‘Pearl Harbour’ by Dylan Worswick: Gawler Short Story Competition; Third Place, Junior Section

I polish the shining silver battleship with my blue cloth. My tight, immaculately pressed white sailor uniform glistens in the afternoon sun, as a cool breeze passes by my station. The battleship’s high powered gun is polished to perfection as the officer meticulously inspects it.

I look down to the gently rippled deep channel water. In the glare of the sun I see a bright silver reflection. Probably a P51fighter aircraft on a training exercise, I think to myself. I continue with my work as the whirring sound of not one, but many propellers is heard. A barrage of Mitsubishi zero planes, painted with red circles and armed with lethal bombs appear in the peaceful skies.

Bombs explode with loud bangs. The loud siren rages as we run to our battle stations. High explosive bombs pound us. It is only a matter of time before the ship ploughs onto the seabed. The main turrets fire as the continuous spray of machine gun bullets light up the smoking sky. I hear the cries of helpless Hawaiians as they run for their lives. I run to the seat and hold down the trigger on the dark black gun. Japanese planes fall from the blackened skies as we begin the evacuation. I grab the sooty life vest and jump off our crippled vessel. I land in the now dirty and oily waters of the once tranquil Pearl Harbour.

Fires rage across the grass plains on the hills overlooking the harbour. I can barely see metres in front of me, as my view is obscured with flaming, helpless and obliterated battleships. The water is full of sailors trying to hide from the low flying machine gunning planes. Fires spread as the oil is rapidly ignited. I move out of the treacherous waters that are alight and killing many. As the terrifying ordeal continues for hours, I seek refuge in a small and cramped underground air raid shelter. The loud buzzing is like a swarm of bees.

I check to see if the highly ranked general in dark green suit is injured but thankfully he escaped, unharmed. I charge outside and find a dropped machine gun. The sky is alive and the crack of loud gunfire rattles my eardrums. I shoot upwards into the chaotic mess of fire and smoke. Kazoo! I hear the loud smash of a Mitsubishi Zero as it smashes to the ground. A large explosion is seen as the plane is incinerated. As more planes return, a second wave of them arrives.

This time we’re ready and I’ve been supplied with an anti-aircraft weapon that was involved in the downing of several aircraft. The Japanese flee in dismay as many planes slam into the ground. We await a return of the enemy forces. I wait in anticipation as I sit below the now visible grey gloomy clouds of sorrow.
We leave on the aircraft carrier in a quest to defeat Japan, and save a war stricken world. After intense fighting, the allies win. But did we really win? Did we achieve a resolution to crime, or were the “good guys” just as bad as the attacking force in a mad struggle for power?

Forty years after my tremendous ordeal, I return to the place I had been when my life was changed. I walk along the path on a hill just above the harbour where I find shrapnel from a Zero. The tall grass has re grown. The dirt trails wind through the scenic lookout and old watch tower locations.

I can’t imagine the horror of my son never returning, never seeing his face again. I think of the pain of helpless mothers and their tears. I think to myself, are we conquerors or villains? I will never know. It took me so many years to realise that while I was trying to defend the safety and security of my country, the people on the other side of the Pacific were also trying to do the same.

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