They lay scattered across the ground like tailors dummies, limbs twisted into impossible shapes, pools of dried blood forming blackened shadows round their inert bodies. On the horizon, a smoke-belching tank fights for a foothold in the cratered, bomb-blasted road. Above, a missile cuts a menacing arc through the cloudless sky as it seeks out its innocent prey.
As the tank slews to a halt, a soldier clambers through the turret opening, his weary, sweat-soaked body hitting the road with a dull thud. Seconds later a second soldier joins him by the roadside. Together they walk slowly along the broken tarmac, their hands shielding their eyes against the fierce, setting sun. They pause, their horrified gaze falling on the twisted mangled remains lying in front of them. One of them bends down, his hand rummaging in the blood-soaked clothing, his fingers closing round the crumpled remains of a wallet. Opening it he pulls out a faded, black and white photo, a couple, young, arm in arm, their faces full of hope for the future. Tears bleed from the soldier`s eyes, salt stinging his parched lips. Quietly he replaces the photo, slipping the wallet deep inside his uniform. His comrade kneels down beside him, his fingers pulling the eyelids down over the body`s blank, sightless eyes. As one the soldiers clasp their hands together, their lips forming a soundless prayer.
`There`s no walking away from this.` The soldier`s words are snatched away by the wind, his plaintive cry lost in the relentless thump of artillery fire pounding across the desolate, shattered landscape.