Johnny Got His Gun

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Johnny Got His Gun

Post by DEWM NINJA on Sat Dec 03, 2016 4:26 am

Johnny Got His Gun
Written, "Published" and picture created by DEWM NINJA
Based on the 1939 book of the same name




“Dad, what is this war that is happening?”
Joe, a boy who was 15, asked his father. His father looked down at him.
“To put it simply, it’s about a bunch of young men killing each other.” His father said, who was reading a newspaper. Joe looked at the newspaper, which mentioned the current war, and it America could soon be involved. He looked at it further, it mentioning a draft, and further things about the war.
“So when I’m 21, I could be going into this war?” Joe asked his father.
“I’m afraid so. Don’t worry. Maybe this madness will be over before then.” His father responded.
“Would you send me to the military to fight, if you had the choice?” Joe asked.
His father paused for a moment. “For democracy, any man would give up his only begotten son.”
That phrase would go on to haunt Joe for most of his life, as in 1917, America entered the first World War. In 1918, Joe turned 18 years old, and was sent out to the battlefield, after he signed up to join 3 months earlier than he had to go…

The intense gunfire and screaming echoed across what seemed like endless miles. Joe and his squad were pinned down, and the Allies were being beaten back. All it took was a couple of Joe’s squadmates to be gunned down before his eyes that cause him to look around, before he saw the opportunity to escape. Joe ran as fast as he ever had in his entire life, abandoning the mission for his own survival. He took one last look as he watched the last few members of his squad get hit by an artillery and die. The Germans pushed forward, killing many of the Allies in their sight. A German spotted Joe who was watching in horror of the deaths of many. The German shouted and pointed out Joe’s location. Joe took cover in the nearest ditch, and hoped to god that he could make it out alive. The roar of an artillery shell sounded down on Joe’s location, Joe looked up and saw what he believed was his final moments, as the artillery shell hit its target and exploded.

Although, unfortunately for Joe, he was not killed. Many reinforcements arrived to the scene and began to push back against the Germans, and the Allies won the battle. Joe was found and taken back to the nearest camp’s medical tent, where doctors there thought that they could keep Joe from dying. “The kid’s not dying on my watch, we’ll see what we can do to keep him alive.” A doctor said as Joe was placed on a bed and the doctors investigated his wounds.

Joe felt like he was waking up, yet at the same time, everything was still black. “Why don’t they turn on the lights in here…? It’s so dark and still… I can feel my heart pumping… but I can’t hear it. Am I… Deaf? Oh no, how am I going to take care of Mom now?” He felt vibrations, which he established as footsteps. He tried to speak, yet he couldn’t. So he just… thought. “I feel awful, everything hurts… Maybe one of these people will help me up out of this bed… Why haven’t they turned on the lights yet?”
One of the people who walked into the room, Commander McKnight, spoke to the others. “This is Joe, he directly hit, or suffered from the explosion radius of, a German artillery shell. At 0246, he was found in a trench, in need of serious medical help, he was rushed to the nearest encampment’s medical tent, where he was partially treated to the point where he could be moved here. He is not allowed to be seen by anyone other than medical staff, other patients, or anyone of my rank or higher.” The rest of the people nodded. McKnight continued to speak. “Nurses, it’s time to remove his bandages, then give him his mask, after that, feed him, and one of you will stay to watch him. If there is a problem, notify Dr Parker.” The rest of the staff all nodded, and went to their duties. The two nurses in the room went to one of his sides and started to remove stitches from his arms. “Agh… Wait, I know this feeling, it’s like that time a cut myself when I climbed that tree, and I had to get stitches. Except there are a lot more this time.” Joe tried to move his arm, but he couldn’t even feel it. Only his shoulder, where the stitches were. And then it hit him. “Oh god, I have no arm! Why did they remove my arm?!” Joe tried to scream but nothing came out of his mouth. Come to think of it, he couldn’t feel anything in his mouth, or anything on his face. After the stitches were done being removed, the nurses went to his other side, where they began to remove more stitches. “Oh please, no… not my other arm… This can’t be real, surely I’m only dreaming.” Joe tried to move his head around, but it only resulted in an intense amount of pain. He tried to scream again, but all he felt was a loss of air in his lungs. He came to the conclusion that he was able to breath, only he had no arms, or a mouth. “What a nightmare… Oh… god please wake me up...” The nurses then moved to his legs, where they removed stitches from there. “My legs too?! No, why wouldn’t they at least leave something for me?! Why, oh god why?!” The nurses went to his face, where they started to remove bandages, however, Joe could only feel the bandages being removed from his forehead, his chin and the far sides of his face. Despite the bandages being removed, he still couldn’t see anything. “I suppose it wouldn’t be crazy to presume that I have no face either, huh?” Joe felt the urge to cry, but there were no tears. What he didn’t realise was that his head was carved completely out, only his brain and his spine were there, open for the people to see. But there were no people. Only nurses who looked at this man and saw a carcass that can’t die, a zombie that can’t eat. Commander McKnight returned to the room. “I forgot, I have the mask with me. This mask is specially designed to hide the patient’s ‘face’, but it also keeps his head from overheating. Once the mask is on, it will not be taken off, to do so will get someone fired.” McKnight placed the mask on Joe, and he then left the room. Joe looked in the direction where he felt McKnight’s footsteps. It was painful for him to look around, but he was getting used to it.

