Dread of War

by Shanwai Lin, age 10
Dread of War Shanwai is a fifth grader at Janney Elementary School. He loves history and writing historical fiction. Shanwai lives with his parents and sister in Washington, D.C.

“John loaded his rifle as his fellow troops dropped dead on the ground, covered in blood. A grenade landed on John’s sandbag. He quickly threw it back, but a sniper had been aiming at John. He was gonna get shot without even knowing it… “

Dunkirk, 1940…

Ratatatatatata.

John ran through the streets, bullets flying around him.

“Fire back,” his Lieutenant yelled to his troops.

John loaded his rifle as his fellow troops dropped dead on the ground, covered in blood. A grenade landed on John’s sandbag. He quickly threw it back, but a sniper had been aiming at John. He was gonna get shot without even knowing it…

 

Chapter One: 1926

Clack. My friends and I clashed wooden swords.

“Uh,” I pushed my friend down.

Then I went to my next friend. Clack clack clack. I knocked him to the ground. Then I was up against my hardest friend: Luke. Uh. He pushed me to the ground.

”You okay?”

“Yep. How do you do that?” I asked.

“Dunno. Guess I just can,” Luke said.

The next day, we played a fine prank on the teacher. We placed a bucket full of water on the door, so when he walked in, it would pour on him. Then we placed a thumb tack on his seat and poured coffee on the homework papers.

When he walked in, water spilled on him, and the class erupted in laughter. He gave me and my friends a look: he knew. We acted innocent. He went back to the changing room then came back. He sat down on the thumb tack and yelled, “Luke, John, George, Remington. Come here right now!”

We walked up to him, giggling.

”You’re getting extra homework.”

He looked at the drawer, and the homework papers were soaked in coffee. We just giggled even more. He then sent us back to our seat. We covered our mouths because we were laughing so much. Finally he couldn’t stand it, and he sent us out of the class. We walked out because we didn’t have to stay at school. After that, we went to the fields with our wooden swords. We started playing once again.      

 

Chapter Two: 1930

I woke up in my hay bed. Pap called me outside to help him out with harvesting the crops.

“Good morning, Pa,” I said, holding my pitchfork.

“Good morning. Now, start chopping.”

“Daddy,” I said.

“Yes.”

“Can you tell me about the war?”

He looked at me with a grim face.

“It was my first battle: The Somme. We had been shelling for five days. I thought the Germans were all dead. We were in the third wave. I thought that the first wave would kill everybody. I was wrong. I could see because everybody in the first wave was getting shot. Same with the second. Before I knew it, I was in no man’s land-

“Then what, Daddy?”

He wouldn’t talk. Something was wrong.

 

Three years later 1933…

“Hitler has become president of Germany.”

My family listened to the radio.

“Dad, who’s Hitler?” I asked.

“No need to care. He’s all the way in Germany,” he said.

“Let’s go pick the corn we just harvested,” I said, and I walked out with my knife.

Chop chop chop. We cut the corn.

“Father, I’m ready. What happened when you were on No Man’s Land?” I said.

He sighed “When I was in no man’s land… Ratatatatatata. Machine gun fire boomed around, sending most of us to the ground. I wanted to turn back, but our general said if we did, we would be shot. My friend, Matt, and I kept running without looking back. We were almost there when, bang, Matt was shot dead.”

My dad started to cry.

 

The next day…

“Hey, Luke you want to play football with us?” we asked.

He shook his head and put it down and kept walking. Something was wrong with Luke. He wouldn’t play with us or do pranks, and he worked a lot harder in school.

 

One month later…

“Luke, will you help us rob the store? You’ll get a lot of loot.” I asked.

Over the past few years, we had turned mischievous boys to criminals. We had no discipline and self control. But Luke never committed crimes.

“No,” he said.

“Oh come on, do you do anything fun? Can we at least come over to your house?”

“No.”

“Let’s sneak up on his house,” I whispered to my friends.

We snuck up on his house. It wasn’t a house. It was a orphanage!

 

The next day at school…

“You live at an orphanage?” I asked Luke.

He sighed, and we walked outside.

“My parents left for Germany two months ago. Do you remember that?”

