"I'll come back tomorrow, sir," he said quickly. Then he hesitated.
"Please," he gasped, "take some of the pain."
Jonas heard a voice next to him. "Water," the voice said in aparched, croaking whisper.
The boy stared at him. "Water," he begged again. When he spoke, a new spurt of blood drenched the coarse cloth across his chest and sleeve.
The boy sighed. His head fell back, his lower jaw dropping as if he had been surprised by something. A dull blankness slid slowly across his eyes. He was silent. But the noise continued all around: the cries of the wounded men, the cries begging for water and for Mother and for death. Horses lying on the ground shrieked, raised their heads, and stabbed randomly toward the sky with their hooves.
From the distance, Jonas could hear the thud of cannons. Overwhelmed by pain, he lay there in the fearsome stench for hours, listened to the men and animals die, and learned what warfare meant.
The Giver looked away, as if he could not bear to see what he had done to Jonas. "Forgive me," he said.