Theodore Firebrace walked down the quiet French coast, twirling a pebble in his hand. As the pebble slipped in his war ragged hand, he felt the visible reminders that a war was occurring. His fingers had blisters from clutching the guns all day, his skin was broken on his fingertip where he had pulled the pins out of countless hand grenades. Scars criss-crossed over his skin from various weaponry and general lack of care. No one had any time to care for their bodies in the middle of a battlefield. Besides, what would it matter if you had high chances of dying anyway?
He suddenly thought of his family. His girlfriend and her swollen stomach. It seemed strange that he was with her three months ago. Her stomach and the tiny baby inside were keeping track of how long it had been since he saw her. He thought of his parents. Would they be proud? Or would they think that he was foolish to enlist? He knew that he had to. He was part French, so could speak both fluent English and French. The other soldiers needed him if they encountered a French-speaking soldier or civilian.
When the first war began, they had said that it was the war to end all wars. That didn't happen. Theodore still remembered sitting on the rickety train, heading for his temporary home. He had thought of his mother, sat at home, and his father, fighting for their country. When he was nine, one year into the war, he had wanted to enlist as a soldier, but his guardians had refused to let him. He got his opportunity when he was thirty-four, when world war two began. Another war to end all wars.
Theodore looked down at the pebble, clasped between his thumb and index finger. There was a smudge of blood marking its smooth, grey surface. He didn't think that it was his, it was probably from some other wounded soldier. There were so many of them that you never knew what blood was yours and what blood was their's. Theodore drew his arm back and tossed the pebble towards the ocean.