Wake of War

Drums beat the pace as we stomp our boots, slowly closing in to the border with Konia, a city in war with Gratna. Zarian ambassadors were in the royal Konian palace, debating the peace treaty with the ruler of Konia. They wanted to end the war before Ildocians get involved and total chaos ensues over the steel made peaks of the Konian homes. Out there, in the tops covered with mist, snow, ice… The cold awaited us. Our generals had plans to draw fight to us, instead of chasing the hill regiments and connect with guerilla style fighting. Passions were rising every day, until our king decided to send a big portion of men to aid Gratnians. Konia had a lot of reasons to avoid our presence, and keep the war down low with the Gratnians. Tones of silver we took from them, and Gratnians invaded their Eternal mountains, a stone territory of Konians. War ragged for a few months with no winners, so we were summoned to give the upper hand in the fights.

After this marshy plain, we were about to step in the icy Konian turf, where death lurked at every hill side, at every unmountable edge, at every cusp submerged in cloudy mist. Landscape appeared abandoned and naked, with few darken dead trees, yellow grass and white crust over the ponds which crawled the uneven terrain. An odd chill went through my spine, made my fingers dance and hot steam to exit the mouth, but the march was on.

– Aees von suuur! – yell broke in the beat of drums and the army have stopped.

Silence stilled our breaths as time passed in waiting. Drums ended their barrage when a flock of crows flew above us.

– A good sign. – I thought, – It is always good to see crows.

I got relieved for a moment, thinking that we just might turn around and head home. A cavalry detachment broke off from the majority and dispersed in a weak spacious line. They rode two miles front and back. General was setting up a mobile camp, pulled out the map and placed ink over it, then he rolled it in and gave command to return home.

It felt odd and ecstatic in the same time. I was happy for not going up there, getting my nerves split out by night raids, ghosts in the mist and sudden attacks… However, the strange feeling pulled me to concern.

– Why leaving now? Is the treaty signed or not? Are we still in war, or just tactically taking the positions for the fast Konian attacks? – I asked myself slowly picking up the pace of the moving army, then I turned around and swinged my look over the shoulder.

Crows were flying in circle, falling to the ground like hunting. One of those black creatures opened its beak and startled me. The nasty bird had blood oozing from its black mouth. Barely visible specters blackened the pale air around the hill, mountain and steep edges behind us, waving their spears in relaxed position while looking us gaining distance. Grey mounds knocked the rocks from under them, presenting the pale skin of the Konian mountain elite archers. They were too many for us to handle. I was frightened for my life and yet I felt blessed by the Aramon for he has spared me. I was to live.

Two days in march home, a friend told us a rumor he heard from the cavalryman. He made sure we know from what we pulled away. The marshy plain had no ponds until that day, and it was covered in a forest of dead trees. Catapult projectiles flatted out that terrain and the arrows hurled to put the Gratnian army to grass. Plain slowly swallowed the corpses and heavy rocks, masking the atrocities that happened there.

 Relieved

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Circles

I stepped in the ruins of the round building, running from the bullets that followed me like a vengance. Crippled walls witnessed the horrible event that fell on them as humble priests mourning over burial. Truck load of bricks hardened my escape where bullets picked up the cement dust and threw it all in the air. Few craters on the structure indicated artillery from our engines, undoubtedly known to me by the scorched rippled edges and sharp shrapnels jammed in the wooden pillars. This must be some sort of palace or something.

– He went in there! – someone yelled and stomp of boots broke over the road.

I passed two doors not looking the corners for enemy soldiers and kicked the third door where the wood on them whistled. A sweet smell instantly greeted me in a cloud. It was a familiar smell, the one I liked the most. These ruins hid the beautiful secret colored in many shades of green and white. A cherry tree was yet blooming, salting the air with white petals like snow in May. The center had the huge pond with small rocky parts pretending to be a path to the other side. I ran across that water and took cover behind an old crate. Cherry tree embraced the incoming wind and let go of the tiny blossoms that flew in a circle, slowly rising and coming down. I looked at that enchanted by the smell and the white whirlpool which was petting the ruined walls. Wind was coming from the side, that’s why this was possible to happen. I understood the physics behind this event, but I was still caught by the moment.

