Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta army. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta army. Mostrar todas las entradas

miércoles, 28 de septiembre de 2016

Facts of war

   The bombs had suddenly stopped dropping from the sky. There was an awful, eerie silence that occupied everywhere that still stood, which wasn’t much. Most of the city was now ruins, a bunch of unrecognizable rubble where people had lived and tried to have good lives and happy days. But that had ended some time ago, when the war started and things went rapidly downhill for everyone in every corner of the globe. It had happened so fast that no one really knew how to explain it or understand it. It was just chaos in it’s simplest form.

 Before bombs started dropping, people thought it would never come to that. They innocently thought that the war would be fought in empty, far away spaces, where no one would ever get hurt and where countries could argue for long periods of time without really affecting the civilian population. Those who thought that had visibly no idea of what war was really like and how it had destroyed and devastated the world once and again in the past. How cities had been leveled down by fire and force and how the strong ones didn’t really care who they hit and how.

 The morning before the bombs dropped on the city, people were already getting a bit nervous but not nearly as nervous as they should’ve been. They had all heard about the rumors that new airplanes that could fly without being detected could be sent in any moment to attack. But the frontline of the war was so far way that people simply didn’t buy that theory. They claimed that some people were being alarmists in order to get some sort of advantage in the war. They decided to deny any possibility of war coming to them. It was their undoing.

 Most of the people in the city died right then, that morning when the sun was just coming up and then, out of nowhere, the first bomb was dropped in the city. It is strange to say it, but the enemy had the so-called kindness to drop a single bomb on an industrial part of the city first in order for people to be able to run to the nearest shelters or to get safe in any way possible. It was a kind of warning shot. Most people ignored it and that’s why the amount of survivors, on the days following the decimation of the city, was so low.

 The few people that survived did recognize the signs of what had happened and ran to the underground parking lots and places similar to those. There were no shelters because they had chosen not to get ready for a war that was real, even if it was far from their homes. Most survivors had to be dug out from under the rubble because they had been underground by chance. Almost no one had actually run down from their home to protect themselves. They really didn’t believe anything could happen to them, as if they were special in some way.

 But they were not. The city was not treated any differently than any other city before or after that. The enemy had a clear objective and new exactly how to hit a target in order to have maximal damage and be able to withdraw fast if the attacked nation reacted efficiently. This was almost never the case as they always destroyed military bases and other potential points of defense in order to be able to do whatever they wanted. The rules of war were clear to them.

 Exactly two day after the bombing started, the bombers retired and went back home. They had done their job and the ground army was already advancing fast, taking advantage of the new position they had taken. It was a very dared strategy but it had worked perfectly for them. When the army arrived, they helped the survivors out of the rubble and they put them in special camps to be held as prisoners of war. No one was mistreated in any way and that made the whole experience a little bit worse. People couldn’t properly hate them if they were suddenly kind to them.

 Of course, they had been the ones that destroyed their city and probably killed many members of their families and friends. But the treatment in the detention center was not the one of a concentration camp or anything like it. It was exactly as if the hundreds of survivors had been taken to a five-star hotel to be locked down as prisoners. It was a very odd thing to experience and most people had no idea what to feel, what to say to the guards and how to react to anything. However, it was clear who had won and who had lost that battle.

 Many other camps like that one appeared in the region, as the enemy’s army advances through the continent. They had a pretty successful year but then, at the end of it, the expansion stopped. The invaded nations were responding but only with skirmishes and guerrilla warfare. The fact that winter had come was an important factor in them being successful and the enemy deciding that the advance of their troops could hold for a while as they decided a new course of action that would end the war in the favor, once and for all.

 The winter was unusually long and harsh. Snow covered the ruins of many cities and prisoners in camps realized that their situation was harder than they realized. Even though they had a goo reason to feel good about being in a warm place during the violent snowstorms, they realized that they were prisoners because of they weren’t they would be out there, standing in the storm with a weapon, defending their countries and their right to exist. Not all of them thought the same but a general feeling of sadness and confusion could be felt among the prisoners.

