Brothers in arms – A Short Story.

 

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The snow was covered in red hot blood, a sight, that was the most beautiful image a man can see and at the same time never wish to see again. It was beautiful and eerie. Gunshots filled the snowy plains, the sound of gunshots hitting the sandbags that shielded the soldiers was a nightmare that never should come true. Distant cry’s could be heard around the camp. Men fell to their fate, the air spread a nasty smell of fear around the battlefield. The Beymern border camp held 25 people who were facing their worst nightmare. But they welcomed it with a smile, they were doing this for a common reason, for their country.

The day was not the same two hours ago. At 6:00 am 32 officers in the camp fall in for their morning parade and following a football match within the camp. Lieutenant Hathra’s team won the match against Sergeant Vardhan’s team. The usual result as always. After the match Hathra came to Vardhan, they talked for a long time. Both of them were friends from high school, now joined the Beymern army and got posted at the same camp. Hathra always mocked Vardhan for becoming a Sergeant and him becoming a Lieutenant.

“I joined lately, If I was enrolled along with you I would have become the Captain,” Vardhan always replied the same. But that never stopped Hathra. It was just a usual day, a day that was cold but shiny. Snow covered the ground outside the camp. Four out of thirty-two men were sent out of the camp to their respected lookout positions.

It was almost ten thirty when the men on the lookout posts detected movement in the nearby forests. They could see the border between Beymern and Nortier, which was heavily fortified by using electric fences. There was no way there could have been any unknown entries from the other side. But officer Ray who was on the tower informed the men below. They all looked through the binoculars, but the forest interrupted the view. But the thermal scanners showed a huge troop hiding behind the trees.

Officer Ray, took out the radio to inform the base camp, but a sudden gunshot pierced the officer’s skull. The rest three men were alert of the troop’s position and fired back. They took cover. It was the Nortier army, they knew that from the blue uniforms that could be seen from the tree lines. The reply strikes were heavier than they could think. It was raining bullets. They hid behind sandbags which was laid around the watchtower. Officer Main took out his radio and alerted the base camp.

“The Watchtower is under attack. There has been an entry from the other side.” Lieutenant shouted from the communications room to his officers. The whole camp rushed into their rooms and took their guns and weapons. Everyone was equipped for a battle. But there was a war coming that they did not know.

“How many are there?” asked Vardhan, his face was red as an apple, he has been in a battle before and have won a silver medal from the President.  It had been long since he had got into a battle. Now he had a chance.

“Close to two hundred and a tank.” Lieutenant Hathra’s voice felt heavy, there was no way thirty men could fight two hundred men and a tank. The news brought fear upon Vardhan, he was ready for a battle not for war. The lovely day seemed to be last day they would remember he thought. But Vardhan didn’t lose hope. He could feel his loyal friend being scared of his fellow officers lives. They could not retreat, it was not the right thing to do at this point.

“We will fight.” Said Vardhan standing upright with a puffed up chest. “Awaiting orders, lieutenant.” A sudden spark went through Hathra, he smiled. “FALL IN.” Hathra shouted.

Everyone in the camp stood before him, Sergeant Vardhan joined the others. Hathra looked at everyone, he knew it was the best men he could ever get to go for a battle. He was proud of them.

“There are close to two hundred men who are gaining onto our camp, we may be a few in numbers but we should let them know the strength of Beymerns. This country has always been strong and proud, so are we. We cannot let them pass these border. I shall die protecting my country. and I need men who would willingly die with me, who would walk with me to the gates of hell.”

“WE WILL!!!!!” the men shouted out, a new found energy covered the entire camp. Now it was time for war. Fifteen minutes was the maximum time they would get to be prepared before the enemies reach the camp. And not to forget they have a tank. Lieutenant laid out a plan, divide and conquer. The main target was to take out the tank. He employed two of the best men to go out of the camp and set up hiding place near the woods but within the range of the camp. They shall be equipped with the RPG 7 launchers which could take out the tank. Mines were dug outside the camp. Ten men stayed a hundred meters away from the camp inside the forest. Five snipers were set around the camp. The rest stayed inside the camp behind the sandbags.

Time flew by like a butterfly, men sat silently hidden from any eyes.  The snipers above kept on giving information to the men below. And after what seemed like a minute or so, they heard something fly past them. A missile was launched from the tank that struck the camp. No one was injured but the impact shocked everyone around. The snipers were unable to take a shot at the upcoming enemies, they hid behind the tank and it didn’t look like two hundred people, maybe fifty or so. The tank stopped a hundred meters away. Fired another shot, no damages. But then gunshots were heard from the forest around. The Nortiers have used the forest to cover themselves. The ten men in the forest were now fighting against them. Several gunshots and explosions from mines and grenades were heard. The troops behind the tank appeared, they kept on shooting to the sandbags. The men behind sat patiently until the tank was destroyed.

