Flynn O’Reilly


Irish Times Shortlist 2020

















My home is forever changing, my family whom I share my home with is unceasingly changing. The architecture of my home is eternally altered. The neighbours are never peaceful, for unholy sound crawl through the night sky like wind through the air. The stench of smoke, blood and fear suffocates our lungs. We haven’t seen a clear sky in what seems like an eternity. Every man is longing to gaze upon their home land and see their families once more.

As the Sargent centred up and down the deep, sodden ditch which we had inhabited. We felt a sweet sensation of relief as we peeled of our wet mangled boots of our chapped bleeding feet which we had received orders to do.

The Sargent was about to survey my comrades chapped and butchered feet, which the cold had carved its way up. Suddenly a ghastly sound broke through the night sky, accompanied by a blood red light that filled my line of vision. I was taken aback, until I heard and saw the next accompanied by hundreds more titanic screaming metal capsules diving from the now smoke-filled night sky. The Sargent proceeded to bellow orders at me. But then I noticed my ears were failing me.  A sharp, pitchy ringing had filled my muddy ears.

The Sargent proceeded to dash over and grab me by my muddy grey collar and dragged me to my feet. He was half way done screaming at me when he turned and looked over the wet sodden ditch. His face went as pale as paper and a tremble made its way through him. His hands were trying to grasp his gun, when he grasped this gun, he pointed the nose of it over the trench and proceeded to fire aimlessly. Suddenly I realised what was happening.

I looked out over the bunker to see a ghastly sight. A rumbling grey mob decorated the horizon. One by one the mob was collapsing and tumbling into the ground. Suddenly a mustard yellow mist was crawling its way towards me.  I stared at it gobsmacked, mesmerized by the violent colour levitating in my direction. I then woke up from my day dream and realized what I was looking at. My hands darted to my backpack. Rummaging around I finally located my musky grey gas mask and glued it to my face.

I felt the cold yellow mist touch my skin, it was cold and somehow soothing. I then started running and running, the only thing I had on my mind was escaping the mist. I saw people whom I had lived with for years running for their life. I was so transfixed on others that I didn’t see a large mound of mud fighting its way out of the ground. I tripped and slid on my face on the mud. My gas mask shifted and I took in a miniscule gulp of the yellow mist. I found myself gasping for sweet, sweet air. I gulped the air fruitlessly; I felt my vision going darker and darker. Suddenly I felt my head hit th ground and everything go dark.

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