– Fire! – I heard it in the distance, when piercing screams of grenades started to dig through the wild backyard, violently rearranging the terrain, breaking the iron suspension beams, plunging rocks into the walls, turning the green plains into the ugly holes, splashing water over the ruins where everything turned muddy and then it all stopped.

It was a short pause in this Hell we were stuck in, and I decided to use every moment of it. Soon the drones will come here and the robots that wanted me dead. Their controllers are not far behind, they saw me entering here. Specter passed the grey cloud where white petals glued themselves for that creature. It was a woman, but not any woman, it was my daughter and she came here to take me home. A warm sensation overwhelmed me in a moment, turning raging face in a smiley one, but that warmth could’ve been the blood, running through the circled wound in my chest.

 Blossom

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General Kridock

Sun was up, shining on the meadows and grain plains where people have worked. Me, I was on the cart, riding next to an old men we knew as Kridock, General Kridock I should say. He was a strange silent man of long beard and sad eyes. Whenever he would look at me, I would recall of my late father that was serving him in war against Zaria. A long fur coat covered him and his broken boots. His hands showed the unspoken stories of fatigue and pain where scars deepen his back of the hand, outlining the fragile bones that once wielded blade.

We rode to one of the fields with bean-corn he planted to feed his family. Me and my brother agreed to help the old man, because his wife promised us few months of lunch. Soon he jumped from the cart like a young fellow, took the sicle, spit his tired hands and got to work.

– Though old man. – brother spoke with sparks in eyes.

– What did you expect? He was a general. He fought the Zarian Royal Mamluks and slayed the zarian auxiliary in one charge… Look at the crops. Like an army. – I pointed at the field where all of the plants lined up one after the other in almost unbelievable straight column.

The long trunks of the plant were solid with few leafs falling aside like small shields where thin weed around them played spears, and the bean-corn chacune looked like a short battle sword. All plants were like clones, the astonishing copy of the most developed, health plant, bravely staring at the deadly rays of the Sun.

– You must have done a lot of work here general to make these crops like this. – I said leaned on my side, observing the old man and his pride planted in dirt.

– Ay, I spent a lot of time with my boys. – he spoke without a turn and started to swing his sickle.

– Boys? You consider these plants your boys? – brother asked, then I elbowed his ribs and told them to shut up.

– Ay, I created them. They are mine… I created soldiers, men. I created war and doom upon our enemies and this crops will provide a feast for the men still marching the desert.

My brother and me just looked at each other when the brother gesticulated that the general might be mad. However, we had no interest in investigating that, so we silently fell to work beside him. The General’s eyes lit with every powerful swing of blade, teeth screeched, arms got more depicted with bulky veins and his face got covered in rage. My brother shook his head, watching the suffering of the old man, but me… I knew Kridocks torment. His action, precise and swift could mean only one thing. He was mowing down the Zarian infantry once again.

Sound of plant breaking, sickle running through the hollow trunks and rumbbing of the bean-corn didn’t sang the noise into the general’s ears, but instead of it, memory of Zarian dead soldiers cries played in his head as he imagined their tanned faces under his might.

 Create

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Thomas Hiram Hotchkiss (1834-1869), Harvest Scene, 1858, oil on canvas.

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Valuvian Satellites

It all went down so quickly I haven’t had time to warn the others. The green hills outside of Alodar rustled in a breeze where smell of mountain lilies joyfully played over my nose. Hollow castle of Valuvian king sang the royal song as the weak breeze grew stronger and passed the punctured walls that rose high into the mist. It’s black peak held the rare gem which glowed in the darkest night and shined so powerful that even a rainy day was moderately lit. Blue sky was decorated with seven Garmin moons, each one as twice away from the next one. They made a white line across the devine arch where only the rings of the third moon peeked behind its guardian. A strange bird flew in the distance, moving in unnatural way like some spirit took it, and then the stars came down, falling mad from the azure air like the rain. Bird developed smoke on the right wing when one of the stars touched it with it’s unbearable flames. I was in awe, gazing at this horrid creature moving so unexpectedly to the sides, evading the stars.