“Hit me.” An 8 of spades was given to Joe. A French man laughed, “I’m out.” he said. A man next to him, an Irishman, simply placed all his chips on the table. Finally, an Italian man, on Joe’s other side, said “Fold.” The four of them were all wearing the same uniforms, it hit Joe that these people were all members of the Allies. The Irishman looked up to face Joe. “So, American, how’d you go?” The Irishman said. Joe was confused, “What… ?” he said. The Frenchman said “How did you die?” Joe paused for a minute. “I last remember I was on… a hospital bed… No arms, legs, or a face...” The Irishman chuckled. “Ah, you went out the hard way. I was outnumbered 12 to 1, so I just charged them all and took as many as I could with me. I’ll see those damn Austrians in hell.” The Frenchman shook his head. “I was hit by a sniper. Clean headshot.” The Italian man was last to speak, “I stepped on a mine.” Joe was relieved and terrified at the same time. A man walked into the building that the four men were in, he had long brownish-blondish hair and a full grown beard, and rather large wounds on the palms of his hands and his feet. “The train is arriving now, you’ve all got your tickets, boys?.” The man said. Everybody but Joe nodded, and walked out. Joe looked at the man further, and walked up to him. “Who are you?” Joe said. The man smiled. “My name is Jesus Christ. But I don’t think it’s your time.” Joe’s eyes widened. “No, wait, please, I don’t want to go back! Could you at least help me?!” Jesus was silent for a moment. “You’re the one with no legs or arms, right? Hm… Well, I’m afraid that I must go. You are an unlucky man, and that could rub off on others.” Jesus walked out the door, and Joe tried to follow, but the door wouldn’t open for him. He began banging on the door, screaming, “No! Wait! Please! Don’t leave me I don’t want to live like this! Please!” He began sobbing, but reality came back to him, as everything went black, and Joe felt the vibrations of a nurse entering his room. He moved his head in her direction, when he suddenly felt the vibrations of a larger person, likely a man.

Although, these vibrations came not from a man, but a fat woman, the head nurse, she inspected the room, as a new Nurse was being instructed on how to take care of Joe. “Why are the shutters closed?” The head nurse asked no one specifically, she opened the window shutters, sunlight flooded the room, and hit Joe’s body, which surprised him. As the lesson continued between the two nurses, Joe came to a realization. “Sunlight, wait, that means I can tell what time of day it is… I can keep track of time! Yes! I’m coming back to reality! Progress… maybe Jesus had a point… if that was even real… I can’t even tell what’s really happening, a dream, a memory or just a thought... ” Joe tried to sigh, but it only ended up just becoming a burst of air out of his breathing tube that no one heard. Eventually, the head nurse left the room, and the new nurse looked at Joe. She felt bad for him, so she walked over to him. Her closer look only made her tear up a little, and a tear dropped onto Joe’s chest. Joe was alerted to this, and he looked in her direction. “This nurse’s footsteps are so soft… is she crying?” Joe thought to himself, her soft footsteps reminded her of his girlfriend, which reminded him, although he could keep track of time now, he had no clue how long it was back when he was hit by that artillery. It could have been months.

