Flash, prose

Memories

After a while, people started to get used to everything that was happening. The terrible things, I mean. The wrong people were being elected almost everywhere, it seemed as if peace was turning into another simple five letter word which nobody really paid attention to. Cars were stolen and thrown onto men, women, husbands, wives and children; all of that, for no other justification than complete and utter misunderstandings. That, Kid, that took a hell of a lot out of me, and out of a lot of people. Our lives quickly changed – simplified by that ridiculous and yet harsh truth : you knew things would turn out to shite, you just did not know when. All in all, with hindsight, I would now say that it was more waiting than really living at all, you know?

It all happened after someone, somewhere, shot the wrong person. That was the usual thing back in the day, but this time the victim was an important one. You see Kid, it was not all that different from the world you know and love now, there were people who were still seen as more important than others, and only God knows why. But I, I have always had a hard time dealing with the concept of justice myself, but that’s an entirely different story. So when that person was shot, a double tap through the heart if I’m correct, they launched the red code and the world was immediately said to be entering the most dangerous place since 1945. Everybody who was physically able was thus subsequently required to join the forces – the draft, they called it. In a matter of weeks, thousands joined camps and went under a training harsher than what you could imagine. Some folks once told me that Russian training involved nuclear exposition, to accurately determine how long one could withstand the damages caused by the rays. Luckily for me, an expert dug out that my Russian lineage had stopped decades before I was even born. That was a thing back then, they dug and dug and dug, just to make sure you did not have an ounce of enemy blood in you. We humans have such odd ways to act sometimes.

Conflicts bloomed and exploded in several places at the same time. And the worst thing was that some of them were internal. Terrorists had joined the armies, and they were now fighting their own fight from the inside. For the rest of us, it was basically fighting against two enemies at a time, a thing which rarely ever works out I can tell you that much. Anyhow, your grand-mother was affected and stationned to a little costal town, where she would have to form new recruits – higher ups were, by that point, still hoping that the US could once again pull out the big win for everyone; speaking the same language had thus become a sine qua non condition to stepping onto the battlefield. As to I, my dear Kiddo, well I was sent straight to hell. They said I was young, in my prime, and ultimately willing and able, pretty much just like you are, right about now. There were no reasons not to, they said.

They crammed us into old planes which, I was sure, had been manufactured way before the birth of my own grandfather. Once over the heart of darkness, we had to jump for the plane could not risk to get shot at while attempting to land. We flew and then touched ground, and it took us a few days to establish camp and to make contact with those already out there. Our first mission was to find out whether or not the previous unit on site was still operational; a mission which to me, let me tell you this Kid, felt more like a mere illusion than anything else. And as we did find them, most of them buried under ruins of what used to serve as an old church, crimson masks and all, we knew that it was too late to die. You just suffered there. For a instant, and then for eternity – any man who dies at war, will always be remembered as such.

I’m sorry, I know you have heard most of this at least ten times already, but I’m getting to your answer. So, after weeks and months spent there. Months of playing hide and seek with other forces, and with threats that came from within too, we finally received orders to move up North. It was about time we kicked some butts and we made our presence truly felt. By that point, fifteen of us had already fallen, and we knew most of us would follow. There were reports on the radio too – Boston and a great part of Massachusetts had been blown up. We had no idea how, or by whom, but we feared the nukes had come into the fold. And if they did, it meant we were failing big time. Because you see Kid, we were not fighting just to fight. You asked me if I killed, and I did. I did kill people. But I did not like it, I had to. I had to do it, for they were fighting to annihilate us. They were fighting to gain time, to serve some tyrants, some legion of doom whose only purpose was to rewrite destiny.

There’s a reason in all fighting, even when it seems insane. Hemingway hinted at that somehow, somwhere. But I doubt you’d ever heard of old Papa. But Kid, if you forget about anything else, remember this : if you fight a good fight, go all the way. Do whatever it takes. But if, for some reason, even for a short instant, you find yourself wondering, asking yourself  whether or not what you’re doing is the good choice, the right choice; don’t do it.

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