 When the winter ended, people assumed the enemy would resume expansion and the war would be over in months. But that didn’t happen. Pockets of resistance had appeared during the summer and they turned stronger once the weather got better. No matter their big guns and strategies, the enemy’s army couldn’t taken them all down as they wanted to. They had to be smart about it and realized that their plan for expansion had problems from the beginning, as they had never thought people could resist them.

 That entire year, the Resistance movement, which spanned several countries with different languages and cultures, was able to have some small victories over the enemy. They robbed some weapons or transports; they temporally blocked their advance or just annoyed them when trying to do anything. It was a very tense year and it was the turning point for everything or at least for most things. Prisoners were still in the camps and the destroyed cities remained on the ground. That hadn’t and wouldn’t change in a long while.

 The following winter, the enemy decided the offensive was taking too long so they did something that no one expected them to do: they reached out to the Resistance and proposed they negotiate a deal to end the war. Of course, the people that had been massacred and persecuted were not very keen on accepting anything that came from the invader. Most people called the move a trap and felt that it was a new strategy by their enemy to exterminate any opposition to their plans for the whole world. They didn’t trust them at all, they couldn’t.

 However, they finally sent a group to discuss what the ideas were for the ending of the conflict. The war had lasted for too long and it was worth the shot to at least know what they could potentially do to end the fighting. The group that met with the enemy was very nervous about everything but the others tended to tend as if they were allies. They gave them a great dinner and told them that they wouldn’t return any of the occupied lands but tht they could liberate some territory for people to leave in what could be called the Free Cities.


Those cities would have access to sea and rivers, would controlled by Resistance but an Occupation Board would oversee anything to do with the cities and their development. They would basically be free but with a few limitations. The group went back to the rest of the rebels with the proposal and, it had to be said, they discussed thoroughly for many days. It was very hard to discuss what was right or what was wrong because any measure is good to end death. But at what cost should that be done? The decision didn’t make everyone happy, that’s for sure.

sábado, 27 de agosto de 2016

Ravaged coastline

   As he climbed the staircase towards the top, the storm outside raged even stronger than before. The lighthouse’s walls seemed to shake at the sound of thunder. When he reached the top, he realized the machine that operated the lighthouse was still working despite of their best effort. Fast as he could, he grabbed something from his backpack and stuck it against the control panel that was lit with a variety of colors.

 Outside, the storm seemed to be getting worse every second. The waves were hitting the coast hard, as if nature was intentionally trying to bring the lighthouse down. But working with erosion would take too long so that’s why Miller volunteered to go to the top of the lighthouse and plant a bomb to destroy it from inside it. On the ocean, there was a sound louder than the one of the thunder: two ships seemed to be attacking positions in the ground and they did it all thanks to the help of the lighthouse.

 Once the bomb was planted, Miller ran out of the building, into the storm. From a certain distance, he saw how the lighthouse collapsed into itself. The sound of the explosion wasn’t really that strong because of all the scandal the storm was causing but what mattered was that the mission had been accomplished. Miller ran down the hill towards the beach, were the forces of his country were supposed to be. He didn’t find them there and he was afraid something bad had happened.

 Fortunately, he found their camp still set up where it had been that morning. Only a few tents remain though, because of the storm. The soldiers there said the attack from the ocean had been way too strong and that, even with the lighthouse out of their way, the enemy had known where to attack and how. So most of the army had moved south and, apparently, so did the battle.

 Miller had an obligation with his people, to defend his land until his death but he was very tired from running from one place to the other so he decided to have some rest with those wounded soldiers and wait for good news from all the battalions fighting the enemy. There was no food there, which was a shame, but one of the soldiers had a small flask with a very strong alcohol. Although forbidden, it helped Miller be aware until he fell asleep just before sunrise.

 He only slept a few hours. The storm had finally stopped or almost stopped as it was still raining after all.  He decided to grab one of the transports that hadn’t been destroyed and follow the army down the path. The vehicle had four wheels but seemed like one of those cars you use at the beach or somewhere where war is not an issue. It had no doors, no real protection but it had to be enough.