The RPG was unable to be launched because the tank was out of their range. They had to move closer. As the troops came in closer to the camp. The snipers started firing, several of the enemies fell on the wrath of the snipers. Mines exploded as they started scattering from their troops and came closer to the camp. Sergeant Vardhan started shooting from behind the sandbags and took as many lives as possible. No matter how much they shot, the tank stood still and fired upon them.

Hours have passed many had fallen from the Nortier side, twenty men remained for the Beymern side. The ten men who were in the forest took as many lives as possible but had got no news from them for the past hour. Two of the snipers fell. A pile of dead bodies of the enemy soldiers lay outside the camp. The twenty men had no hope of surviving. Not less than a hundred men still stood on the Nortier side.

“Should we charge in?,” asked Vardhan to his lieutenant. Lieutenant stood silent. He had eyes on another target who came up with a grenade. Hathra’s shot pierced the man’s skull and the grenade accidentally fell among his own men and exploded. It was a ten kill on a single shot.

Several minutes passed and there was no more hope left. Less than fifteen men left on the Beymern side. A bullet shot right through lieutenant Hathra’s shoulder that caused heavy blood loss. Their medic was dead, not much could the men do to help Hathra, neither did he allow anyone to treat him.

“It’s not my life that is worth, we need to stop them that is all that count.” the lieutenant shouted to his officers. Sergeant Vardhan was busy shooting at the men who stepped over the camp gate. The sun was blocked by cold-hearted clouds, that almost made the midday a dark night.

The men kept chattering about doing something to escape that hell. It was more than anyone could handle. Until the reinforcement arrived there was no sign of victory. Suddenly one among the twenty men started to speak out. And everyone joined him. It was their army pledge.

To the people, I live among.
To the people, I serve.
To the people, I fight for.
To the people, I call brothers and sisters.
I shall die in honor of dying for my country,
for the land, I call home,
for the people, I call my countrymen,
for my mother and my father.
No one shall go past me,
take away my home from me,
burn my freedom away from me.
Dig my graves, my friends,
for today I shall die the heroes death,
and shall dine with our forefathers.
Cause today I die for my motherland.

When all hopes seemed far away, they heard an explosion, a sound that was much louder than before. Vardhan looked over the sandbags to see something they waited for long. The snipers radioed the lieutenant.

“The tank is down. I repeat the tank is down.”

Lieutenant was astonished to see the tank been demolished to pieces and killed half of the men near it. The two men in the woods occupied with the RPG’s went in closer enough to get a clear shot and they took it. But was spotted by the enemies, they put up a good fight before going down.

“Your plan worked. Shall we advance now?” asked Sergeant Vardhan, a big smile in his face. Lieutenant smiled back. “Let’s go kill them.” They all moved towards the enemy troops, Nortier was left with less than a fifty men, who now was shocked with the destruction of the tank. The Beymern’s had an upper hand and they took it.

The white snow floor was now a red blood river. The ground was so hot, smoke rose from the ground. Several of the men wearing green uniforms and blue uniforms went down.

“We can bring them down,”  Sergeant Vardhan told Lieutenant Hathra. But hardly did he see that Hathra had taken several shots, he was slowly dying. The battle lasted for another hour. For their fortune, Beymern reinforcement reached the camp and took out what was left of the Nortier soldiers. Eight of the Beymern soldiers survived. Lieutenant Hathra died as soon as the reinforcement arrived. He had done his part. Never for one second did he allow the enemies to enter the camp or cross the gate.

“Oh! It is very much relaxing to lye down on the snow after a hard day, isn’t it?” Hathra asked Vardhan just before he died. Vardhan’s eyes filled with tears.

“Is it you crying or is it my mind playing with me?” Hathra asked, smiling at Vardhan.

“It is probably your mind, idiot” Vardhan replied.

Hathra smiled, “you are my junior, I am a lieutenant. You know that, right.” They both laughed. “I joined later, if I enrolled with you, I would have become a captain,” Vardhan said his usual reply.

“You will, I know. It was an honor to work with you” Hathra told Vardhan, “Send my love to my family, will you?”

“Yes, I will.” Hathra smiled and slowly went into the deep sleep he would never wake from. Vardhan pulled out Hathra’s gun and laid it on his chest and stood up. He was crying, he never has felt such sadness in his life. Then he rubbed away his tears and stood there looking at the distant land that spread around. The vast land which he called his motherland, his home. He saluted his lieutenant, his friend, a brave warrior who saved his mother nation.

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