He ushered the walking wounded, as well as the dead, into the field chapel. Better under a roof (if ramshackle) than the bomb-laden sky, he thought.
Taking example from a dream he once saw, he knelt before the rude cross and mumbled inanities under his breath. The rest followed suit, where they were able. Some relinquished their crutches, others had already fallen off their stilts, yet others cut their own strings.
The chapel's roof had not been conducive to the puppet-master's continued vigilance, the strings having been stretched at right angles under the door, others slipping through the gaps in the makeshift roof, yet others tangling up in games of blind cats' cradle.
He turned to face the flock. Some had fallen flat on their faces, others belly up, yet others hanging from the creaking rafters like flesh-coloured spiders.
He prayed deeply that he would be alive by morning.
The war raged on outside. The bombs slipped down the strings like head-to-toe acrobat toys; and, as the night set in for the third time that month, the whole sky dripped rattling bead curtain streamers of black.
Some wars were thus, others not, yet others neither.
(FIRST PUBLISHED IN 'PURPLE PATCH' 1991)