 As he travelled south, Miller was not very happy about what he saw. Because he saw nothing. There weren’t any bodies on the beach, or coming form the sea. He tried to get to high ground but there was nothing to see on the ocean. No big ship destroyed or trying to attack anyone or anything. The ocean was deprived of any life forms, at least on the surface. And the beaches were the same. Even tracks of other vehicles were difficult to find. Miller would only find the occasional boot print every so often.

 The first day following his army was a waste. Miller only stopped driving at night, when he stumbled upon a former fisherman’s village that had been abandoned by its inhabitants. The most likely scenario was that they had left the town because of the impending attacks of the enemy on the coast. Those people that had lived of the ocean for so long, now had to move to the far away from it, leaving everything they had known and loved behind. It must have been very hard for them.

 Miller left his vehicle next to a house that had clearly been attacked but was still standing after it all. He walked around as clouds in the night sky moved and revealed the full moon. The white light from it helped Miller look for anything he could use such as a small tank of gasoline and some bullets for his handgun. There were also nets and fishing rods but he left them there, as he wouldn’t have time to do anything with them.

 He slept inside the abandoned house that night. Nature or man had removed part of the roof, so the light of the moon illuminated his room. It was filled with sand and smelled a lot like fish. However, he slept in an actual bed that he tried to clean up the best he could. It was very strange to feel such a soft matters and the sheets really smelled like fabric softener, after such a long time of having been abandoned there.

The next day, he charged the gasoline tank of his vehicle and moved on with his search. It was until the afternoon, several kilometers from the fisherman’s village, where finally found the bodies of some soldiers. Unfortunately, they were not only dead but they seemed to have been scorched alive. Their bones were practically pieces of coal, forming strange angles by the ocean.

 It looks as if they were two soldiers or maybe they weren’t even soldiers. It was difficult to tell as the clothes had burned too. Something bad had happened there anyway and even if it didn’t have anything to do with the fighting, it was worth taking note. Maybe the people were going crazier than anyone had anticipated.

 A huge explosion was then heard just beyond some sand dunes. Miller left the vehicle behind and run up the dunes in order to see what had happened. A column of smoke could be seen easily as his feet sunk into the sand, trying to run as fast as he could in a place were running was not very practical. When he got to the tip of the dunes, he saw something horrible. It was the army, his army. They were all dead. Their bodies covered the stretch of sand between the beach and the tree line. There didn’t seem to be a single spot without a dead body.

 The smoke was coming out of some sort of gun near the center of the agglomeration of bodies. It was artillery and was pointed towards the ocean. Miller tried to look for anything there to indicate what had killed all of those men and women but there was nothing. The weapon had maybe overloaded and that’s why it had exploded. It meant that Miller had missed his peers for a very short time, maybe even only hours.

 It was awful to see all of those familiar faces rotting under the soft rain and the pale sunlight that filtered through the very thick clouds. He didn’t know what to do with them. Leaving them there would not be according to their code but burning each corpse would take him forever. And then, there was the gun. He decided to walk among the bodies, towards the weapon, in order to check if any information could be saved from its intelligent software.

 He tried not to step on any hands or legs but it was very difficult. He tried to look forward instead of downwards. For a moment, tears began pouring out of his eyes. It was just too much for him. After all, he was just a young guy that no many months ago had ben trying to turn his life around after been a thief for all of his life. He had tried to learn a trade and be good at it and then the war happened and now he was stepping on bodies.

 When he reached the artillery post, he sat on the chair of the gun and clicked some letters. The machine was still working. The shooting capabilities were out of order but he could check what they were firing at moments ago. An image appeared on the small screen and he had to get closer to see it fully. When his eyes focused, he thought he was looking at the worn image or maybe he had done something wrong.


 But the image was not the wrong one. Understanding the danger he was in, he ran stepping on every body towards the dunes and reaching his vehicle fast. He had to leave for the inland, where the inhabited cities were, in order to tell them what he had seen. They wouldn’t believe him but he had to tell them that a monster was out there. Maybe it was the enemies, or maybe not, but it seemed to have come straight from hell. As he drove, he checked his mirrors every few seconds, afraid of the ocean.

miércoles, 17 de febrero de 2016

Ghosts of war

   Paul pulled the potato plant and some dirt feel into the ground, with a beautiful soft noise. The potatoes had grown decently big and so had the rest of the food he had grown in the back garden. From there, he could not see anyone else, only the shadow formed by the house and the hills that created several ups and downs that got to the sea itself. But the sea was very far and in this inland territory only the cold wind that remained from the past winter swept the land, as if washing away any impurities in this world.

