The flames of the fire licked up the wood, dancing bright against the dark of the brick. Sometimes, when it was quiet like this, Harry could still hear the guns. A piece of wood cracked loudly and he flinched, aggravating the twinge that had vehemently taken grip on the lower half of his back. Gravity and time were taking their toll, the gradual wearing out process well underway. His shoulder, or rather its metal replacement, ached no longer just on sleeting winter mornings, but everyday. Nevertheless, as Harry always thought, better to have caught a bullet to the shoulder than the chest. There would have been a lot more than a slow, throbbing ache to deal with if that had been the case. He rubbed his withered hands together, enjoying the slow seeping heat coming from the ashen fireplace. His eyes flickered shut, and the flashes of red and orange that lit up the darkness behind his lids transported him to another place, another time.

Dirt was being thrown toward the sky in every direction. The initial blasts lit the sky with lurid colours, followed by the pitter-patter of earth and shrapnel as it found its way back down to the earth. Harry refused to think about what else was also returning from flight under force of gravity. Mad-eye Marv, a fellow Aussie Harry had formed an instant bond with, turned back long enough to flash Harry the maniacal grin he’d become famous for among their unit. Harry allowed his mate a wink before they were scurrying on again.
Harry followed blindly, no longer knowing where he was headed, but too scared to pause for even a moment – too scared to chance a look back. His heart beat in his throat while his stomach dropped toward his knees, but he kept moving. Barely unable to hear the planes soaring overhead anymore, let alone the shouts of the men behind him, Harry never heard the high pitched whistling until it was too late. It dropped from the sky like a weighted boulder, bringing with it the power of the sun. The blast sounded...