Author Topic: The Price We Pay  (Read 1192 times)

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Kracken Kitty

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The Price We Pay
« on: October 19, 2010, 09:32:48 AM »
Watched some a war show with my mom and now I wanna write a one shot about what a person coudl feel like in the battlefield...


Spoiler: show

My throat was parched, scratchy even though any peasant would say that this autumn night was cool and crisp. I didn't feel that way. Not after everything my squad had gone through to get this far into enemy territory. Now here we were, shacking up in some random village...and it was quiet, even as I sat, numb, on the dusty road.

Held tightly in my arms, was a small pistol, given to me by my First Seargent. It was heavy. And cold. But I refused to let it go as I stared blankly ahead of me. Above, the clouds parted to reveal the fullness of a beautiful blue moon. And slowly, it's silvery rays brought the village out of the darkness. It crept into the farthest black, going into the very heart of our current inhabitance and forcing my eyes away from the sight I was wishing to forget...

For in the middle of the village was a pile of dead bodies; stacked as high as the small hay thatches that made up the roofs of these tiny village houses. Bodies. All in one pile. All fresh from today's invasion. This afternoon's killing.

Men. Women. Children. Each and every person who lived their sad peasant lives peacefully until we arrived...were now rotting at the heart of their own lands. Their own homes.

And as I stared, unable to look away, at the empty, fear stricken, woe-filled faces of these poor people I wondered to myself, "Why...did I do this?" Automatically, my brain told me that I was just following orders. But my heart was aching. Killing me. Agonizing me. And filling my head with endless questions.

Why the hell, did I kill all of these people; who only worked to live their lives as peacefully as they could...even in a generation as war-torn as this? Why did I even bother to become a soldier?

Exactly WHAT was I fighting for now?

Remembering back several months to the day I turned eighteen, that was also the day soldier came to take me away from my family. They said I was eligible for war. And now that I'm here....what was I supposed to fight for?

For the good of my country?

That's a lie. Staring at the works of my comrades, I didn't feel any pride. I felt sick. Sick to my stomach and absolutely nauseated. Behind me, laughs were coming from the house that used to belong to an old man and his wife and two grandchildren. They were the last to be killed; after they were forced to cook the last of their food for my comrades. And then they were shot down by my commander, who laughed as he did it.

He was still laughing now. At this hour, as I sat outside alone in the cold and being the only one to regret what I've done.

A sound behind me tore me faway from my self-pity, making me jump. From only three months of training, I turned clumsily to stare into the face of one of my comrades. My gun was held up, ready to shoot but luckily it wasn't cocked and locked because this man was my only friend.

"D...Darien." I stammered, shaking. I didn't move the gun out of his face, but he looked into it unfazed. His eyes were a stunning blue. Cold and unfeeling, but at the same time, almost sad. Above his left brow, was a deep scar that ran in a crescent from there to the corner of his jaw. And as my superior, he was always the one to look out for me on the battle field.

"Kid." He returned the name. He never did once call me by my name. I was the youngest in the squad. Everyone called me "Rookie," but Darien was the only one to call me "Kid." Slowly his hand reached up to my wrist, pushing the gunpoint away from his head. I quickly moved to holster it.
"Keep that pointed that elsewhere. I'm not looking forward to dying just yet." His tone was gruff and deep. As usual. He tossed me a small piece of bread and a bottle of beer, and I barely caught them. "If you're looking to stay out here all night, you might as well eat some of what we've got."

Instantly, I remembered the old man and his family who cooked the bread before they were killed...and immediately felt sick again.

"I-I don't want any." I replied, holding the meal out to him. " eat it."

Darien didn't move, and I kept my eyes to the ground knowing that he was trying to read me again. Soon, I felt the weight of the bottle disappear from one hand, and I looked up to Darien drinking it.

"It's a waste, isn't it?" He sat down on the dirt, staring straight ahead.

"What do you mean?" I asked, dropping the bread. I kicked dirt on it and prayed to God to forgive me of my sins. "I'm just not hungry."

I heard my superior sigh before taking another swig of beer. "I mean, it's a waste..." he began. "That we had to kill all of these innocent people."

Surprised to hear this, I turned to him. In battle, this man would waste no time crushing anyone who didn't wear our uniform...but now he was sitting here voicing what I couldn't say. Although Darien had always been good at saying what he wanted to say.

Again, I looked at the bodies piled on the road ahead. I looked with pity. "They didn't deserve this..."

Our small talk continued with a gruff chuckle.
"Thay didn't, eh?" Darien looked up at me, his eyes always sharp. Piercing and deep. "But think about it, kid. Maybe these peasants had sons. Strapping young boys...about your age. Taken into the army to fight this stupid war. Taken to fight and die in it."

I looked at him, offended. He returned my look with a grin. " yourself, they'll win a couple of battles. Invade their enemy's territory, and do the exact same thing we've done. Kill people."

In a way, Darien seemed right. He'd always sound right no matter what you'd argue with him.

                  This war we were fighting in...had been going on for fifty years. And in all of the eighteen years I've lived in it, I always heard reports about our country's small villages being attacked and plundered by the enemy.