 He pulled a basket, put the potatoes inside with other fresh products, and took it inside the house. There he washed them carefully, cut off the parts that didn’t have any use and then started cooking. Adam got there just in time with meat from the market on the other side of the valley. He seemed tired so Paul told him to sit down and relax as he finished preparing dinner. Outside, the sun had already left the sky and the night was dark and silent except for the snoring of Adam who had fallen asleep in the couch.

 Paul wasn’t in a hurry with dinner, especially because he had to prepare everything enough time to kill all the bacteria and because the meat was thick and took some time to cook. When he was finally done, Paul went to Adam and softly kissed his forehead. As if it had happened in a fairy tale, Adam opened his eyes and smiled because of the kiss and because of the fabulous smell invading the small house.

 They sat down to eat some delicious steamed vegetables with thick slices of fried meat and a side of mash potatoes that tasted different from the one they had known in their childhood but it was still good. As he always did, Adam grabbed one of Paul’s hands, his left one, and kept on eating like that all night. It was something he had started doing when they first moved there and it was just a way to ensure they would never be separated. Adam was extremely serious about it and once they had a fight over that, because Paul had told him that he couldn’t eat properly like that. That night, they didn’t sleep together.

 But this time it was different. When dinner was done, Adam helped Paul wash the dishes and went to bed at the same time. They took off their clothes; each one tired of their day, and just hugged to sleep. But differently than all other nights, a horrible sound woke them up in the middle of the night. It was a sound coming from a machine and there were not many machines in this region. They felt the ground shake, which was what woke them up, and the horrible sound of a plane going over the valley. They had heard planes before but this one different, much worse, as if the plane was a horrible beast of some kind. They held each other after the sound had finished, thinking of what it could mean.

 The next day in town, Adam talked to many villagers and even to some fisherman that travelled daily to the coast and the port to sell their products. Apparently most people had heard the same thing and everyone had been awaken by it.  The first thing they said was that the country was neutral, at least officially, and that they didn’t allow one of the factions to use their territory to do nothing. So either the plane came all the way from one of the continents or their government had just betrayed the neutrality that had been their main characteristic for so long.

 The truth was that no one really saw where the plane came from or where did it go but it was flying really low. The following days some more things happened: many witnesses saw red lights, balls of fire, over the ocean but very far at the same time. It was like a weird light show and there was a sound with it but because of he distance it was hard to say what it was. Then some farmers found tank tracks in their fields but they had never heard any of them passing around. Actually, the army didn’t even have tanks or planes or anything.

 Adam decided they should keep living their normal lives, not minding a lot about these events. Or at least that’s what he told Paul. But at nights he would often wake up sweating from nightmares involving tortures and lights like the ones over the ocean and Paul would ask what was wrong and Adam wouldn’t say. They fought over it a couple of times but mostly they just held each other and tried to be supportive and close, because anything could happen.

 The explanation to everything was written in pieces of paper that had been distributed all over the country. Their nation had accepted the use of several bases by one of the factions and they would use the country to fight a battle against the other faction, to finally crush them for good. Their land would not be caught under fire, only been use as a previous layover for every plane, boat and other war vehicle, even tanks that did target practice in a wasteland north of the valley. That explained the explosions many people had heard.

  So the war had never ended and it was apparently on an important stage, on a decisive point that made even change the face of the world. This secretly excited Adam because even after so many years away from the fight, he was still eager to fight for what he believed and for what he had done so much so many years ago. But Paul just didn’t address the subject. The only thing he said was that if they all wanted to keep on killing themselves, it was fine by him but he didn’t wanted nothing to do with any of that. He didn’t want the war to come to the village and that was it.