“I’m going to be drafted in, anyway.” Joe said to Kareen, his girlfriend. “Besides, Bill and Jeff have already volunteered early, themselves.” The two sat in the same chair, Kareen in his lap. Joe remembered his last day with Kareen distinctly. “But… what if you don’t come back?” Kareen said. “Don’t think that way, nothing will happen to me, most people come back.” Joe said, as he shook off the thought of dying in the war. “But, not all of them come back… please don’t go Joe, I can’t bare to think of losing you.” Joe shook his head. “Then don’t think of losing me.” The two went in for a kiss, but suddenly Kareen’s father walked up behind the two. “You two should... go into a different room. It’s getting awfully late.” Her father said, his voice startled Joe. The two of them looked at him for a short while, before Kareen spoke, “But, this is Joe’s last day with me.” Her father nodded. “Yes, I know, that’s why I want you two to go in there.” He said. Kareen got up, followed by Joe, Kareen made her way into the room, Joe was going to follow before he was stopped by Kareen’s dad. “Now, son, keep in mind, she’s not a whore. You know how to treat a lady, right?” Her father said, Joe nodded. “Yes sir, I understand.” Joe said, which caused Kareen’s father to smile. “You’re a good kid, I wish you the best out there on the field. You’re fighting for your country. People like you deserve all that they ever need for fighting for our freedom.” Kareen’s father said. “Now, goodnight.” He said, as he walked away. Joe sighed, and walked into the room.

Reality came back to Joe as he moved his head around. It still felt like he was half dead. If he was keeping track of time correctly, it was about a month and a little over a half since he was dismembered. Every passing day felt like it was getting harder, yet, easier at the same time. He felt the door open to his room, then quickly close, followed by the light vibrations. “Is it you… Is it the one I love?” Joe thought to himself, the nurse that had made him remember of his girlfriend a while back had a way of letting Joe know that it was her. The Nurse unbuttoned Joe’s Hospital Gown until his chest was bare. She tapped him on the chest three time. “Oh, it is you!” Joe thought, as he nodded his head. The Nurse was someone who made Joe realize that the world was not taken from him, that he is not alone in his own mind. The Nurse took her finger and moved it across his chest in an M shape. Joe was alerted to this. “Are you… trying to tell me something? M?” Joe nodded more, and the Nurse began to shape out more letters. “E… R… R… Y...” Joe shook his head once more. “Merry… C… H… R… I… S… T… M… A… S! Oh, Merry Christmas, it’s Christmas! Thank you nurse!” Joe shook his head again and again, the Nurse smiled, but she was alerted to someone knocking on the door. She left to get it, leaving Joe alone for the rest of the day. “Merry Christmas… ” Joe kept the phrase echoing in his head. Nothing could’ve made a greater gift, communication. He thought to himself what a great party his friends would be having, if they were even back from the war…

