The Old Lie

The cold cutting wind sliced through my cheeks in the eerie ominous night of 1917. An unforgetful sight!
Weighed down by the immense load of our packs, we trudged silently through the thick sludge. A cough here, a wheeze there, it was all we could muster after what seemed like an aftermath of a laborious mission. Comrades marched with dopey eyes, numb legs, bootless and blood-shod. Bravo headquarters was still a clear 10 miles ahead. No sooner, disaster struck. Overwhelmed by fatigue, we were oblivious to any warning signs to our impending fate.
“Gas!GAS! Quick boys!” Sergeant Malcolm hollered.
Despite, the adrenaline rush and months of training, we fumbled with our gas masks. Safely protected, I chanced to check if there were any casualties around. My worst fears were confirmed when I saw my good friend, my pal for life, choking in the sea of green hell. A sight that is so horrendous, that I wished I was not there.
“Jeffrey! You O.K.? Put on your mask?”
A dismal silence ensued. Suddenly, a writhing, choking Jeffrey stumbled out of the sea of gas---gas mask nowhere in sight. It then dawned on me that Jeff’s life was hanging in limbo.
Right before my eyes, Jeff had turned pathetically beserk. Frothing at the mouth, he clamoured at anyone with a mask, hoping against hope that he would be liberalised from his pain and torture.
“Dump him in the wagon! Quick!” someone bellowed.
Rooted to the spot, I was shocked beyond words as I saw my ‘beloved Jeff’ being thrown into the wagon. With pleading white eyes like that of a child asking for a sweet, he hammered on the wagon with such ruckus until his last ounce of strength ebbed away. His breathing slowed, life draining away from his eyes as blood gargled from his poisoned lungs. Like a war-torn hero, Jeffrey lay in wait to meet his creator. Jeff---- an icon of waste, of destruction, of war.
“Jeff O Jeff, is this the way you say goodbye to our timeless friendship, to a cause that has yet to be...