 Adam didn’t told Paul but he started to have meetings with many people from the region and they were already discussing if they should also join the fight and how would they do it and why. They had the tremendous chance that the authorities were so busy these days that a meeting in a farm wasn’t important enough for them to attend and tear apart. They would have done it but now the government was using all the resources it had to make their “guests” feel at home. Everyone knew the situation was a disguised invasion and that their country had kneeled without even the chance of fighting.

 Paul kept to himself. He started concentrating only in his garden and in fishing in the lake nearby and doing all these things to make his home the best part of the world. He would share with some villagers his discoveries about how diets could be better so to keep everyone strong during the winter and during the summer too. And what he started to do was to take long walks, always when Adam was about to come back from his meeting in town. He knew he would want to tell someone about it and he just didn’t want to hear about it. He’d rather have their neighbors or their dog help Adam with that.

 Their relationship became very tense and that was very strange for both of them as they had never been in such tension. They had been living together for over three years now, year in which they had build a home together and had found the other to be that person they wanted in their lives forever. They had been through hell and back to get to that valley and have everything that they enjoyed in their daily lives. They had fought together and suffered together and now it was supposed to be a time of peace for them, even if the world was falling apart.

 But the sense of responsibility in Adam was too strong. So one day he followed Paul to the lake, where he went to take a walk and get away from everything, and tried to talk to him. He told Paul, almost yelling, that he needed to go back to the fight because he felt he had to finish what he started, he had to make the west faction pay for what they had done back home, for what they had allowed to happen to them and to the world. They were destroying everything everyone held dear and the world would never be the same if someone didn’t stop them.

 Paul answered that he didn’t wanted the world to go back to what it was. He didn’t want the past because he hated it. He reminded Adam than in that glorious past they would have been hanged if they dared to live together, in that past people were also deprived of everything and lacked so much. Fighting for revenge wouldn’t change anything, no matter who won or how they won. Everything was always going to be the same, war or not.


 For a whole week they didn’t talk to each other and Adam even chose to sleep in the couch. But they loved each other. They couldn’t do that for long because it tore them apart slowly. The war raged on and they were trapped in the middle of the fire, not knowing what to do or where to go.

martes, 24 de febrero de 2015

I Don't Want to Kill

   I had twisted my ankle when running, just after killing my first target on this campaign. Of course, I knew I was going to have to kill but it had caught me by surprise. Well, to be precise, she had caught me by surprise. I had been trying to put my weapon in the right configuration for shooting long range but then she appeared and raised her weapon. The look on her face was the one of a crazy person, her eyes all swollen and her hair a little bit everywhere, as if the madness had given it free reign over the head.

 Scared as I got, I shot her without even thinking. I just pressed the trigger and she fell dead in front of me, her madness flying away from her body, every limb just collapsing on its on weight. I didn’t stay behind to check on her, although I would have wanted too. Somehow, I thought she wasn’t really dead, just trying to fool me or maybe injured. But I never knew as I ran away from the fire that came from down the hill.

 My mission consisted in setting a vantage point on the top of the hill and start acting as a sniper from there. Others should then join me and we could stop the whole battalion before it reached the near port city. If the enemy took that part, we would be destroyed for sure. That port was our hope to launch a proper invasion to our enemy’s strongholds across the ocean. But first we had to destroy what battalions they had left behind after our consecutive attacks on their military.

 I had not been raised as a military. To be honest, I didn’t know what I was doing half of the time. But there were people there that assured me they needed my help and that they would be there to guide me through the whole process. Well, that was true up to that moment in the hill. So I just ran for the top and, once I was there, I settled myself by some thick bushes. This time, I was able to get the configuration of my very modern weapon right. I took a position there and took a look through the visor.

 Down the hill, it seemed as we were winning. I could see the general destroying a tank by himself and a group of soldiers attacking a group of enemies. There, I realized how awful this all was: blood and the stench of death everywhere. It really smelled like scorched meat and I knew I didn’t want to know where that came from. The sound of shooting that had followed me for a while was now very distant and a thought presented itself to me: will they need me?

 What if they defeat the enemy without my help? Maybe I won’t have to kill again… I mean, if that girl was dead. Because if she wasn’t… But how would she be alive. My gun was so close to her and I was sure the bullet had pierced through her chest and she had collapsed to the ground. My God, is this was people have to go through? I never wanted any of this. Any death and blood on my hands… But it’s too late.

