Sunday, April 30, 2017


A bizarre, schizophrenic battle is raging in your head.

You are at the front lines, a gun in your blister-stained hands, as you fire fanatically and continuously into a blinding haze of fog.

You cannot see beyond it.
But the enemy is there, menacing,arabid dog. Occasionally you see a shadow shimmering through the haze —a flash of movement without a shape to define it. You want to say you see faces, bodies, and trees, but nothing is clear except the battle. The battle is a behemoth impossible to miss. The enemy must be a behemoth as well.

But all you really know of the enemy is the fog that hides it. The fog that never flees. It is as persistent as you are.

To your left and right, you see long lines of others, men and women, engaged with the same compulsion and vigor. Some yell ferociously, spraying waves of bullets into the fog. Some simply keep firing on, stoically committed.

No one looks like a hardened soldier or a trained fighter. You are all
just people. Everyone looks hardened by exhaustion.

You are tired, your bones weary and your soul sagging. Callouses
stain your hands. Dirt has woven itself into the threads of your clothes.
Your shoulders are tense and contorted, the look of someone permanently embracing a rifle.
Still, no one dares rest. The enemy is there. The war is real. The stakes are desperately high. That’s all you must know.
You don’t remember when this war started.
You don’t remember the face of the enemy you fight.
You don’t remember the last time you laid down.
Doubts have tugged at you, but your soulful conviction has never
left you.

You do not indulge the doubts. You are fighting for good. You are
fighting for what’s right. You are fighting for your own survival.
That’s all you must remember, so you never let it go.
You must stay true and press on. So you do.
You pause a moment and rest your eyes. And then you feel the warm hand rest on your shoulder.
You would’ve startled with shot nerves, but the soft touch is kind and disarming.
“Come with me. You must see something.” The woman’s voice is
She is dressed in plain clothes. No fatigues. No weapons. But you see the old callouses on her trigger hand. They are not like yours. They’ve softened.
There is something quietly compelling about her. She seems . . .
good. A good person. Calm and collected. Her posture is sure, yet soft.
Why is she here?
You shake your head. You cannot abandon the cause. You cannot
retreat from your post.
Yet you stand.
You lay your weapon down, step away from your bunker, and
quietly follow. Your fellow fighters turn and stare with venom in their eyes.
Your body is still buzzing from the vibrations of your gun, your arms uncomfortable and awkward with no weapon to hold.
Guilt and rage flash to your face as the blood drains to your feet.
You feel traitorous and treacherous.
But she walks, and you follow.
Muscle spasms and weak knees . . . you are uncomfortable. You
don’t remember how long it’s been since you’ve walked.
But she keeps walking, and you keep following.
As you walk by your fellow soldiers hard at war, you see a futility
you’ve never acknowledged before.
We are not soldiers, you say to yourself. We are not soldiers.
You’ve lost yourself in your head before you realize you’ve reached the end of the ranks. Your guide has climbed up and out of the trench, and begun walking, without fear. . . .

Why are we going towards the enemy lines?

Your pains and curiosities are replaced by dread and confusion. But
you don’t stop.
The fear rushes blood into your cheeks. You feel lightheaded. But
you say nothing. You are petrified. But you keep walking.
Where is she taking you?
And then she stops. She points to a small hill to your right and
gestures to it with an open hand.
You quietly climb the hill ahead of her. She walks beside you,
comfortably walking at your strained pace. It feels kind and compassionate.
At the summit you turn around.
There it is. The battlefield. As you’d never imagined.
On the left, you see the sparkling light of muzzle flashes shrouded in fog, the guns of your fellow soldiers cracking with furious desperation.
On the right, you finally see beyond the fog.
There’s nothing there.
No enemies, no gargantuan war machines, no frightful beasts.
Only a small forest of trees riddled with aimless bullets.
The involuntary gasp that escapes surprises you nearly as much as the site in front of you.
Every muscle in your body rattles with horror.
Your wide eyes pressed urgently against their sockets.
There is nothing there!
You grab her hand out of quick impulse and squeeze with ferocious
You mean to scream it out, but all that emerges is a strained whisper,
“What have we been fighting for?”
She turns her head to you, with kindness in her eyes.

“For the love of money.”

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