This is a test
By Mike Raab
War, war never changes.
Seems we’ve been in these trenches forever, I never thought I’d fall asleep with gunfire erupting around me but it’s just as normal as sleeping to the sound of birds now.
I hope to go home one day and not lose my life for the cause I signed up for, but I definitely will if needed.
My troops are running out of food.
The Sgt. of my battalion sent me and 3 other soldiers with bags to go search a nearby town for anything that might be of use to us.
We were to depart at 5:00 AM to embark on the 8 mile journey to the closest town available, the weather was humid and wet.
We leave out of our foxhole out to the war ridden mud covered battlefield, running to the woods with our weapons and supplies.
As we venture through the woods, I feel nothing but soreness and an empty stomach.
I don’t think either side is doing well right now.
We’ve both taken heavy casualties and are in equally bad conditions. It feels as if I’m not here, just pushing my body till it slows down and runs out of gas, but nevertheless I continue.
We have reached the town, Macbeth.
It doesn’t look too inspiring, many buildings are destroyed by gunfire and bombs but at least it seems empty.
It’s been about 3 hours of searching through houses and we have found is 2 cans of soup, one soap bar and a loaf of bread. We were about to give up when we noticed the door to an underground cellar.
It was under a destroyed house and had a padlock, we shot it and proceeded in.
Inside it was pitch black and dusty, we couldn’t see anything. I pulled some matches out of my bag and asked Mark to hand me his lantern, before I could light it I heard a cough from within the cellar.
I fumble with the matches due to the unexpectedness of the cough and my comrades raise their weapons up and yell “IDENTIFY YOURSELF, WE WILL SHOOT!”
Finally I light the lantern successfully to see what looks like an older man, long white beard, held down by the legs by one of the house’s support beams.
He says in a soft, weak voice “Stop, I cannot hurt you, please.”
We rush around the man to see he is wearing the uniform of our opposition, now I see why he brung up not being able to hurt us.
“Shoot him” says one of the soldiers and as another lifts his rifle to end his life i smack it down and tell him to wait. We have found next to nothing, maybe this man can give us useful information.
“I am not on any side, this war is frivolous and I will no longer take part in it” said the man.
He tells about how his group were sent to this town in 3 different squadrons at different points and that mid fire our side were obviously winning and that the remaining soldiers left him and his squadron for dead, as they were on the front line and that he was the last one.
I tell him we came looking for food and that if he knows about any supplies stashes that we would help him and even get him treated for cooperation.
“Nonsense, my minutes are numbered, I’m bleeding and I could not even take one step if I wanted to. And by the looks of yall, whoever carrying me will pass out from exhaustion.”
“I’ve made my peace, and as a matter of fact I might be able to help you.”
Slowly he raises arm, shaking, to point at a wardrobe “Behind that.”
I stayed with him as the 3 other soldiers practically sprint to the wardrobe and throw it to the side together. Inside was a dark room we could not see, but I heard one of them flick a switch to see a light come on in the doorway.
“ SIR, there’s medical supplies, clothes and food, he wasn’t lying!”
“Water in the crate in the corner too…” said the old man.
“Why are you helping us, we are your enemy and are the reason you are in the situation you are in right now, why?”
“Again, I see there are no right sides of this war, and we equally think we are right for our own reasons, violence and fighting is not the way to solve our problems, it makes more.”
“Why would I not help another hurt soul in the same predicament as me.”
Holding back tears, I thank the man and so does the rest of my team.
“We and many others owe you our lives, you will not be forgotten and I will spread your message.”
“I don’t care, we can help you, we’re going to get you out of here.”
“Sir?…. Sir.” *shakes shoulder*
The man didn’t move, I felt for his pulse, for longer than I knew I should have, he was gone.
Me and my team owe our lives to this man and if I make it out, I will make sure the whole world knows his message and what he did.
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