Flash Fiction: Rain

Rain

The rain falls so softly onto the battlefield; yet, oh so steadily. It has been raining for days and most likely hasn’t even considered letting up. Every drop falls slowly from the clouds above down to the green earth below. No, it hasn’t rained hard – but it seems to be staying consistent. Day in and day out, morning and evening – the rain continues to fall.

Of course, the battle itself is over. There is nothing left to fight for; the blood has been shed, the victory has been won, the spoils have been shared. The battlefield lies behind for most of us. The other soldiers left to enjoy their victory, leaving the rain to wash away the blood. One can’t be sure, but I doubt a single one of them looked back.

That is, of course, with the exception of myself; the soldier who can never leave this field. I fought so valiantly in the battle, leading my men on the front lines. Early on I took so many wounds that I quickly lost count. But I kept fighting nonetheless. In the end, I was a victor – I was liberated from tyranny.

Or so they said.

As the rain falls, I find myself sitting on a rock overlooking the field where my kin and I have fought beside each other, watching each other die. I wonder if the end of the fighting has truly come. Surely, some other day will arrive when humanity sees fit to use this field to shed blood again. Surely, the cause will be noble. Surely, the stakes will be great. Even more surely, brothers and close friends will watch in horror as their loved ones are taken from them right before their eyes.

No, I doubt this is the end of war. And I cannot help but question the point of it all.

Who are the victors? There are none. Who are the triumphant? There are none. Who are the great and glorious? There are none. Who are the defeated? We all are – every last one of us.

So, as I look onto this eternal battlefield, I pray that the end can somehow arrive. I pray that no more blood be shed on this battlefield or any other. I pray that the end of war can come. For the last memory of this battle that I can recall – that I will ever be able to recall – was an act that should not only have ended this battle but all battle’s to come.

Probably most strong and wise men will label this man a fool – I label him the Ender of War’s. I doubt this man was a soldier at all; though, he was very strong. He was probably little more than a farmer whose land just happened to become our battlefield. He was a victim. But when the battle came to his doorstep, he did not find it fit to pick a side and enter into the fray; no, he stood outside of his home and I can’t be sure, but I believe I saw a tear in his eyes.

I saw my captain approach him in the middle of battle and order him to flee or fight. Many men would have run away. Others would have picked up a sword and entered into the confrontation, but this man was braver than most. He simply asked my captain a simple question: “Is all of this worth it?”

Enraged, my captain pulled out his sword and held it to the man’s neck, ordering him to move to his knees. The man complied. My captain began lecturing this poor man about the nobility of our cause – the freedom that our fight would bring, the justice. The man just hung his head and cried before saying: “This is no freedom. There is no justice here.” Finally, the man looked my captain in the eyes and said, “Hate cannot overcome hate. Only love can do that.”

I doubt my captain heard these words even if the sound of them reached his ears. He did not pay heed to his man’s warnings and severed the head of the farmer.

I swear it, when I saw what happened, I threw down my sword and I shall never pick it up again.

The battle was over shortly thereafter and my captain was labeled a hero. My people were liberated. We were victors. As my countrymen, my friends, and my brothers left the battlefield, they chanted: “Freedom! We are free!”

Somehow, I know this is not true. Somehow, I know that the dead man who opposed my captain was the freest one of all.

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