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Machine Gun

Nobody likes hospitals, I know I have never loved them. Having been a TV news reporter visiting war zones for many years, I have seen far too many. Walking through the vast multistory complex, this hospital on the face of it seems to be no different. Wards full of people in pain.

I made my way up three flights of stairs; or six if you included those flat bits in the middle of each turn? Stairwells designed to save on valuable space, my father used to say. In my job, you get used to not using lifts. Nothing worse than being stuck in one when all hell is breaking loose around you. I eventually arrived at D4.

As I got ever closer to room six, my mind fixated on a distinctive sound. Rattling.

Hearing the rattling of Machine Gun made me pause, my natural instinct being to turn and pin my back to the wall. Yes, I was apprehensive.

Waiting for probably only a few seconds, which seemed to last an age, I compose myself. The noise quickly died down. Turning the corner, I hesitantly entered the room. Pain suddenly hit me; as death struck. I was too late; my friend, Machine Gun was dead.

- David

Machine Gun

Nobody likes hospitals, I know I have never loved them. Having been a TV news reporter visiting war zones for many years, I have seen far too many.

Walking through the vast multistory complex, this hospital on the face of it seems to be no different. Wards full of people in pain.

I made my way up three flights of stairs; or six if you included those flat bits in the middle of each turn? Stairwells designed to save on valuable space, my father used to say. In my job, you get used to not using lifts. Nothing worse than being stuck in one when all hell is breaking loose around you. I eventually arrived at D4.

As I got ever closer to room six, my mind fixated on a distinctive sound. Rattling.

Hearing the rattling of Machine Gun made me pause, my natural instinct being to turn and pin my back to the wall. Yes, I was apprehensive.

Waiting for probably only a few seconds, which seemed to last an age, I compose myself. The noise quickly died down. Turning the corner, I hesitantly entered the room. Pain suddenly hit me; as death struck. I was too late; my friend, Machine Gun was dead.

- David

Author’s Note

With the title being Machine Gun and the narrator talking about visiting war zones for a number of years; you automatically assume that he is about to face the rattling of machine gun fire. Whereas, Machine Gun is a friend. The narrator is struck with pain as a result of losing his friend and not being shot. Hence “Pain suddenly hit me; as death struck…”

The rattling; once heard, never forgotten; refers to the “Death Rattle.” The NHS website explains this better than I can; so here is a quote.

“Treating noisy breathing – sometimes saliva or mucus builds up in the person’s throat or chest and can’t be cleared, making a noise during breathing (which is sometimes known as a “death rattle”). This is unlikely to cause any discomfort to the person, but it might be upsetting, particularly for the people who are important to them.” (End of Life Care)