viscera, Dolly.

Oh, Dolly, it was just about the most beautiful goddamn thing I ever saw. The most beautiful goddamn thing in the world to this point. If only it didn’t make me feel so sick

It was Haines. It was Buck Haines, sitting right across from me in the foxhole. It was late in the night, early in the morning or whatever. I was keeping watch – we both were, but Haines was starting to nod off a bit – and all of a sudden I hear this great whistling floating through the air.

Someone shouts out from a few foxholes away. Alert! Alert! Alert! Incoming! Whistles fill the air.

PSSEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwww. PLOP!

It lands right in the foxhole. It lands right in Haines’ lap. I mean, right between the goddamn legs. And the poor guy, like I said, was already starting to nod off a little bit, so when the thing hit, it sort of took him by surprise.

The thing starts smoking. Maybe it was a dud, but I scramble out of the hole. I get right the heck out. Haines, I guess, well, he didn’t move quick enough.

BBBCHHOOooooooo!

It echoed, like. Among all the other sounds, the shattering trees and the screams, this one echoed, like, right in my head. While it was still echoing, I peeked over the edge of the hole.

The way it all mixed into the snow. Red was splattered around, some big pools of it were dark crimson, almost black. A few splatters here and there were paler, pink. All kind of shining silvery in the moonlight.

But, Dolly, it was the viscera.

The way his gut was ripped open and it all sort of spilled out into his lap. The sludge, the sliminess of it as it sat there. I couldn’t get a good look until the sun came up in the morning, but it sort of had a shimmer to it. It was grey, but it sort of had a shimmer to it too.

I struggled to keep it down, but I did. We were all panicked about some midnight attack, but nothing came. The Germans just sent in the mortars to give us a scare. I ended up sharing a hole with Mulligan and Francis for the night.

Hope to see you soon,

-Martin

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