“Yeah, but that wasn’t permanently, right? They just went back to get your grandma, right?” said Remington.

“What happened to them?” I asked.

You could tell he was holding back tears.

“I don’t know,” he said. “We’re Jewish, so I am scared.”

 

Chapter Three: 1939

“Britain and France have declared war on Germany because Poland has been invaded,” the news on the radio said.

“We’re at war,” my dad said.

“I’m fighting for Britain,” I said.

I ran off into town with my dad. Knock Knock.

“May I see Luke?” I asked the owner of the orphanage.

“He doesn’t live here anymore,” she said.

I walked through town, and I saw him in the town square.

“Luke!” I gave him a hug. “I’m going to fight. You going?”

“I never liked the idea of war since my parents left, but I’ll go for them.”

I smiled. “Let’s go, Luke Pendleton.”

 

Six months later in France….

“Run!” my commander yelled.

My unit and I were in the middle of the British retreat from the Ardennes Forest. Bang bang bang! Gunfire rang around us. I stayed with Luke, my hardest friend.

“You men stay back and guard the retreat,” I heard another lieutenant yell to his troops.

Those brave fellows let us retreat. It turned out they were all killed. We were on the retreat, and we were losing. Paris had fallen. France was hopeless. Now we were all at Dunkirk, crammed on the beach waiting for a miracle…

Boom. Explosions landed around us as we desperately fired our rifles at the sky. I yelled to Luke to fire his gun, but he refused. Finally, I convinced him to shoot. Then a grenade landed on my sandbag! I quickly threw it back before it exploded. Out of nowhere, Luke knocked me back behind the sandbags. A bullet hit where I’d been standing a moment before. Luke had saved my life.

The next day, Luke and I lined up in front of the beach head, waiting for a boat to come and pick us up. We heard a wailing sound.

“Dive-bombers!” someone yelled.

We all ran and flopped on the ground. Bombs randomly dropped around us, barely missing me. I found Luke, who was crying.

“What happened, Luke?”

“I’ve killed somebody,” he said.

“So what? We’ve all killed Nazis. That’s what we came here to do.”

“No,” he said. He threw his rifle at me.

“I don’t need you anyway,” I said and walked off.

Soon we were evacuated from Dunkirk. The miracle had happened…

 

Chapter Four: 1944…

“You heard about D-day?” one of my comrade said.

“Yeah, we’re actually gonna fight!” another soldier said.  

I walked through camp to see Luke at his tent. Luke was sitting on his cot, reading a book of poems. He looked up and smiled.

“Why are you here?”

“I have great news. There are rumors we’re going to be fighting soon.”

Luke got up and walked out of the tent without saying a single word. Shocked, I just stood there. Every single day, Luke was getting further and further away from me.

 

June 6th, 1944

Splash! Water spilled on our landing craft as it rocked in pounding waves. Men threw up in their helmets all around me. I felt sick and anxious. I shivered. Boom! I heard shells booming onto the beach. Finally, our landing craft hit the beach. Immediately, machine guns shot at us. We were sitting ducks. The Germans shot down half our team before they could even raise their weapons. I waded onto the beach, bullets whizzing past me. I loaded my rifle and hid behind a beach obstacle.

“John,” I  heard Luke yell.

He came running to me.

“What are you doing, Luke,” I yelled.

Luke just kept running, and then he jumped in front of me. He fell to the ground. He had been shot by a bullet that otherwise would have killed me. I dragged him to the edge of the cliff and yelled “Medic!”

I tried to bandage up the wound in his chest.

Then Luke said, “Stop it. I’m going to die anyway.”

I started to cry. “Hold still,” I said, pressing my jacket against his wound.

“It’s over,” Luke said. “If you ever see my parents, tell them I died fighting for my country.”

He died.

“Charge!” I heard the Lieutenant yell.

I charged up the cliff, at the enemy with my comrades, firing my rifle angrily. We won the battle.

 

1981 D-day Cemetery

“Luke Pendelton,” my wife said, standing in front of Luke’s grave. “So this was your friend? There is nothing written on his grave.”

“Well I have quite a few comments for him. He was a great man giving his life for our country.”

 

The End

 

 

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