Thomson crawled through shallow water, right hand digging into slippery mud while his left pressed against the bullet hole in his side. Waves lapped the wound. He gasped as salt burned his torn flesh.
Bombs whistled through the air. Blasts from the explosions shivered through the water and tickled his aching body. Streams of rapid gunfire echoed from the beach. Bullets pattered the sea.
Thomson’s heart raced. “Medic!” he called again as he struggled forward. “I’m bleeding out!”
His cry was one of many as young men raged against the cacophony of war. Red currents swirled through the shallows as the sea drank blood from floating bodies. Soldiers rushed past him, shouting, dying. A gross thud ended a life beside Thomson; the body splashed next to him. Icy droplets stung his eyes.
He went further, shallower until water chilled his skin no more and the beach’s soft sand was his only obstacle. His right arm shook more with every inch of progress. His strength drained with the blood spilling from his wound, coloring the sand beneath him.
He reached a fallen ally. Dizziness washed over him, and his quivering arm gave in. He collapsed beside the corpse, taking fast, short breaths.
He stared into the unblinking brown eyes gazing back at him. Boots ran past, but no one stopped to help. The deafening shots and explosions continued, carried by desperate shouts and pained screams.
Nausea gripped his gut. He felt the end nearing. “So,” he whispered to the corpse. “This is D-Day. The stories made war seem noble and exciting.” He spat. “There’s no glory in this!”
He rolled onto his back and watched the gray clouds looming over the violent battlefield. There Thomson spoke his last words. “This is for your freedom and safety, my son. I’m so sorry.”