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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Out on a Curfew – A Story.

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world, farewell

Thorin Oakensheild (the Hobbit, J.R.R Tolkien)

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The door took some time to open, he was really tired and was slow as a turtle. hunger conquered him not helping to take another step. He really needed to get out but that was worse than the hunger. A quick decision was evident, die inside his home of hunger or go out find food and die a warrior’s death. He made his choice as you can guess, he went out.

The man’s name was Rohal, he may look older but was touching the twenties. he lived alone or was made to live alone of some unprecedented reasons. Before telling that I think we should follow him, to find where he will be going. Let me introduce the kind of situation he is in. Rohal lives in the city of Nargal the capital city of the state Garmar. The city was a battlefield a week ago. the rebels of the state killed the mayor of the city and had taken over the state secretary’s office. the government had no other way but to impose a curfew on the capital city. several of the rebels were arrested and killed by the National Security Corps and several innocent people also had to give their lives being in the middle of this mess. Now the curfew remains after one week and is supposed to remain for another two weeks.

Most of the shops were closed, many of the residents had to migrate with strict checking and the remaining few were made to stay in their home from 6:00 pm to 10:00 am. anyone who comes out in this time period is either considered a rebel or an enemy of the state. so I guess you have learned what the situation is so let’s go back to our guy.

He was running low on his supplies and had to take a refill only to find out the shops has not opened for the past week. He thought he would wait till the morning and find some shop or ask some people around if he finds any. He slowly opened the door. he felt a cool and dark breeze on his face. Many a night it has been since he has felt such a breeze on his face. for one second he went back to the time when everything was calm and peace. He used to go out every night roaming around just enjoying the night. But now it was not the time to enjoy, a single mistake would end in his death. Rohal went down the stairs, he lived upstairs in an apartment as we may call it, for him it a pigeonhole not enough space for his huge dreams. And this time he went out through the windows as he thought it may be safer. there was an outpost just outside his building, now he was getting out through the opposite direction and he was sure there were no guards on this part of the building or as far as he can see.

The stairs made a lot of noise, he didn’t bother jumping for he was able to jump really high and make hardly any noise. I told you he used to roam around during the night and roaming around in the night requires some noiseless jumping. the jump, as he expected was quiet that gave him the boost to walk without any sound for the next 10 or 20 meters. the city was so crowded in its older days, as a result, every building stood so close to each other, there was only a little space for one to walk through the sides. Here and there he peeped and rushed, like a cat in the dark. He walked in shadows like DEATH. As soon as he passed the street he could see that every house was either burnt or demolished, the remaining were closed and locked from outside, it was of the residents who migrated, so they could get back to their home when everything is peaceful again not have anything of their property inside being robbed.

The moon was shining over him, giving the guiding light for his adventure but that imposed a serious threat on him. the light will only make him exposed to the soldiers or the rebels who were strolling around. With some effort and time, he was able to get past the series of demolished houses. There at the edge of the road stood four of the soldiers with large guns and an armored vehicle at rest. His heart started to pound really fast, he was afraid if the sound of his heartbeat would give away his position.

“I should go to them and tell them of my need”. He first thought. “after all, they are here to help us”.

He stood hidden beside a waste bin that had almost burnt its 50 percent of its body in the last battle. there he gave serious thoughts to it. His hunger was not compromising with him. the man needed to find out something to eat or he is going down without a fight.

“No I should not” he then told himself “I don’t think they will help me, I have broken the curfew and this place is the main lock town of the rebels. they certainly are not going to treat me good.”

“I guess I will have to find out my own food,” he said and started to look for a way. He was standing at a dead end. the only way was past the guards.

“I can’t certainly ask them for permission to pass.” he tried a joke to ease his pressure and seemed to work a bit. He knew this place, he had walked and jumped and ran all over this place before…. before….

His parents died down the road he was standing. He left that thought and suddenly he found his way. there was a house that was half destroyed in the front, and he could climb up and go past the guards without them noticing.

“Yes that will do,” he told himself. He slowly went towards the half broken house. Every step needed to be taken carefully and swiftly so as the guards should not see him, not even his shadows. Rohal climbed up, it was not that hard, maybe the easiest of all he had climbed. Now he was crawling through the rooftops silently. Even cats would have had their envy on him. The destination was so near, just a few more yards and he could get down still, it was not clear if there were any guards below.

