This is a story I wrote for Jolly Rogue Studios. Its part of an anthology called "Eden Can be Seen Through Barbwire" and it will be out soon for y'all to purchase. I'd through up some of the art for it but I think it's still under lock and key at the moment.
"The Big Push"
Note The Story is set during World War One, so clothes, technology hairstyles etc. should be fitting for the period.
Panel One: A British Sergeant is standing in a hallway to the left of a wooden door. His arm is in a cast and he has a patch over his eye. He stands at attention despite the fact he is alone and has a stoic look on his face.
Caption: November 10th 1916
Colonel (off): Enter!
Panel Two: View from behind sergeant as he enters the room. It's filled with boards containing highlighted maps and various photographs of terrain and troops. Directly in front of the Sergeant is a large desk also covered with various files, reports and papers. A single chair sits in between the sergeant and the desk. Behind the desk sits a large, moustachioed Colonel. The Colonel has one hand on the arm of his chair as though he is making the effort to stand up on the sergeant's arrival with his other hand indicating towards the chair.
Colonel: Ah! Harrison. Come in, take a seat. I take it you know why you're here Harrison?
Harrison: Sir, I'm here to report the events of October 29th.
Colonel: Very Good. Tea?
Panel Three: Frontal of Harrison now sitting down: He has a very serious look on his face.
Harrison: No thank you, sir. I'd prefer it if we could get on with it, sir.
Panel Four: Frontal View of the Colonel. His arms are resting on the table in front of him as he leans forward. His eyes are looking down at the form in front of him as his hand hovers with a pen over it.
Colonel: Very well. Straight to business it is then. The sooner this is over the quicker we can get back to giving the Gerries what for, eh? Start form the 25th if you could Harrison.
Panel One: Panel spreading the length of the top of the page. All that's in it is the very top of the trench adorned with barbed wire.
Caption: Yes sir. Before "The Push" order came through, I imagine our trench was the same as everybody else's.
Panel Two: Frontal view of two soldiers sitting on boxes with their backs against a muddy trench wall. The first only has one boot on with the other stood up next to him as he pulls on a thick woolly sock, he has a blanket resting on his shoulders. The second soldier has a blanket wrapped around him and his face can barely be seen between the blanket and his helmet.
Caption: We maintained equipment.
First Soldier: It's no use. I can't keep my feet dry long enough for the other pair to have dried out!
Second Soldier: It least you've got a second pair of socks mate. This is my only blanket and it's infested. I swear if Fritz doesn't get me, these bleeding lice will.
Panel Three: In the middle of the panel in the back ground is a spectacled soldier sitting down with paper on his lap, he is looking into the foreground along the trench to two soldiers stood facing one another on either side on the panel squatting against the trench walls.
Caption: Ate what food we could.
Spectacled Soldier: Has anyone got some spare paper?
Solider on left: Just write on your biscuit. That's about all they're good for. That and breaking teeth.
Soldier on Right: Now be fair, lads. If we run out of ammo we can always chuck that at the enemy.
Panel Four: Same as panel two except the first soldier is now lacing his boots up.
Caption: Occasionally we'd try to affect the German's morale.
Germans (off): GOTT MIT UNS!
Panel Five: Once again similar panel except the first soldier is now leaning back with his head and his hand to the side of his mouth as he shouts.
First soldier: YEAH, WE'VE GOT MITTENS TOO! Hahaha
Second Solder: Heh heh.
Panel One: Same content as panel one on page two.
Caption: Mostly though, we just tried to get by until we could come home.
Panel Two: Here we see Harrison and two privates, Adams and Milton, sitting around a box playing cards. Harrison is on the left. He is unkempt and not wearing a helmet whilst smoking with rifle leaning on the wall behind him. He is looking up to the barbed wire at the top of the trench. Harrison is sitting in the middle; his eyes are down as though looking at the cards in his hand. On the right Adams is seated. He is young and well kept, with his gun slung over his shoulder; he too is looking down at his cards.
Milton: So what do you think Sarge? How long till we're forced through that stuff up there?
Harrison: Couldn't say. But I'll let top brass know you're ready as soon as I can, eh?
Milton: Ahh don't go out of your way sir. Even this hell hole is better than what's waiting up there. Right Adams?
Adams: Actually I can't wait to go over the top.
