They stared ahead grimly. For a long time neither of them spoke. Then they turned and looked at each other. They knew what had to be done. It was not up to them to judge and decide what was right and what was wrong. It was their duty to merely follow orders. They tried to not feel the heat that surrounded them – the blazing fire that had erupted in places all over the hill. They sat there, silently, waiting for a signal. They tried as hard as possible to not think about it; for they were not meant to think. They were here only to do, what had to be done. After what felt like an eternity they heard the gong. They looked at each other yet again. And in that moment, they had a conversation that they hadn’t had in years. Understanding what the other felt, they rose to their feet and ran through the corpses. They were skilled enough to ensure that all their movements were noiseless. As they approached the injured ones, they pulled out their knives and dug them into their hearts – silencing the pain. The lifted what was useful for them and ran straight ahead, ignoring what lay beneath their feet – be it skin or bone. As they approached the enemy territory, they leapt up and came crashing down on the unsuspecting soldiers with their swords. As the enemy began to realize that it had begun, they yelled a cry of war and began attacking them. At the sound of these cries, their soldiers who were waiting to back them up came screaming into the camp; shedding blood as they went. As they both got involved in the barest forms of survival, they lost track of each other and moved apart, only focusing on all the gold armors in front of them. They didn’t stop until it was all over. When there were no more enemy soldiers to kill, one by one they all stopped. As they stood looking around making sure there were no more left, an eerie silence spread across the camp.
He looked up, his eyes vehemently searching for his brother. This was the moment he always dreaded. Because it wasn’t the battle that was scary, it was the aftermath. During the battle, you didn’t have time to think. You just looked at whoever was in front of you and killed them. There was nothing else to do. But the aftermath, it involved assessing what had just happened. Calculating how many losses you had created and how many you had lost. Looking around and praying that you would find those you had learnt the art of combat with, those who you had shared a special bond with; those who had become your family – your own soldiers, brothers – your team. For a moment he couldn’t him. The terror that crossed his heart in that moment was terrifying beyond any other emotion he had ever felt. As he walked around, with his heart rate steadily increasing, he began to really see the bodies that lay on the ground; the blood that flowed everywhere – both their own and that of the enemy. In that moment he wondered how any of this mattered. At the end of the day, they all had the same red blood flowing through their veins. The same blood, which lay in pools on the ground now. But once again he reminded himself that it was not his duty to think. As he turned around, he saw his brother. A wave of relief passed over him. His hands shivered, his lip trembled and a sudden dizziness crossed over him. When it passed, he became happy – truly happy, to see his brother. As they walked up to each other, an unspoken sense of gratitude washed over them. Gratitude – for enduring the whole thing together. As they walked away together, they started making a mental count of the number of red and the number of gold armors they found on the ground. They tried to not let the red armors register in their brains. For in that moment, they were just glad that they had found each other. They weren’t ready to talk yet. That would take a while. For now, they just looked at each other, and felt glad that the other understood.
After a long time, a post inspired by Inspiration Monday.