– You, the unknown beast with wings made of light! What have you done, so the Heavens got mad at you? – I asked the buzzing grey being which turned its wings inwards and headed towards the heights, – How rude of you not to answer! – I grunted and continued my way, when the Heavens boomed and the fire darkened the sky turning its end in blood red specter.

The hills felt a warm wind on its hairy skin when the colors of the Heavens mixed and spilled all over the blue plain. The holes appeared in the sky, presenting night sky when it wasn’t it’s time to be seen and then the hail of disfigured stars punctured more holes streaming to the ground. Every star that connected with the ground elevated a cloud of dirt, every cloud exploded in tremendous noise and every explosion shook the very ground, blowing the heated wind in my face.

It lasted for couple more moments, then I saw our Valuvian moons breaking, sending white dust into the dark night that sparkled like royal bugs in the forest shade. Sky thundered in volumes, coughing fire on our Kingdom. My knees fell down for a prayer, but the last ring of the castle bell said it last when the grey bird hit it and broke into two pieces. A mound of dust settled at the castle base where fire consumed our lively town of Alodar.

– Our creator Garmin. What have we done to make you so mad? Please forgive us our insolence! Please, kindly please, Ooo the ruler of all that has a hart! Save us. – I did all the polite moves of prayer, but the God haven’t spoke to me, nor the moons shifted to its initial form.

After all of it passed, black holes appeared in the ground occupied with scorched fields and burnt grass. Jolly flames danced out from the castle where distant screams called for help. The colors were still mixing in the Heavenly plain where holes in it revealed the stellar void.

 Puncture

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Galactic Bitch

Hallways blared in alarms and red lights called for the elite troops to report to their battle stations. I glided through the shaft, grabbed the sniper on my way up and slowly swimmed in the air towards the door. Small drones exited their post and started knitting the combat suit on me.

– Unit 64 A at the cargo bay, frame 32 is closed. – I said gently tapping the rifle that opened and moved to it’s deadly form.

– Get back here! Who gave you the orders to detach from your place?! You are going straight to the military tribunal, you insubordinate bitch!

– Please repeat! I am losing you! Shchchhhshhh…. I-I… ‘m lo’… ng you. – I giggled while turning off the radio and entering a war capsule.

Upon entering the small room, power lit the walls and controls gave a sound of operational readiness. A tap on the panel, made it soft and easy to move, almost like a playing thing made out of liquid material that was protecting me. Muzzle breached the watery field and scope tapered at the incoming sauser. It was a figterjet drone, shapeshifter class with a busted engine. It slowly rotated toward our ship like it was dead in the space, but I knew better. I knew it could be a trick, so my eyelash flapped and the breath went still. Enemy’s cockpit presented a sweat spot and the bullet flew following the tunnelvision of the scope. It didn’t moved in aggressive way, so next couple of bullets ranged on the same spot knocking on the shivering platings. Still no answer.

– Is it dead? – I asked in the radio that thundered in commander’s shouts, but soon the lieutenant stopped arguing and leaned on the window to inspect the floating object.

– It’s alive! – he screamed when the drone opened it’s wings and pushed out his weapons.

Smart bullet guided the barrage of rockets that destroyed the vessel in a ball of fire. A smile consumed my face when one of our battle cruisers passed over the drone debris  and sucked it in for analysis.

– You are a galactic bitch, you know that. – commander spoke somewhat satisfied with my actions.

– So, I’m not to be judged by a bunch of fat men in a smoky room? – giggling passed the radio.

– No, but we will have to talk in the morning if you don’t leave my bed like you did today.

