I was dead... for five minutes. I opened my bleary eyes to the strong stench of blood and vomit, right cheek plastered against the dusty floor. All around me, stockpiles of death and ammunition littered the ground: sulphur and bones, buck-shells and brains, guts and gunpowder.
I pressed my arms hard against the platform to prop myself up: head throbbing, chest pounding, knees buckled, my face a crimson mask. The world was a haze, slowly sliding into focus as I crawled forward through heaps of bullet-ridden skin and flesh. Gingerly, I clawed my hand out to grab onto something, anything, for support. My fingers gripped hard against what felt like an organic mass: soft and squishy. It dissolved at my touch into a rancid pool of black and red. Rotting meat. The bodies had begun to decay.
Nameless, faceless bodies lay strewn and scattered across the landscape all around me... Bodies of my parents, my brothers, my sisters, cousins and uncles, aunts and nephews chopped and shredded into putrid rags of scarlet... I was drowning in a sea of gore. The night sky was ablaze with stars of white phosphorous raining down upon us like confetti on a Devil's Parade. Pus infested blisters streamed down the length of my shoulders and back.
Assalam Walaikum. My name is Salman Abbas al-Ali. I'm sixteen years old. My family is dead. Welcome to Gaza.