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Calm Before the Storm

"At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we shall remember them."

By Phoebe EllenPublished 7 years ago 3 min read
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Alexandra Gardens, Cardiff

"At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we shall remember them."

From her seated position on the bench, Jenna had a fantastic view of Alexander Gardens in front of her. Situated in the centre of Cardiff, the small garden area held the city's war memorial, and it was remembrance day. Around 500 people were gathered around the memorial, some veterans, some currently serving, others just the public coming to pay their respects. Jenna in a sense was both serving and public. Where she sat she was much further from the memorial than most. However, what she was more interested in was the gun salute that would go off at precisely 1100 hours. The gun was around 400 yards in front of her, and the memorial a further 500. James stood at the gun, his hand poised in the air ready to give the signal. James was 104 Royal Regiment Artillery, and Jenna was a Probationary Instructor with the Army cadet adult volunteers. After meeting James, she'd become inspired by military service, and after realising she could never join the armed forces as her condition coeliac disease prevented her, becoming a volunteer with the cadets was the next best thing.

At precisely 1100 hours, James' hand dropped and the gun shattered the already quiet calm of the crowd. The two-minute silence began, and Jenna sat and reflected on her first few months at Cardiff University. She'd had a rough year, and meeting James had had an incredibly positive impact on her, and now she was a probationary instructor (army uniform and all), with the ACF. She'd become passionate, driven and tough, through both her past experiences through sixth form and starting university, and now with joining the ACF. She finally felt a sense of purpose.

She continued to watch the silence of the crowd, and then James again gave the signal for the end of the two minutes silence. The proceedings of the service commenced and Jenna stood to make her way over to the memorial.

She never made it to the memorial. As she stood, sounds of helicopters came within ear shot and continued to grow louder, until suddenly they were overhead. They appeared to be British military, but what British military fired on their own. People everywhere fell, shot down like animals. The shooters were directing right into the mass crowd.

'James!', thought Jenna. She looked to the gun point where he'd previously stood. He wasn't anymore. She searched with her eyes the ground and spotted him. Without thinking of her own safety she ran to him, and fell to her knees at his side, immediately taking his hand in hers. With her other hand, she took out her phone and dialed 999. She dropped the phone and immediately started her assessment of James' wound. The emergency services would no doubt hear the screams of people down the phone and track her cell to that location.

James appeared to have a shot to the lower left leg, his shoulder and left of his stomach. The shot to his shoulder had gone straight through, however the leg shot... Jenna took off her coat followed by her shirt and immediately ripped off the sleeve and tied it above James' wound on his leg, the pressure would halt any blood escaping from that wound. Once she'd dealt with that, she took both hands and applied pressure to the stomach wound. Blood was everywhere.

"James, can you hear me?" He nodded for response. "Everything's going to be okay, alright? Just stay conscious, stay with me. Help is coming, okay? You're going to be alright. Hang in there."

She continued to talk to him like this whilst they waited for the emergency services. The helicopters had seemingly flown over once and now all disappeared. Jenna looked around Alexandra Gardens. What had previously been a calm, peaceful place of respect, was now a scene of carnage. There were stains of red everywhere, bodies everywhere. Blood covered Jenna's hands. It was all she could do to not to pass out.

veteran
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About the Creator

Phoebe Ellen

Music, photographer and artist

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