Panel Three: Front view of Milton. He has a confused look on his face. He is pointing up to the panel (where the top of the trench behind Adams would be).
Milton: Have you lost it? What could possibly inspire you to want to clamber across to the German trench? Oktober Fest? A love of Wagner? A deep rooted desire to be ripped apart by machine gun fire?
Harrison (off): Easy private.
Panel Four: Side view of Adams, with Harrison on his left. Harrison is looking at Adams expectantly. Adams is still looking at his cards but has a smile on his face.
Adams: While those do sound splendid, it's my ticket home. The sooner we win this war the sooner I go home.
Harrison: A girl then?
Adams: Name's Rachel. Beautiful red hair, voice like an angel. If you'd ever seen her, you'd know it was worth it. The sooner I'm through with this, the sooner I get back to her.
Panel Five: Similar View except this time it's a side view of Milton with Harrison on the right. Milton is leaning back with a smirk on his face and his hands resting on his knees. Harrison has his head turned to Milton with an angry expression on his face.
Milton: A girl? Poor bugger, you'll soon find out that no girl's worth what we're about to go through. May as well shoot yourself in the foot now and get out early.
Harrison: Private! Do you want to be on sentry duty tonight?
Panel One: Once again the top of a trench with barbed wire along it.
Caption: The order came through on the morning of the 28th.The troops had mixed feelings about finally going over the top.
Panel Two: Adams leaning against the wall of the trench with another soldier seated next to him. In the background, sitting on his own is Milton. The first two are engaged in conversation whilst Milton looks solemn.
Adams: Tomorrow is the day. We climb out of this trench, walk across that bit of land and I'm closer to home.
Soldier: Maybe even kill a few of them sods. Get ourselves some medals when we get back to Blighty?
Panel Three: Same panel again but with the Adams and the soldier looking quite cheerful. In the background Milton is staring at the two with an intense look on his face.
Solider: So I heard you've got a girl back home. Bet that will make the hero's welcome that bit sweeter?
Adam: It's going to be sweet enough just seeing her face again. I remember this one summer when we walked out to the country...
Panel Four: View of Milton alone now. He is looking directly towards the right of the panel at Adams and the soldier. He looks frustrated.
Milton: Don't you get it? There's no medals, no sweet hearts waiting for you out there! Just hundreds of Germans are up there, just as pissed off as us, with machine guns and rifles. Nothing is out in no man's land other than the knowledge of life and death! I thought you would have realized that by now! This isn't an order to be heroes or go home; it's an order to be killed.
Panel Five: Front view of Adams and the soldier. They are both looking down with a mixture of realisation of their situation and shame of their naivety
Milton (off): If you love this girl so much, I'd start writing your goodbye letter.
Panel One: Same as the previous first panels except this time the barbed wire has gone.
Caption: On the morning of the Push, our trench felt eerily quiet.
Panel Two: View of a group of soldiers with their backs against the now barb wire free trench. In no man's land explosions are lighting up the dark morning sky. The soldiers look sombre attending to their guns and various other bits of their kit. None of them are interacting with one another
S/F: THUDUUM! (Shelling sounds)
Panel Three: A close up view of a soldier inspecting his rifle to make sure everything is in order.
S/F: CLI-CLAK (Lee Enfield being cocked)
Panel Four: A close up of Adams in the foreground with Milton next to him. Adams is resting some paper on his lap as he writes his final letter home; he has a longing look on his face. Milton next to him has a cigarette in his mouth as he shields his lit match from the wind.
Panel Five: The time has arrived. All the soldiers are lined up at the trench wall preparing to go over the top; at the end of the line is Harrison. He is holding a pistol in one hand and a whistle in mouth with the other.
S/F: CLAK-CLAK-CLAK (this sound should be moving down the trench as each soldier cocks his weapon)
Caption: Being honest sir, making that order might have been the hardest thing I had to do in that trench.
Panel One: Frontal view of Harrison and his men marching across No Man's Land in a line. On the ground we can see bits of debris, holes from the shelling filled up with muddy water and bit of barbed wire mashed into the ground, occasionally reaching out of the ground.
Caption 1: The bombardment was a failure sir. The barbed wire in no man's wasn't destroyed, and the terrain became almost impassable.
Panel Two: A view from behind the silhouetted unit in the back ground we can see the flash of machine gun fire. The silhouetted troops are being torn to bits. Flesh and ripped uniform fly around the air.
