Sleep, eat, fight, breathe. No one may ride the Red Horse of War for long before their spirit gives in.
Sleep. Sleep at first to escape the waking nightmares that have taken over your days, then because you're too worn down to do anything but. At least in your dreams you can't smell the blood and death, even if you can see it. You sleep whenever you can, because catnaps are better than no naps.
Eat. Eat even though you don't want to, even though nothing tastes like it should, because if you don't eat you won't have the strength to fight. Eat even though everything makes your stomach toss and turn and it's like chunks of lead in the pit of your belly.
Fight. Fight to keep yourself alive through the pointless war. You don't want to be here but you haven't got a choice, so you fight. You fight, and kill the enemy, even though they're younger than you and greener than you and don't want to be here either. You hate yourself inside because of what you've become.
Breathe. Breathe like a man just saved from drowning: deep, desperate, heady lungfuls. Breathe, and ignore the sickly-sweet, cloying scent of death, so thick you can almost taste it on your tongue when you inhale. The smell clings to the ground and your clothes and no matter how much it rains, the stench won't wash away.
You stop sleeping first, because it's no longer a refuge, just a constant stream of horrific sights and sounds drawn from both memory and imagination. Images of enemy soldiers dead by your hand, most no older than fourteen or fifteen, crying, begging for mercy, dying slowly on a muddy, bloody battlefield far from their homes.
You stop eating shortly after you stop sleeping. Even looking at food makes you sick; eating it is out of the question. Everything tastes vile and rancid and your stomach rejects almost everything. The lingering odour of blood doesn't help, and you don't know how much longer you can continue like this.
You stop fighting one day, even though it's the middle of battle, and there's someone running at you, weapon at the ready. You're just too tired, too sick, too hungry to keep going and you don't want to live with the guilt and the faces and the voices of the dead. Pain blossoms in your chest, fiery and all-consuming.
You stop breathing.
A bit of an exercise in the second person point of view, as I'd never done anything in that POV until I wrote this piece.
Please let me know what you think; constructive criticism is encouraged and cherished.