 An explosion drove me out of my thoughts. One of our airplanes had exploded very high in the sky and the pieces were falling heavy on the battleground. Maybe we were winning the ground battle but it appeared they had the upper hand in the aerial part of this confrontation. I guess this is my time to come in and help.

I started shooting and, it has to be said, I was very good. One shot and they fell dead and my companions had noticed because they were able to pierce even more into our enemies flank in order to take their antiaircraft vehicles. I lost count of how many people fell because of me, how much blood I was accumulating on my hands. At one point, I started to cry because I couldn’t stop and I could see nothing but the dead falling at my hands.

 Then I realized everything was about to finish. The army had penetrated the flanks and was destroying everything and using their vehicles to take down their own planes. It was something awful to see but even more horrible was the fact that many of the men that had helped me with my training, seemed to be enjoying all of this. They were corpses and blood everywhere, but some of them were already celebrating, laughing and doing victory dances.

 Disgust ran through my veins. I wanted to vomit right there, which I did, just as the last few airplanes our enemy had began to retreat. The disappeared fast and then my radio began to beep but I didn’t acknowledge the sound. I just grabbed my weapon and threw it down the cliff on which I had been kneeling. After that, I just walked down the hill, ready to die from a mysterious bullet if it came to that.

 In a matter of minutes I was joining the rest of the army but I didn’t want to be with them or with anyone else. I was disgusted by me, by them, by everything. This could not be the only way things could be solved. It was impossible that the only way we had to make ourselves be heard was to kill each other and, worse, enjoying it.

 I have to say I was a bit relieved when I saw that many other men seemed to be thinking the same as me. Besides, the stench of the battlefield couldn’t be ignored. After all, this was a warm region and bugs were already having a feast with the rotting corpses lying everywhere. I wanted to close my eyes until I reached the camp but that was impossible. Not only because of the terrain and the distance but because when I closed my eyes, I kept seeing her dying in front of me.

 The number of corpses began to decrease and I knew we were about to enter friendly territory. By then, I had already made up my mind: I was going to leave the army and find another way to help the people. I had entered this war because of the injustice and cruelty the enemy had brought upon us but I knew we couldn’t respond their brutality with even more brutal and sanguinary acts.

 When we finally got to camp, I walked straight to my bunk. I grabbed a small bag and put my few belongings there. I also took of my clothes and change into a plain green shirt and jeans, which hadn’t been washed in some time. The whole time I was there, the radio kept beeping.  I left without talking or even staring at anyone, headed for the command center. As I expect, the general was there. He seemed unharmed. He asked me why I hadn’t answer to his calls. I only took out my radio from my chest pocket and gave the radio to him.

-       I won’t need it anymore.

 He took it but didn’t stop looking at me, confused first and then angry. He asked me what that meant and I explained I couldn’t kill. I couldn’t live my life enjoying the death of others, even if they had done so many things to me that I’d rather not remember. The general proceed to threaten me to be court martialed but I reminded him I wasn’t a military but a civilian in military garments. I told him I had left them in my bunk except for the boots, which I needed because I had no shoes to wear.

 Before he could say anything else, I left the place. Many soldiers stared at me while I walked towards the main gate: some of them with defiance in their eyes, some of them just scared to death. Maybe their reaction was because they couldn’t do that. Almost all of them had entered the military, they weren’t civilians like me that had been tricked into thinking they could help a hopeless race.

 No, most of them knew what they had singed up for. And they didn’t mind. Eventually, they would all become killing machines, the ones the rebellion needed to destroy the enemy forever, without any possibility of retaliation from their part. But that was impossible; someone is always going to want revenge, for one thing or the other, in one way or the other.


 Real peace is impossible with such resentment, such hatred based on ignorance, which is by far the largest and most effective weapon armies and governments have at their hands. I know that the enemies didn’t want to torture me as they did. They were brainwashed to do so, as I was to think that by killing others I would feel better or happy. I won’t, never. Because only cowards shoot first, and doubt later.