QUESTION: Write a story ending with: "If only I have been more careful, that wouldn't have happened."
I had absolutely no ideas about the kind of trouble I was getting myself into when I dropped out of school to join the Royal Flying Corps. Not yet seventeen, I was not of a legal age to join the army, but it was the year 1917 and Britain needed all the recruits it could get. So I was drafted along with a few other young boys like myself. One of them was Mark Way.
During the two weeks of compulsory flight training, I became fast friends with Mark. He had grown up in the countryside, and was dying to see the city. A city boy myself, I could not wait to explore the hidden wonders of the British countryside. Apart from swapping tales about our very different lives, Mark and I barely spoke. We would often sit on the hangar's roof, enshrouded in a comfortable, companionable silence.
After those two blissful weeks, all the newly-trained recruits were posted to distant lands, over strange seas, to aid the war against Germany and her allies. Mark and I were posted to France, at the very front-lines of a bloody and vicious battle. When we stepped onto the airfield at our new base, thunder boomed and lightning flashed in the sky. It was an omen of the evil fate about to befall us.
The first two days I spent on the base was nerve-wrecking. Airplanes landed and took off at the most ungodly hours. Everybody shouted on top of their lungs. And the worst of all, was the screams of dying pilots. Much of my boyhood innocence was lost in these two unforgiving days.
Poor Mark, who was rather a soft-hearted lad, was affected far worse than I was. He became pale and more introverted than he usually was. Oh, how I longed to shield him from the cruel, unforgiving world! Although I did not realize it at the moment, my protective feelings for Mark help me overcome my own fears.
Then, on the third day, Mark and I were given scout duty. This meant that we had to fly over the border and ensure that the sly, conniving Germans did not try to cross the border and conquer France a little bit at a time. As soon as I took off in a Spitfire, a smile blossomed on my face. There was nothing in the world I loved more than flying.
Just then, my radio crackled to life. It was Mark. "Hey, Bobby," he said, "I think we're going to be alright here." I could not help to agree with him. Mark shared my passion for flying and we often performed stunts in our Spitfires, much to the dismay of our flight instructors.
Now, the main reason why the British were short of pilots was because of dogfights. Dogfight is an army term for the aerial battle between two or more fighter planes. RFC viewed dogfights with a kind of carnal pleasure, a sort of battle of wits and skills in the sky.
One day, on the way back from a scouting mission, I decided to break the army's rules and fly out of formation. Why? It was a beautiful evening, with the dying sun casting its last vestiges of warmth and light over us. Mark and the two other pilots remained in formation, while I trailed behind. Not only did I break the rules, I was also careless. Flying at a low altitude like I did was always risky, but to do it out of formation was inviting trouble.
Then I heard it. The steady hum of a German Merschemist. Twisting around in my seat, I tried to see whether I was being toiled. Suddenly, the Nazi plane burst forth. From the clouds, guns a-blazing. Even as I put my Spitfire in full speed forward, I felt the bullets ripping into my wings.
With no other option on my horizon, I flew to a higher altitude, but failed to shake the German off. Desperate, I radioed for help. The cracking sound of Nazi bullets made my heart dance in my chest to a tune of fear.
Just as I was about to give up hope and condemn myself to a bloody end, Mark's plane appeared from my right. Without even a moment's pause, he flew his Spitfire in between mine and the Merschemist. Within the safety of my own plane, I heard the bullets slam into Mark's aircraft, and the answering music from his own guns.
I, too, turned my plane around and opened fire. Outnumbered two to one, the Nazi tried to beat a quick retreat, but it was too late. Our bullets hit his fuel tank, and the plane was engulfed in a sudden ball of fire.
Satisfied and ebullient, I radioed Mark and whooped in victory. His answer was somewhat reserved. "We made it," was all that he said.
When we landed our airplanes in the airfield, I noted in alarm that Mark's glass cockpit was cracked and splattered red. Without turning off the engine, I leapt out of my Spitfire and ran to Mark. His pallid form, slumped in the seat, told me what I needed to know.
Shocked and in denial, I staggered away from Mark's Spitfire. When the Commanding Officer said, "Good fellow, this Mark. He managed to land this plane before dying." something snapped within me. I fell to my knees and cried, my heavy sobs wrecking my body.
It was all my fault. I should have died today, not Mark. Not Mark. He had died to save me, a sacrifice not worth the price of his life. I had lost the person whom I most cared about in the world. If only I had been more careful, that wouldn't have happened.
**NOTE: writer anonymous. published for education purpose, strictly non-commercial