Cake, dancing, celebrations, it was a time of rejoice, of happiness. All of his friends, having the times of their lives. Just, without Joe. Wherever they were celebrating, Joe was just outside, so close, yet so far. The idea shifted into a memory. He looked into the building, everyone raised their glass in honor for the men who’d lost their lives, singing, “Keep the homefires burning, while our hearts are yearning...” Joe sighed as he stepped away from the building. “Something gotcha down kid?” A familiar voice said, behind Joe, who quickly turned to see… his father. “Father? Father, I need help. I’m having trouble and I need help.” Joe said. His father chuckled. “Well, I might know how to help you. What’s the problem?” Joe’s father replied. Joe didn’t know where to start, so he kept it simple. “I have to talk to some people, but I can’t talk to them with my mouth, they couldn’t hear me. So… hell, what would you know, none of this is real, I’m talking to myself...” Joe said, he waited for anything to happen, his father replied. “Don’t let it get you down. I know what would cheer you up. Don’t you remember when you were little? How you and Bill Harper used to string a wire between the two houses so you could telegraph to each other? Still remember the Morse Code?” His father said, smiling. “The Morse Code… that’s it, thank you!” Joe would finally make his return to the world. 

He awoke from the dream on the day after Christmas. Once he felt the Nurse walk through the door, he began to hit his head against his pillow to speak in Morse Code. The Nurse couldn’t understand it, but she knew it was Morse Code. She left the room quickly to get a doctor. She came back with a single doctor. “I don’t think that’s Morse Code,” the doctor said. “those look like muscle spasms. We’ll have to sedate him to get him to stop it.” The Nurse shook her head. “No, no wait, get someone who knows Morse Code, we can’t just assume that we have to sedate him!” The Nurse said. The doctor sighed. “Fine, I’ll get someone.” The doctor said, as he left. He returned with not one more person, but four, McKnight included. “Well, is he trying to communicate?” McKnight asked. One man watched Joe’s movements carefully. “Yes. It’s Morse Code.” He said. “For what?” McKnight replied. “SOS. Help.” The whole room was at a loss for what to say. McKnight began to pace. “Ask him what he wants.” McKnight said, he continued to pace. The man who knew Morse Code, Edward, communicated back to him in Morse Code by tapping on his head, asking Joe what he wanted. “What do I want… ?” Joe thought to himself. He wasn’t prepared for a question like that. “I… I want to be put in a class case and shown to the world, telling them what war can do. I want to be an example of the World War. I want to be a sign of peace to the world.” Joe thought to himself as he communicated back to Edward. Edward told everyone Joe’s wish. McKnight shook his head. “No. This kid isn’t allowed to be seen by the public. We’re not showing him to anyone.” McKnight said. Edward told this to Joe. Joe thought of what he should say next, and he communicated back to Edward. “What’s he saying?” McKnight asked. It was silent for a moment, before Edward gulped, and looked up to McKnight. “He says ‘Kill me’. Over and over again... ‘Kill me’.” It was silent once again. McKnight interrupted the silence. “Don’t you have some message for him, Parker?” He said, looking at the doctor. “He is a product of your profession. Not mine.” Dr Parker said. Everyone simply glanced at each other. “I think it’s best that we… go...” McKnight said, as he left, soon, everyone followed behind him, other than the Nurse. She looked at Joe. “Kill me… Why won’t they hurry up and kill me?” Joe thought to himself. The Nurse walked closer to Joe, and he moved his head to face her. “I’m asking you to kill me.” He thought. She sighed, although she was not to kill the patient, she decided it would be for the best, anyway. He pinched his breathing tube until it closed. Joe was relieved, in a way. “Thank you...” He thought. He would finally be freed from this torture. Suddenly, the door opened, and Joe felt the vibrations of a man quickly and furiously walking towards the Nurse. McKnight grabbed the Nurse by her hand. “Let go of his breathing tube!” He yelled at her. She let go. “No, wait, it was almost over...” Joe thought. McKnight pulled the Nurse away from Joe. “You are fired! Give me the keys to the room, now!” McKnight yelled. The Nurse hesitated, but handed over the keys. “Now, leave. Go home.” McKnight said, as he pushed the Nurse through the door and out of the room, closing the door behind him. “It seems that nobody pays me any attention. If I had arms, I could kill myself, if I had legs I could run away, if I had a voice, I could talk, and speak with someone, to keep myself company, I could yell for help, but nobody’d help me. I just… got to something. I don’t see how I could go on like this… SOS… Help me… SOS… Help me… S… O… S...”

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DEWM NINJA

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