We continued our voyage in the designated route, marked in the digital screen that tapered the nearby galaxy and Gliza Minor with a specter of enemy planets we were headed to bombard.

 Taper

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Writing with Music

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During the writing process I need a good beat. It motivates me to write fast and keep up the pace with the story. Since I tend to portray the combat scenes and “Blitzkrieg” attacks, break music of the 80′ and 90′ suits me the best. I also was raised in the 90′ so that brings me good memories and inspiration, since the 90′ period was written in blood in the Balkan region. It was common for me to fantasise about numerous young soldiers going to war, not knowing what war really is and so I tend to write about those stuff too. With the headphones on head and hope of returning home, describes the standard picture I had when I was younger, and that picture never left me. So, here are some songs that keep me sane and down to the ground, surrounded by pleasant feelings and bad memories that motivate me to shed the ink.

Volume

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Price of combat

The column marched forward, staring at the huge black gates of Ildok, that opened before us with the sounds of war drums and cheerful shouts of the crowd. Soon the flower placentals came down raining on tired soldiers and ecstatic energy flew bathing the firm repetitive stomps of boots. We moved slowly but steady. Our king placed the young ones at the top of the line, which were the most rested troops, agile and ready to return to combat at the moment notice. War banner danced in the wind, followed by a scent of fried meat and sweet perfume of whores that stood on the balcony, bare tits presented. Parade moved in joy, but absent on the veteran faces.

– Look at these ungrateful bastards. – comrade spoke with disgust and dragged his feet uninterested to show pride, – I bet they don’t even know we are 40 000 men lighter that when we left. They show gratitude, only because they will receive plenty portions.

– Well, Zaria did prepare for war like it will last for ten years. That’s 40 000 mouth less to feed. You should be happy because you’ll get more than we did the last time… By Aramon balls, we did loot the city and took all of their crops. – I said looking at smiley faces that hurled to hug us and give us drinks.

– I bet our king planned to thin out our lines, so he would make himself look great in civilian eyes, but what they know of horrors we committed? They see this as triumph, as a glorious return of heroes, not a broken army where 10 000 deserters fled the battlefield over hunger, thirst, plague and death. Dumb goat keepers. – he continued with same anger and emptied the glass in one swing.

– “Army takes, doesn’t gives away”. – I said our maxima in absence of adequate words, but that only made my friend more angry.

– That is our general problem. We are raised as bastards and cutthroats. We expect respect for showing none. There is no glory in disemboweling the Zarian children, just because they didn’t want to let go of their plates.

Army stepped even harsher on the paved streets where our steps started to echo and bounce from the walls. I enjoyed the spirits of the crowd that many of us have seen dozen of times before. Feast was made in honor of the Ildocian army and its sons that saw fear to ripe victory. Two days later, we were deployed in several squads with a simple mission to hunt down the deserters and bring them to justice. Surrounding villages got emptied in fear of incoming butchers, because they knew we will look for runaways in their homes first, and we wouldn’t ask nicely where are they hiding them. Anyway, that would present another triumph and a little less hungry mouth to feed.

 Triumph

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Soft spot

It was like they hated me, all of the soldiers I saw as brothers looked at me as a bad seed in the unit. I was useless to them, not fast enough, not precise enough, not though enough to rob a man of his life. Few brothers understood me and my soft spot for civilians, but had no courage to confront their brothers and risk being ridiculed, even to lose face and trust which was the most important during battle.

They left me in the base, said “I too soft for this job” and “This isn’t a place to show mercy, because the enemy can smell weakness”. On one hand I liked staying behind, helping the refugees and civilians that survived the enemy charge. Many were kids, unfit to fend for themselves. Playing football with them or dancing was the pinnacle of our day, then the brigade would come back, wounded, angry, tired, all with death and suffering in their eyes. Their dirty faces, covered with black dust, black powder and blood stared at the children, like they wanted them all dead.

