Between the lines drawn on the battlefield, the real-life toy soldiers fired their guns and canons at their enemies. One standing between the lines would see a mirror image of one side’s fear masked by blind courage as it fired rounds of ammunition. Some soldiers, in their dark green hats, withstood the flying bullets while others fell to the ground, bullet holes drawing the blood from their souls as they gasped their last breaths before the infinite black night cloaked their vision and bid them farewell.
Salty tears sprung from the plastic soldiers’ eyes – tears for their fallen friends and their own mortality, which would certainly come to a bitter end in the passion of war. How easy it seemed to have all the courage in the world when watching war from the comforts of home, and how horrifying it really was when you stood in the line of fire and counted the last moments of your life, hoping you made a difference in the outcome of a struggle too big for you to truly know.
When would this hell be over? When could they drop their guns and walk away?
When the war was won. When one side could claim the victory and justify the blood shed from thousands of young men who would never see the impish glint in their grandchild’s eyes or feel the stiff discomforts of old age.
These men on the field were merely the pawns, the pieces a larger entity moved around at its own will, negligent of their fears and feelings.
Rat-a-tat-tat. Rat-a-tat-tat. BOOM! The ear-deafening noises pierced, knocked, and exploded in the dust-filled air around them. Those who knew this wasn’t a war that would be won by either side tried to push their hopeless thoughts away from the field as they shot blindly toward the enemy’s front line. Five long years. And some had been here the whole time, unable to assimilate and adapt to the carefree civilian life back home.
One soldier, toward the back, tired from the endless days of fighting, set down his gun to wipe his sweaty brow. Glancing around the ravaged field where his friends lay dying or stood shooting aimlessly, he wondered what it might take to stop this war.
In his pocket, he had a handkerchief, an ivory piece of cloth his mother had forced him to take before he deployed for war. He reached for it now, and held it in his dirt-covered hand. Fingering the soft cloth, he longed for home. He longed for peace. He longed for the sound of guns to fade into the distance. Far from his thoughts as a soldier, he took no notice of his blackened fingertips wrapping a corner of the pale fabric around the barrel of his gun. A nearby soldier turned his head and watched the young, homesick comrade raise his gun into the air, waving the white flag for others to see. Inspired, the second soldier reached inside his own pocket for the handkerchief his young wife had pressed into his hand before he walked out the front door of their home. Without hesitation, he tied the cloth around his own gun and raised it in the air. More and more soldiers took notice and lowered their guns, reaching into their own shirts and pockets to find their own scraps and tissues to raise in the air. The rat-a-tat-tat faded across the field. And across the way, on the enemy’s side, another white flag rose in the air. For every man was starting to awaken and realize this war was not his own, but in order to stop the rage, he would have to take a stand against the bureaucracy which had initiated this whole ordeal.
– Written by Miss A on November 5, 2011