S/F: TUDUDUDUD-TUDUDUDUD-TUDUDUDUD! (heavy machine gun fire)
German Trench: SCHIESSEN!
Caption: The German trenches were fine. Their guns ripped us apart.
Panel Three: Harrison is dragging himself through the mud with one arm, His other arm is bleeding and half his face is covered in a mixture of dirt and blood. He looks both exhausted and in excruciating pain. Around him lie the bodies of various British troops. In the background we can see the flash of machine gun fire and a few bullets narrowly missing Harrison, pinging on debris around him
S/F: TINK-TING (bullet ricocheting of debris)
Panel Four: In the foreground lying on some twisted barbed wire we can see Adams. He is bleeding profusely. He is looking up into the sky as he breathes his last breath. Blood is trickling from his mouth. One hand rest on his stomach where he has been shot, the other is holding up a folded piece of paper. Harrison is approaching and is only a few feet away. He has a look of shock on his face upon finding Adams.
Harrison: Adams! Hold on! I'm coming!
Panel Five: Harrison has crawled right next to Adams. He is pressing down on his stomach in a vain attempt to stop the bleeding with a look of alarm on his face as he looks at the wound. His other hand is holding the letter. Adams splutters blood as he tries to speak.
Adams: You have to take this home for me *cough*. Take it to Rachel.
Harrison: I'm getting you out of here. You can give it to her yourself.
Adams: I broke my promise *cough cough*. I promised ...
Panel One: Milton has shown up behind Harrison. He is relatively unscathed appearing to have only minor cuts. He has grabbed Harrison by the back of his jacket and is trying to haul him back to British trenches. Harrison looks desperate and doesn't want to leave Adams behind; as he is being pulled away he has taken Adams letter. Adams can still be seen in the foreground dying.
Milton: Let's get the hell out of here!
Harrison: No! We have to get Adams home!
Milton: God damn it! He's done for. Forget him.
Adams: I promised...I'd...
Caption: I'd like to suggest a notable mention in your report for Private Joseph Milton
Panel Two: Adams' body lays in the foreground. In the background Milton is still dragging Harrison with his back to the reader and has just taken a bullet in his back. Harrison is still looking at Adams compassionately.
S/F: CRACK! (Rifle shooting Milton in the back)
Caption 1: He was killed whilst dragging me out of combat.
Harrison: You should have taken him!
Milton: He's a dead m *gahk*
Panel Three: View from above Adams; we can see his head and shoulders. His eyes have closed and he looks peaceful. Behind his head is a bed of twisted barbed wire.
Caption1: That's about everything sir. Before I'm dismissed I was wondering if you could see that this letter gets back to England? One of my privates gave it to me before he died.
Panel Four: Very similar head shot of Adams, only this time he has his hands behind his head. His eyes are closed and he is smiling as the sun beats down on his face. Instead of barbed wire he is laying with his back to the trunk of a tree, behind the tree we can see lush fields and hills. Picturesque England.
Rachel (off): Hello stranger.
Panel Five: Frontal view of Rachel, She is looking down at Adams. She is every bit the beauty he said she was. The sun is high in the sky behind her and behind we can see more country side. She wears a floral dress and has a flower in her hair. She looks incredibly happy to see Adams.
Panel One: View of Rachel sitting down next to Adams. She has lifted his arm up and is putting it around herself, Adams is looking at her with a slight look of disappointment on his face.
Adams: So have you forgiven me?
Rachel: Just, but you have to promise me one thing.
Panel Two: Rachel is holding Adams face. She is gazing at him lovingly as Adams waits expectantly
Adams: What is it?
Panel Three: Similar view but the couple are now kissing holding one another gently.
Panel Four: View of Rachel and Adams, She is now resting in his arm with her head on his shoulder and her hand resting on his chest. Adams is kissing her head.
Rachel: Promise me you'll come home.
Adams: I promise.
Panel Five: This should be the biggest panel on the page. In the left hand corner we see Adams and Rachel resting against a tree. The rest on the panel should consist on the idyllic countryside; think forests, green and golden fields perhaps a perfect little cottage in the distance with soft rolling hills surround it.
Rachel: I love you
Adams: I love you.
IF I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by the suns of home.
The Soldier- Rupert Brooke