“GET DOWN!!!!!!” a loud scream of a guard below crushed all his opportunities. His heart was now having a rock and roll concert, the adrenaline rush was so high that he had even forgotten of his voracious hunger. Every single nightmare came to him, all the dreams he had, all the years before him, everything was now going down. He knew he won’t give up without a fight. At first, he thought he would give a run, but no now he heard another shout.

“Lay down your weapons,” screaming was the soldier, Rohal was puzzled, he didn’t have any weapons, even if he had there was no way they could have seen it. then there was gunfire and a loud cry. He didn’t dare to look down. that may have given out his position. but he knew one thing, the guards will now look for people streaming around. So he had to either wait there till the guards become calm or make a run for it. For now, the hunger was coming back at him.

“Go, run,” he told himself, for the first time in his life, before thinking anything else, he made a run. And an excellent run too. the Jump was perfectly timed and was able to make it across the street and to the gardens of a lonely home. He didn’t look back he kept walking forward till he reached the backyard of the lonely home. then in the shadows, he turned back to see, there was one soldier with a gun looking around and guarding a man fallen down, there was blood so he must be the man who was shot. the guard didn’t seem to have seen Rohal, that was his jump.

Rohal walked towards a wooden outhouse, the door seemed to be open(as it was not locked from outside). He went to the door and knocked if someone was there. there came no reply. he tried to pull the door still nothing happened. Now with a great effort, he made the pull. it worked. the door was now widely opened and there stood a girl with a knife in her hand. she was about to scream, sensing the upcoming danger Rohal told her not to scream he was a friend and not here to attack. the girl didn’t seem to believe.

“I am really hungry, do you have anything to eat? please,” he asked her. she felt sorry for him. His face showed the trouble he was in.

“Why should I give you anything to eat?” she asked her

“Because I am one of you. please.” and he gave her an account of everything that happened.

She looked like she believed it, but maybe not. anyway, she gave him a pile of bread and a piece of butter. he didn’t leave a second to think. As soon as she handed it to him, he grabbed it like a snake biting onto its prey and started to eat it at a speed she has never seen. He was choking now and then, she offered him water which he accepted very willingly.

Within minutes it was over, now he thought of returning, she asked him to stay for the night as going out may be dangerous. But he thanked her wholeheartedly and was in debt of her forever.

“Farewell,” he said and into the shadows he vanished. She was amazed by what happened, never have something like this happened in her life ever.

Rohal had a long way back, on the way back there was only one thing in his mind to get to the place where his parents died, murdered to be precise. There it was the main road right in the middle. His parents used to work for the City court, They were both lawyers. When the rebels got hold of the State secretaries office, his parents along with a handful of people were brought down here and publicly executed for everyone to see. He never thought something as such a thing would ever occur in his life. but it. He could still see the blood stains on the roads or they were just the part of his mind that played with him. He touched the road slowly and patted it. He still remembers the time seeing their dead bodies. It was cold and unhappy, not the way they used to be. He lied there right in road thinking about everything

“We’ve got someone down here,” said a guard from a distance. they surely meant Rohal. But he didn’t bother. He just lied there. Tiredness slowly groped him squeezing him hard.

Then a group of soldiers rounded him. they were confused about a person lying on the middle of a road. He was still motionless.

“Hey get up.” one of them shouted. there was no response. they walked closer and repeated their question. from a distance, the girl could see everything happening.

When the guards found there was no response they walked to him and everyone aiming their gun at him, one of them rolled him over face upwards. then suddenly Rohal had an idea, he silently, whispered “help”. and lied motionless. the guards thought he was a hostage of the rebels and escaped. they took him and put on their vehicle and rode on. she was watching and was very terrified of what would happen to him.

They took him somewhere.

Two months passed, peace started to roll over the city of Norgal. Rebels were captured. The city was slowly recovering from their wounds. the girl that lived on the outhouse of the lonely home one day was walking through the streets still in the shock of the battles in the city, heard a call from up a building. she looked back puzzled, there she saw that stranger who came to her one night, a guy who was so hungry and would walk to the end of the world to find what he needed.

“Remember me?” he asked.

“Yes,” she told with a smile, not knowing what to say to the man upstairs. he began to climb down and stood before her.

“I thought they took you?” she asked in such curiosity.

“Yes they did, But I had it all covered,” he told her with great pride. the guards thought he was hostage and men of state(as they called the friendly ones) and took him to their camp. After days of close observation, he was permitted to leave. By then the curfew was removed and everything came to order. He explained everything to her without breaking a breath, and she heard him with great interest and walked down the street, Or to their new life together. I don’t know maybe they may live together and tell their stories to their children, who knows? let us leave that to fate or to me!