They never did leave any survivors. And I was fortunate to know why my family moved from place to place throughout most of my life otherwise I'd have made friends. Friends who'd never remember me if I was killed before this war would end.
"They still didn't deserve this." I shook my head, looking at the bodies. I remembered dragging out the bodies of young men barely older than me and adding them into that pile. It was even more sickening to have carried the children in the bloody states they were in.

I even saw a young mother, still holding her child of only several months. My legs wobbled so badly, I sank to the ground and sat there plagued by the memories.
"...Enemy or not. I don't think this is for the good of our side." My arguement was weak, and Darien was smart. And in spite, I took out my gun, pointing it at the mound of carcasses. "What pride is there in murder?!"

My superior didn't answer me quickly. Instead he took out a cigarette, lit it and puffed out the smoke into the cold night air. A breeze came by and drifted the smell of tabbacco my way. I held my breath and let it pass.
"There's a lot of pride in it, kiddo." he sighed again, the smoke rising towards the sky. Up in the heavens, the stars twinkled brightly, as though the wickedness of the world could never reach them. I never noticed that in the light of the moon, Darien was sullen and worn. "This war will never end. You know it. I know it. And both sides will never stop killing until one side is gone for good." I watched the cig burn to ash in his hands. "...It's scary if you think about it. You see...if we let these people, who live on the opposite side, live to have more sons...once those kids reach your age, they'll join in on the killing."

Another cloud of smoke floated my way. But this time I breathed it in as Darien continued. "You and me? We'd be outnumbered by the lot and killed like the dogs we are. So that's why we need to kill them first for the good of our people."

"You said if." I countered, finding the flaw in his theory. "Sometimes 'if' doesn't happen. This war may go on but I believe there are places where people can live in peace. Without killings or pride..." I stared at the moon. "...Or two sides."

Darien laughed. "That's stupid." The cigarette died and my superior flicked it away. "I like that you've got a dreamer's vision, kid...but so long as people on both sides fear each other, they'll never stop killing each other." His eyes were on me now, deep and blue. I didn't turn away from it.

"Earlier today, when we started invading this village, one of those young boys hit you with a pitchfork." He pointed at the bandage wrapped around my head. I remembered because I killed him...
But it was an accident.

"See?" Darien grinned as if he proved a point. "They knew who we were and they didn't hesitate to try and kill us."

"That doesn't prove anything."

"Yes. Yes, it does." A dark cloud went in front of the moon, veiling the village in black once again. I felt my heart skip. "Our generation only knows fear. The East and West will never end their differences. And God is probably the only person to know why. So we kill, and kill, and kill each other without remorse because we want our people to live in peace..." Darien chose this moment to stand now so he could look down on me. I cast my eyes away, refusing to listen. But I had two ears. Bombs haven't made me deaf yet. "But in order to have peace. We need to kill. That's the price we take for peace, kiddo. Lives. And's the price we pay for it."

I heard the sound of gravel in the dark, and I noticed Darien's outline heading back into the small house. "Remember that."

The clouds cleared, and the moon illuminated the area as I looked around. I saw how much of a ghost town one village can become after one raid. I saw how many people we had to kill, just to ensure the safety of the East.

And lastly, I saw the bodies we piled high and more, just so we could live. No one can find peace in a world like this. Darien was right about that. War and soldiers. Battles and deaths...

Where was the peace?
In agony at the questions that returned to me, I threw myself face down to the grown and sobbed. The footsteps that were leaving me stopped and I heard Darien's voice call out to me. "Kid. It's getting cold out. The Captain's calling you in."

But I wasn't listening to him, even as the chilling touch of the autumn night grasped me. For...reflecting the gentle moon's light from it's hard steel coating, the First Seargent's gun shimmered. It had fallen out of my holster.

Although...there was a reason why the old seargent offered the gun to me before I left on this mission. And I remembered his words.

Peace, be with you, Aaron Taylor.

I stared, numb, as I picked up the cold heavy piece. There were still bulets left in them, and the side of my mouth twitched into a bare smile. I wasn't crazed.


Darien's voice sounded far away as I weighed the small pistol in my hand. My best hand was my right, and I clicked the lock back with it...and slowly brought the gun up to my temple.

The gun was warm in my hand now. And inside, I felt the exact same way.

I felt...peaceful.


The moment froze and I looked up at the sky, smiling, because I had found at least one way to have peace.

I pulled the trigger, and a shot rang out into the endless reaches of the dark. The night was cold...but the gun was warm and cozy in my hand...

My choice wasn't right. It wasn't wrong either.

And a war torn world like matter what choices we make, one way or another, this will always be...the price we pay....
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Miss Nile

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Re: The Price We Pay
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2010, 06:16:37 PM »
Aww I loved this. Pretty sad but so true. War brings only wars and it never ends, for the most trivial reasons.

The most thing I loved about it is that you really describe well yet not too much. And you can get the reader right into the place. ^^ Good job!

Kracken Kitty

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Re: The Price We Pay
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2010, 10:11:40 PM »
Thanks, Luv. ^^; It is hard to understand why people never stop fighting each other even when it gets so extreme, so writing this made me think a lot. I'm glad I was able to keep the story balanced, though I thought I tilted a little at the end. Eheh. thanks for the comment! ;3
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