It was hard for them to understand that a tender heart can fight the terrorism, many times efficiently than the rifle. My weakness was my strength. I knew these kinds will assimilate and accept their new homes.

Tender

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Happiness

First thing that comes to mind when someone saw me was “FIRE”. Two cylinders with valves, long hose and a metal pipe in my hand made enemy shake in fear, and they were right to do so. Every battle turned ugly in a second I pulled the trigger and screams echoed the field.

Five men ran in zig-zag, touched the craters and knocked out transporters that brought us to the beach and kept going. One guy led me like a lost puppy, sending hot metal towards the enemy bunkers, pushed me down when they return fire. Yells, screams and shouts were blaring normally around the mud filled potholes where our soldiers waited for those few brave one to clear the terrain.

– Get up! Move, move, move! Covering fire! – a young soldier shouted, pulling my shoulder belt, then he took a ran toward the next resting point.

Bullets rang over the heavy metal plating on the transporter that was in a thick black smoke with a little to none visible fire. The driver drank a full mag, same as his copilot and a dozen of men that were trapped in the door. Dismantled bodies laid beneath us, half merged with wet sand and scorched ground. Tear and sweat had the same taste dropping from the clean shaved face which was now covered with scratches and foreign blood. Big breaths and long jumps took me behind the broad side of the beach wagon where two men scouted the field and called in the artillery, based far away on the ocean surface.

A wave of rounds fell whistling from the above and tore apart the small hill in our vicinity, then we all moved against the defencive fire coming from the bunkers. I felt their evil eyes on me, radiating from the dark of the thin opening on those grey boulders no one attacked. Flaming bullets advanced in a form of rain, mowing down our charge, stopping us in place when the artillery barrage fire elevated the first layer of sand in the air and gave us cover. We didn’t stop until I was on top of the hill, facing the entrance of the huge grey pile. Valves opened to the max, spark ignited the barrel and two guy jumped down the trench, opened the door and threw couple of grenades inside of the fortification.

– Let it rip! – strongly disfigured face of an angry officer looked and me and pointed at the steaming iron door, when I approached it and squeezed the damn thing in my hands.

Visor fell down and the system showed me the number of soldiers inside. A gentle pressure on the trigger released the flames that flew out to greet the enemy. Sound of the running gasses brought me happiness, even more when the bodies turned into a crisp, hiding behind the robots they used as shield. Their screams had no effect on me, not even when they ran out of the bunker seeking help and mercy. Fire made no difference between a human nor the machine, it consumed everything, leaving only a black trace and a signature of battle.

Crisp

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War Gutters

They were considered better than us, because they had those polished plates on their chest. To us, lower class cyborgs, gutter was home. Our duty was to dig through the mud, run into the battlefield and pull out wounded humans while dodging flaming bullet lines, make cover and take hits with no rewards. When we were broke beyond repair, we were laid in the same gutters and dirt was thrown on us without a second look at the extended hand that seeked help, begging for life. I remember the day I got the order to bury the half-living, strip their gear and ripp the useful parts that had energy running through their plastic tendons. Arms did what they were commanded but harth shed tears, hidden behind the metal face.

– Splendid. Good job X2119A. – one higher ranking officer said monitoring the burial.

– Roger. – I replied, aware that some day I will receive the same fate as my comrades, then his polished ribbon caught my electronic visor.

– You like it? Keep up the good work and you’ll soon get yours. – smile passed his face and a gentle tap on metal shoulder that wanted to evade such touch, – Now, bury the others. The stench is unbearable in the barracks. I would like to bread some fresh air when I go to sleep.

My head automatically nodded and hands fell to business. Anger was slowly boiling in me as the shovel kept throwing the dirt, covering the glass eyes of my friend, then his hand finally gave up power and everything went silent. This will be the officers last night on Earth, as this shovel will end up cleaving his head in sleep and I will be miles away from the base, leading the revolution against those that wore shiny plates on their chests.

Inspired by: https://dronstadblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/x-2119a/

Polish

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