Tommy let his head drop back against the sand. It was hard, cold and wet. He knew that in the dunes further up it was softer but couldn’t be bothered with the climb just now. The others seemed to have gone on without him, never mind, he could catch them later. He’d take a couple of minutes to rest here, nobody would mind surely and then he’d get back on the job.
He wondered where the noise had gone, a very short time ago it had been overwhelming, all the people and the boats and everything, but now it was beautifully quiet. His clothes were still a bit wet from where he had waded in the edge of the sea but all in all he wasn’t too uncomfortable. He was hungry though and really thirsty, but right now, with his head on the sand and his muscles unwinding, he couldn’t summon up the energy to open his pack and see if there was something to eat.
It wouldn’t seem right anyway, the others weren’t eating yet and it would be better to wait. He would wait until they were all ready, finished with what they had to do and then maybe they could all eat together. Just sit around and they could talk about the day, what had happened and what they would be doing tomorrow.
There was a gull now, sailing high, high above the dunes wheeling and turning in the grey sky, it was a lovely thing, so free and beautiful.
The rain had started again and so maybe he should get up, try and find some shelter but again the will was there yet the strength to undertake the task just failed him. For a moment that was a bit of a worry, why did he feel so very tired. It had been tough the last few days of course, it had been a long journey but he was young, surely it wasn’t right to feel this tired at nineteen after a bit of a trip. He pondered about it for a minute and then let it go, somehow it just didn’t matter any more.
He heard a shout, in the distance and raised his head, there were a couple of the others coming up towards him. He didn’t know them but they’d probably be able to tell him where his mates had gone and what he was supposed to do now. He’d just lay here and wait until they came over.
“There’s another one here Sarge, poor bugger. Both legs gone, thank God he’s dead, hopefully it were merciful and quick. Tags say he’s called Tommy. Are you ready, let’s get the poor sod moved.”
They were lifting him, NO, he didn’t want them to move him, he just wanted to stay here, on the cold, hard sand with the gull circling above him and the beautiful silence soothing his frightened spirit.