*warning - Adult content*

It was a Friday when the army came to town.

I knew this, because Friday’s the day my mum sends me to shops.

I’ll buy flour and eggs, a bag of salt, some milk, jam, some sausage, and if Dad’s lucky, there’ll be some chops.

So it was a Friday, definitely Friday, when the army first came.

We knew they were coming. Tommy had seen them.
He said they’d been like a great, mighty herd. But Tommy’s a liar, so I didn’t believe him.
But when they actually came, it was incredible.

They were so big, with so many guns, and trucks and tanks.

I couldn’t believe it, even my mum didn’t when I told her after I got home.

When the army came to town, we hoped it meant things would get better.
The war had been raging for so long, I couldn’t even remember what things were like before.
I couldn’t remember Mr.Thomas, or Anthony’s brother either.
I remember Anthony’s sister though, she’d given me a Valentine Card.
When the army came, I was so excited.

I ran alongside a tank. I was so amazed at it’s tracks.
Huge, and deep, and wide, it was just so big, and loud.
Mum told me about elephants.
They were big too, she said
. She said they made a loud noise, had a long nose.
But they can’t be as big as my tank was.
I couldn’t believe how big, and how many, and how long it took for all of them to get through the village. They were still going across the bridge on Tuesday.

I knew it was Tuesday, because that’s the day my mum makes me help at the mill.
The cogs get clogged with the husks from the corn, and Mr. Adams needs me because I’ve got small hands and I can reach in between the spokes.
Kevin did it before, but something happened and his hand got caught.
Tommy said Kevin’s hand had been completely squashed flat, like a piece of paper, but he’s a liar.
So, I’d been helping Mr. Adams getting the husks out for the last couple of months.
And I always go to the mill on Tuesdays.

They were still moving through town for weeks. It was boring after a while.
The huge tanks switched to trucks, and then it was lines and lines of soldiers, one after another, in long lines, for days.> Some would say hello, some would give you a sweet, but most of them just walked through, their heads down, just step after step.

I was also there when they came back..

It took them a lot less time to get through the village this time. The last trucks to come down the main road, past the school, were those ones with the red and white crosses on them. And even they had stopped driving down pretty soon.
I remember when they left, because it was Andy’s birthday.

We were playing by the river, and the soldiers came and yelled at us to get away. We all sat and watched them blow up the bridge. Mum said it was to stop people who were chasing the soldiers from crossing the river.

It was really annoying because it meant I had to walk all the way across the old field to get to the mill after that, and that’s such a long way.

So, I remember it was Andy’s birthday, because that’s when the soldiers left, when they blew up the bridge.

This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.

The author

Nick Miles is a Durban based writer, with a zany and distinctive writing style.

He lives with his partner Sarah and their dog, Nandi,  and Ginger cat.