It was the dead of the night, I woke up, hungry, still craving for sleep as I slumped down the stairs to get food. Silence, darkness, I did not turn on any of the lights, my habitual instincts guided me into the kitchen, opened a few cupboards to get the ingredients needed to make myself a simple sandwich with some peanut butter and jam.
As I picked up a knife among the clean stash of cutlery, a child was whining at the 9 o’clock direction, my military senses never threw me off once. I tried to ignore, probably it was some sort of hallucination, but the cry became more painful. A wave of a distant past swept me back into reminiscing those war-torn days, abominable.
We had captured hundreds of people as war prisoners in a suburb, ready to torture, execute them at will. Waiting for the orders from the top, I had to just follow it, without any doubts of any kind. As the morning sun arose from the bloodied horizon, we were ordered to publicly shoot them down.
The war prisoners were instructed to stand in a single-file, and escorted to the destined place to be killed, almost too innocently. That was when my morals and principles clashed with the orders from the authorities, all I could do was to obey meekly in order to keep my head intact.
I knew, this was beyond wrong, but if this is the war to end all wars, I believed blindly that this was the only way. The atmosphere were depressed as ever, but the soldiers were fired up, blood-laden with a singular purpose to win the war for our country.
Faces of dejection, abject submission; eyes of vengeance, unremitting hatred; thoughts of killing, meaningless bloodshed; the vicinity was filled with defiled animals, disgusting, vile, rampaging around, seeking for purpose that was clouded by the anarchy and that the fact of war is peace.
The war prisoners were lined up against the fence, facing outwards. They were instructed to keep quiet and to remain still in order for the process of killing to be swifter and painless. That was what I had been told. The knots and conflicts that existed in my heart dissipated as the benefits and the importance of the country outweighed humane virtues.
All were silent as they were being tossed into a line, “ARGGHHH!” A wretched man struggled, flinging his cuffs into the direction of a soldier instructing him to move, causing a ruckus in his valiant efforts of breaking free. He ran straight to the back of the line in the direction of a young little girl who was apparently her daughter.
“OPEN FIRE!” the commander bloated out, blood was raining. The man managed to dodge some bullets for the first few feet. Bullets are faster than your feet, as the man was approaching the little girl, his body was bored by a barrage of bullets, ripping him into a corpse. I was one of the soldiers that shot him, robotic, I am just following orders… I convinced myself as I saw the little girl crying in vain.
The man did not give up, he was already at death’s end, but his will was burning brighter as ever, staring straight into my very soul. “I…” the commander towered over him, fired a point-blank shot into the little girl’s skull, blasting every bit of her brains out into the blood-covered ground.
She got a quick death, probably she did not know what was even happening at that point. A brief silence flitted across us, I saw the man’s eyes whited out, ready to prance unto the commander. Hesitance was not in my mind, I was driven by orders, I was ordered to protect my comrades.
A bullet drove through the man’s skull ruthlessly as he was in the air, I did it, I killed him, I managed to protect my comrade from danger. What kind of danger? I pondered, Who is actually the real danger here? I looked at the two soulless eyes that peered into my heart.
The cries did not stop. I slid into a cocoon at the corner of the kitchen, leaving my mind to cry itself out for the immoralities, barbaric acts that I had done in the past. I was responsible for the lives of many, ending hopes without conscience, piercing helpless, innocent souls with inhumane spears of dreadfulness.
Nothing I could do now was able to atone for my sins, all that was left with me were nightmares that I had to live through my entire life.